Posts Tagged ‘Ugandan’

Kasha about the Ugandan law against homosexuality

December 23, 2013

The Ugandan parliament has now passed the bill that many feared would come one day. Although it does not foresee the death penalty anymore it still puts life jail terms on ‘aggravated homosexuality’. Back on 3 February 2013, Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, a Ugandan LGBT activist, who was the 2011 Laureate of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights, spoke with the Martin Ennals award about the risks and problems.

Ugandan Human Rights Defenders Accuse Government of Illegal On-line Surveillance

December 3, 2013

PC Tech Magazine of 3 December carries a story from the Ugandan Daily Monitor about human rights defenders in the country accusing the government of allegedly recruiting two foreign firms to secretly carry out surveillance on individuals’ private digital equipment such as computers and mobile telephones in a move they say infringes on citizens’ right to privacy. The activists allege that the two firms are doing voice and data surveillance without permission from the telecommunication providers. “We are aware that the surveillance companies operate without permission from the telecommunication providers but have access to do surveillance. This is dangerous because people cannot have quality conversations and yet the government is supposed to protect people’s rights to privacy,” said Mr Geoffrey Ssebaggala, the chief executive officer of the Unwanted Witness- Uganda [UW-U]. He was speaking at the closure of a training workshop for journalists and business operators on the risks involved while using internet in Kampala. Mr Ssebaggala added: “Our preliminary inquiry shows that these companies send surveillance Malware to individual citizens’ computers as long as they have their Internet Protocol address to track peoples’ activities on computer and their telephones,” he said, revealing that UW-U in partnership with the Parliamentary Committee on ICT have started formulating a law to protect privacy. However, the executive director of the Uganda Media Centre, Mr Ofwono Opondo, said he was not aware of the recruitment of the said companies but insisted that whatever is done by the government is within the law. He explained that the move seeks to protect the public from terrorism and other criminal acts such as money laundering.

via Unwanted Witness – Uganda Accuses Government of Illegal Online Surveillance | PC Tech Magazine.

Love it or hate it, the online phenomenon that is KONY 2012 offers valuable lessons to development communicators.

March 16, 2012

The Kony 2012 campaign is not focused on Human Rights Defenders, but this blog has always taken a fierce interest in the link between videos and human rights and that is now the real issue at hand. There have been many views expressed by experts or those who think they are experts, but the reflections by Riona McCormack in her post “Lessons learned from the KONY 2012 campaign” REPSSI website, I find the most complete and forward-looking until now. I will quote her literally:

Never has a video – and certainly not one created by an NGO – generated such heated and conflicting responses, or achieved such global reach. Fast approaching the 100-million-viewer mark, in the week since the campaign’s launch, coverage of “KONY 2012” has infiltrated every major news outlet and online forum, and ignited a storm of commentary among Facebookers and Tweeters of all ages. However, there is a side to this public debate that has been relatively under-explored: and that is the lessons for media and communications professionals, and specifically those of us working in the development sector.

Here are five important lessons that we can draw from this campaign:

1)  Emotion sells:  Empathy, sorrow, joy, anger – these are the things that make us human, and motivate us to act, learn, or care. The KONY2012 campaign provides emotional resonance in abundance, and the success of this approach is evident. If we are honest, many of us probably felt at least a niggling worm of jealousy watching that YouTube counter climb into the millions. How many excellent, worthy causes have we been pushing for years, wishing for a response just like this? We can learn from this, in terms of how we present our work. At the same time, these tactics, familiar from the film industry, have the dangerous potential to become a form of emotional pornography. We must be careful in how we employ this approach, so that we do not compromise our mission, or our ethics, in order to provoke a reaction. An example of a feel-good video that doesn’t ignore the agency of the people involved is Mama Hope’s glorious celebration of connectivity, their “Stop the Pity. Unlock the Potential” Campaign.

2)  Urgency equals action: Another key to the success of the campaign was the inherent sense of urgency woven into it. The video emphasises the “window of opportunity” that will soon close, the terrible suffering of children which must not continue. For the same reason, efforts to fundraise for earthquake relief funds and other sudden disasters or famines are radically more successful than for ongoing issues of malnutrition. How can we use this in our own campaigns? How can we make long-standing issues with no easy answer into a cause of immediate concern? The Girl Effect is one very slick example of how to introduce a sense of urgency into a long-term problem – education for girls.

3)    People want to act (1): Once people care about something, they usually ask “so what can I do?” If there is no answer to this question, your audience may be left more cynical and apathetic than before. The KONY2012 campaign’s infectiously viral success is due to the clear, simple action it provided for ordinary people to take. Whilst the simplistic nature of this action (especially in the context of a highly complex, distant conflict) has been the subject of much of the criticism facing the campaign, there are many cases in which liking, tweeting or forwarding on a message would be a perfectly appropriate action to encourage. There have also been great examples of creative actions that go beyond simply clicking a button – such as the inspired Movember moustache drive. Bear this in mind the next time you create your own campaign: don’t just inform, ask. Let’s transform viewers into activists. We might be surprised by the response.

4)    People want to act (2): … because it’s worth repeating. We need to recognise that however dubious the message or methodology of the campaign, the millions of people who watched the video, forwarded it on, and bought “action packs” from Invisible Children were motivated by a genuine desire to make a difference. Yet how many of us have at one time or another bemoaned the apathy and ignorance of the vast, amorphous “general public”? Is this is an opportunity for all of us as development communicators to recognise that if we are failing to engage the public, perhaps we need to look at ourselves and how we are communicating?

5)     We need debate, not derision: Many supporters of the KONY2012 campaign have said “at least it has started people talking.” And this is certainly true; some truly excellent pieces of investigationanalysissatireand reflection have been published, including a gratifyingly large number of responses from Ugandans. However, much of the debate taking place last week was bitter, simplistic, and divisive – the detractors classifying supporters as ignorant and uninformed, the supporters calling the detractors pompous and cynical. Both ‘sides” in this debate were to blame for the lack of a balanced discussion. If you disagree with aspects of the KONY2012 campaign, alienating those who support it will not change their viewpoint, nor will it encourage them to read more, learn more and engage more critically with complex issues. How can we find a way to transform the desire to be of service, so evident in the KONY2012 campaign, into sustainable, well-thought out actions?

I share her conclusion that we should not do as if there is only one choice: hate or love the campaign: “Rather, we can take from it what is useful – and discard the rest.”

You can contribute to this debate via The Drum Beat Network:

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