Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Global Voices' perspective on the news

Over a two week period, we have been undertaking a joint project with Global Voices , an online community that reports on blogs and citizen media, as part of the BBC's SuperPower season , which focuses on the power of the internet.

Each day we will be liaising with Global Voices editors and selecting from the reports of their 200 bloggers and citizen media commentators across the world, to complement our news stories.

We will also be asking Global Voices editors to give their views on how the mainstream media handles the news

Here, Global Voices' managing editor Solana Larsen will be commenting on this process.

As part of the SuperPower season, the BBC World Service's Blogworld will also be highlighting the best international blogs in multiple languages.


Tuesday 16 March - Solana Larsen writes:

Today we linked to another Global Voices story on the Thai 'red shirt' protests in Bangkok, which now also include splashing blood. Somehow reading additional details and first-hand accounts in Thai blogs gives a more rounded impression of what is going on.

Inspired by the protesters, BBC News prepared a slideshow featuring "unusual protests" from different parts of the world today. I sent an email to the Global Voices authors' mailing list and quickly received more than a dozen emails with ideas from different countries. From these, the "pink chaddis" in India and the Water buffalos in Indonesia made it into the final slideshow.

A couple of notable stories mentioned on Global Voices in the past few days do not appear on the BBC News website. Our Madgascar writer, Lova wrote about the one year anniversary of a coup, and also mentions a tropical storm last week that left 38,000 people homeless.

From East Timor, our author Keta has a story on the police arresting hundreds of alleged "ninjas" on the border to Indonesia.

I've also been receiving daily links from our friends at Ceasefire Liberia about violence in Lofa Lofa since a young girl was murdered.

Of course the list of stories that the BBC has and Global Voices doesn't is much longer, but we've been reflecting on our differences.


Thursday 11 March, 18:00, Solana Larsen writes:

In Thailand, bloggers are writing first-hand about the massive "red shirt" demonstrations anticipated in the capital, Bangkok, on Friday. How are people getting ready in Bangkok? My colleague Mong has linked to several Thai blogs worth watching.

On the BBC News website we highlighted a story by Silvia Vinas on Global Voices that shows how indigenous Mapuche communities in Chile have been using the web since the earthquake to voice their concerns over the destruction of buildings and roads in rural areas where they live.

Yesterday, upon news of the death of Egypt's top cleric, Sheikh Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, my colleagues Eman and Mohamed in Cairo gathered reactions from blogs across the Middle East that help shed light on his sometimes controversial legacy in the region where he was best known.

For anyone curious to learn more about our two-week project, here is an interview with me on BBC Radio 5 live's Pods and Blogs .


Tuesday 9 March, 12:40, Solana Larsen writes:

An extremely heated political debate in the upper house of parliament in India about a bill to increase the number of female lawmakers across the country, has spilled over into online discussion in Indian blogs and on Twitter.

On Global Voices, my colleagues Aparna and Rezwan have rounded up several arguments for and against the bill. There is now a link to their post on the BBC story .

I think it offers a great overview of how complex the debate is in India. Even among those who favour the idea of more women in government, the bill has some opponents. Who would the law be benefiting? Would voter rights be compromised? There are several questions one might ask that aren't always apparent before hearing a local voice.


Tuesday 9 March, 11.00, Solana Larsen writes:

Reading the blog of "Sunshine", an 18- year old blogger in Mosul, it's hard not to be drawn to curiosity about what it feels like to be a first-time voter in Iraq. Global Voices blogger, Salam Adil, has curated a series of thoughtful posts from several Iraqi blogs about the election . The BBC is no stranger to stories about the personal experience of individuals in Iraq, but I think linking to Iraqi blogs is an additional opportunity for readers to engage and converse directly with people in different worlds.

A good blog is like a window on someone's life. It's a journal of everyday experience that shows a development of thoughts over time. Not to get too poetic, but the best blogs are like pearls in an ocean of commentary. They are beautifully written, have compelling arguments, and invite further discussion.


Monday 8 March, Solana Larsen writes:

It was surprising for me to see the BBC World Service poll today suggesting that four in five people around the world believe that access to the internet is a fundamental right.

Global Voices logo
Ivan Sigal, executive director of Global Voices:

This past year has been particularly eye-opening in terms of the increasing interplay between mainstream media and citizen journalism. Events in Mumbai, Moldova, Iran, Haiti, and now Chile are but a few examples in which the world has been eager to make immediate and direct contact with citizens in crisis in local contexts.

These citizens may have had blogs, Twitter accounts, and cell phones for years, but only in the last year has the mainstream media adopted the narrative of citizen media as an integrated element in their news reporting.

Read Ivan's full post here

It shows how closely people's understanding of modern communication - and maybe even freedom of expression - is associated with the internet. Too bad so many online writers are threatened or imprisoned around the world just take a look at our threatened bloggers map.

The digital divide is massive, but I'd still bet that there are internet users and bloggers from every country in the world today. Many groups defend the rights of people to express themselves, but I think it's almost as important to help and encourage people to listen. Otherwise, what is the point?

Today, is international women's day. Global Voices' 'gender' section has several stories. I can recommend two more.

In Singapore, an online campaign recently gathered signatures for a petition to make "marital rape" a crime. Singaporean bloggers were torn on the merits of this idea.

Another recent story, described an online debate in Chinese blogs about to the light sentencing of two police officers who raped a young woman. The judge called it a "temporary crime".

Here is a selection of your comments on the project:

It is a very good idea to have a Digest of important blogs around the world. There are thousands of blogs every day and it is interesting to read about a few very important write ups highlighting life changes, like the current Women's Bill in India which is as important as the women's voting rights movement of yester years, health issues like swine flu, corruption everywhere not least in advanced countries, education, and of course terrorism including the causes thereof.
T.Vijayaraghavan, Dunn Loring,VA, USA

Well, with so many good blogs around.. Choose carefully, BBC..
Asriel, Coimbatore, India


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