Citizen Media

Using Mobile Phones to Advance Human Rights

Posted by CorinneRamey on Dec 10, 2007

A new website called the Hub, calling itself "the global platform for human rights media and action," has its official beta launch today in honor of International Human Rights Day. The Hub, a project of human rights advocacy group WITNESS, hopes to create a new space for human rights related video content, including footage shot on mobile phones.

Tamaryn Nelson, program coordinator for Latin American and the Caribbean at WITNESS, told MobileActive that the Hub goes beyond the capabilities of YouTube. "There's no real place for human rights related material [on YouTube]," she said. "YouTube has tons of videos, but if you go onto YouTube and try to find a video related to human rights it's like finding a needle in a haystack. With the Hub, Tamaryn said, human rights advocates will be able to create a campaign around their videos, join online chats, provide context, and frame videos from a human rights perspective.

Citizen Journalism Update: Mobile Journalism in Sri Lanka

Posted by CorinneRamey on Oct 30, 2007

Sanjana Hattotuwa, on the ICT4Peace blog, mentions our recent article on the Reuters/Nokia collaboration in the context of his work in Sri Lanka. Hattotuwa writes:

Reading Reuters/Nokia Collaboration Has Potential for Citizen Journalists on MobileActive echoed what I’m currently facilitating in Sri Lanka with the help of the CPA Media Unit.

We are using a Nokia N93i phone to capture content that is feeding into Sri Lanka’s first citizen journalism YouTube channel, the Vikalpa YouTube Video Channel. The channel will be formally launched in the near future with more content added online.

Philippines' TXTPower turns 7

Posted by tonyo on Sep 07, 2007

TXTPower was born on Aug. 27, 2001, a few months after the People Power 2 revolt of mobile phone-wielding Filipinos. Six years into the future, TXTPower is now known as an advocate of consumer rights, civil liberties and the creative use of mobile phones for social change.

The group's convenors in 2001 never expected TXTPower to last longer than the campaign to protest the "free text reduction" implemented by telcos Smart and Globe.

Soon after the campaign that delayed the implementation of the "free text reduction" through court cases and high-profile protests, we continued and raised the level of TXTPower advocacy: We stood up against repeated attempts to impose a "text tax" -- culminating in the frontpage banner story that rocked Congress and compelled the Speaker to promise to the nation that no "text tax" will be enacted.

SIM card registration -- purportedly to address crime and terror -- is likewise another Frankenstein that refuses to die. But TXTPower is relentless in opposing it to preserve the right to privacy of the public.

Voices of Africa: Citizen Reporting With Mobile Phones

Posted by bartlacroix on Aug 16, 2007

Mobile phones change the media landscape in Africa. AfricaNews ( starts working with mobile phone reporters. The mobile reporters cover current events in their area, using the mobile phones to produce video footage, written reports and photographs. With this innovative project, African citizens ­– from the sprawling metropolises to the most isolated villages – can let their voices be heard across the continent and around the world.

Africa is witnessing impressive growth in the development and use of mobile communication networks and the Internet. This development is changing the face of media and the way people are informed. Open communication and uncensored exchange of opinions are helping to build transparent societies. This serves good governance and helps to build stronger democracies.

Beth Kanter on mobile phone blogging

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Aug 03, 2007

Beth Kanter, blogger-extraordinaire, and an astute commentator on the use of technology in the NGO field, wrote a resource-packed article on mobile video blogging. Here are some excerpts for the community, reprinted with Beth's permission.

Learnings and Reflections about Mobile Phones for Video Blogging and Beyond, by Beth Kanther

I'm going to the Cambodian Blogger Summit in a few weeks. One of the ideas I've been exploring is the whole notion of video blogging from Cambodia by Cambodians. While I was in Chicago, Ryanne Hodson, who I met at last year's BlogHer, is in Cambodia and Southeast Asia with Jay Dedman to document the work of Project Hope International. (The back story is here)

I'm going to bring over video blogging kits - inexpensive cameras, rechargeable batteries, SD cards, and Ryanne's book. However, in one of the discussion threads on the Summit wiki, there has been mention about using cameraphones or smart phones for this in addition to.

So, while at BlogHer 07 I had a little bit of a personal learning mission: What can I learn about mobile video blogging in a global context?


Strategy Guide #1, Using Mobile Phones in Electoral and Voter Registration Campaigns

Posted by Bonnie Bogle on Oct 15, 2006

Mobile phones have enormous potential in electoral, voter registration, and election monitoring campaigns.

With close to 2.5 billion phones in circulation around the world, in many countries mobile phones are the easiest and least expensive way to communicate and are far more pervasive than the Internet.

Internationally mobile phones have been used for systematic election monitoring in Macedonia and Kenya, among women voters in Saudi Arabia, and in a number of popular uprisings in the Ukraine and South Korea. In the 2004 U.S. election, almost 10,000 people started their voter registration process through a mobile campaign. This year the U.S. based group Mobile Voter aims to register 55,000 young people to vote via their cell phones.

While the use of mobile phones in elections and voter registration campaigns is still in an experimental stage, a lot has been learned about the characteristics of successful campaigns. In this guide we will share these findings with you, along with case studies, and other information organizations can use to run their own mobile campaigns.

DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE. (Log-in required)

This guide was written by Michael Stein, a writer and Internet strategist, and edited by Katrin Verclas, the executive director of NTEN.

Read the press release.

MobileActive is a project of Green Media Toolshed. The MobileActive Strategy Guides were produced with the support of the Surdna Foundation, and in collaboreation with NTEN: Your Nonprofit Technology Community.

Mixing Storytelling and SMS

Posted by Bonnie Bogle on Aug 27, 2006

Recently YouthNoise and Virgin Mobile launched a mobile campaign designed to raise awareness of teen homelessness in other teens in the United States. The campaign – called Ghost Town – takes a unique twist on more typical SMS campaigns. It gets its message out through an SMS story sent in regular installments over a month.  

Teens can subscribe to the story by texting GHOST to the short code 1234. After that they’ll receive a chapter of the story in a 160 character text message twice a day for a month. Sounds like a mobile soap opera, doesn’t it?

Could mobile social networks be the next big thing?

Posted by Bonnie Bogle on Jun 26, 2006

It’s widely accepted that social networks are the latest online wonder child. is the fifth most popular website in the world, is the 20th, and is the 38th, according to traffic ratings. But will these communities work away from the computer?

MySpace thinks so. In April the website made a deal with Cingular to offer text message alerts to people whenever a new comment is added to their MySpace page. And Helio, a start up mobile company, has released a phone chock full of MySpace features that allow mobile users to view MySpace profiles and easily post comments and photos to the website from their phone. If this catches on, it could pave the way and even serve as a model for comprehensive mobile and web campaigns. Cell phones are already being effectively used around the world to contact government officials, register voters, and sway voters. Combining the text, photo, video, and voice capabilities of cell phones with a strong online community could make for very powerful, community-focused campaigns.