Mary Meeker of American venture capital firm KPCB has released her annual Internet Trends Report. This year she highlights several important trends, including a section extracting lessons from the Chinese tech market, data on the eye-popping rise in tablet shipments worldwide, and indicators for the increasing adoption of wearable/flyable/scannable technology. Essential reading for anyone interested in reading the tea-leaves of tech and social media.
By now, you’ll have heard – perhaps via international media, or on Twitter or Facebook – about the protests that started in defence of one of Istanbul’s last remaining green spaces, and have now, in response to heavy-handed policing and broader worries about democratic rights, spread across many cities in Turkey.
I’ve been following the torrent of communication and coverage on Twitter mainly via a mixture of local and international academics, NGO people and journalists – ranging from Asli Tunç, Yaman Akdeniz, Zeynep Tufekci (who has also blogged a rapid, excellent analysis), and Burcu Baykurt [UPDATE: Burcu has written a very comprehensive post detailing the main media reform issues emerging from the Gezi Park protest movement] to Aaron Stein, Benjamin Harvey, Hugh Pope and Amberin Zaman – as well as feeds like 140 Journos. (Feel free to tweet me or @mediapolicy with further suggestions.)
One of the most widely discussed (on Twitter) aspects of these protests has been the mainstream Turkish media’s perceived failure to cover the protests fairly, adequately, or in some cases at all, leading Bloomberg’s Benjamin Harvey to tweet the following:
Turks being confronted with the now-undeniable deficiencies of their media may be one of the most important aspects of these protests.
In report after report after report [UPDATE: 3 June 2013 – see comment below for further resources], those deficiencies – and the reasons for them – have been thoroughly, exhaustively anatomised. Asli Tunç and Vehbi Görgülü’s Mapping Digital Media Turkey report (2012), for example, gives a very comprehensive overview of the Turkish media sector and its travails, and is part of a 50-country series that mediapolicy.org readers know well. The Carnegie report (also supported by OSF) by Marc Pierini and Markus Mayr on Press Freedom in Turkey, takes a different approach. Introducing the report in January 2013, Pierini wrote:
I didn’t conduct yet another inquiry into press freedom. More modestly, I analyzed all the reports published on the subject by governmental and non-governmental, Turkish and foreign entities during the last two years. Although they had different focuses and methodologies, all these reports convey one single image: Turkey’s record is bad because it fares well below the country’s democratic credentials and is hurting the nation economically and diplomatically on the international scene.
One has to hope that the Gezi Park crisis will lead in some way to genuine reforms in Turkey’s media policy and media sector, freeing journalism to play a stronger role in the country’s democracy. As Turkey is one of mediapolicy.org‘s focus countries, we’ll definitely follow developments and build up useful resources over the coming weeks and months. We’d love to hear from academics, researchers, civil society and journalists interested in sharing perspectives on media policy and reform in Turkey – please get in touch on email or Twitter.
How can policy-making be made more timely and participatory? How can policy-modelling make better use of ICTs and data? Questions pertinent to the media policy community all over the world… Well, the EU’s Crossover project set out to answer these and related questions, and on 17th and 18th June, they’re holding their final project conference in Dublin to discuss their findings. (You can sign up to attend here.)
Crossover is in the final weeks of developing its research roadmap on policy-making 2.0 – you can comment and contribute here (until June 10th). The final roadmap will be presented at the Dublin conference, alongside various EU initiatives pushing on practical applications in this area – in immigration policy, youth participation in policy-making, and the FuturICT Living Earth Platform.
You can explore the data from Crossover’s research on their platform here. We’re keen to see how lessons from Crossover can be (or already are being) applied by policy-makers and policy-influencers in the media, communications and internet space – let us know your thoughts by commenting below, or tweeting us.
In this excellent February 2013 paper for Nesta, Counting What Counts, Anthony Lilley, never one to mince his words, pushes the arts and cultural sector (public service broadcasting included) to embrace the opportunity of Big Data:
There are some fundamental barriers to the use of big data approaches in arts and cultural institutions. The first is related to the funding environment. The sector currently largely addresses data from too limited a perspective. Too often, the gathering and reporting of data is seen as a burden and a requirement of funding or governance rather than as an asset to be used to the benefit of the artistic or cultural institution and its work. This point of view is in danger of holding the sector back. It arises partly from the philosophy of dependence, subsidy and market failure which underpins much of the cultural sector including the arts and public service broadcasting.
A shift in mindset to one which sees data more as an asset and not just as a tool of accountability is a fundamental requirement of making the most of the “big data opportunity” envisaged by this paper. Importantly, such a shift which would match much of the rhetoric of “investment” which is used in the sector, particularly by policy and funding bodies. This paper suggests, to date, this rhetoric has largely been just that; a new term to replace the loaded word “subsidy” rather than a genuine change.
The second major obstacle is the limited strategic understanding of or indeed interest in the use of data at senior levels in the cultural sector. For many, the potential of data in the cultural sector is at best a “known-unknown” or worse goes entirely unappreciated. For some, the idea of using data in the the arts is controversial or even anathema. Limited day to day data management skills in many parts of the sector and often less than ideal technology in many organisations contribute to a sense of strategic drift. And yet, there are, of course, islands of passionate expertise and effective activity.
Without question, the effective use of big data (so-called data-driven decision-making or DDD) has the potential to deliver operational and financial benefits to individual cultural organisations in obvious fields such as marketing and development and, in turn, through the ways in which it might inform artistic decision-making.
This paper calls, ultimately, for a strategic approach to sectoral change, to capacity building and to joining up and scaling existing work with a view to achieving a step change in the way that data can help improve the resilience of the cultural sector.
Read the rest of the paper here.
“We agreed on the important role a free and independent media should play in Somalia, and welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the killing of journalists, and to promote press freedom.”
(Somalia Conference 2013: Official Communiqué at GOV.UK.)
Yesterday’s conference communiqué was unambiguous on the need to protect the media in Somalia. Here’s a selection of the international groups working on media policy issues in Somalia, and a couple of recent reports about the media environment in the country – let us know via the comments what we’re missing, and we’ll update the list.
– EU fact sheet from Dec 2012 detailing some of the activities of the Somalia Media Support Group of donors, NGOs, and international organisations, and insights into the future strategy for supporting Somalia’s media sector to 2015
– CIMA‘s compilation of where Somalia sits in various international press freedom rankings
– Somalia sits in 2nd position in the CPJ’s Impunity Index for killings of journalists
– Article 19 has been tracking the development of Somalia’s media law, and recently held a conference on protection of journalists in Mogadishu
– the BBC’s media development arm, BBC Media Action, produced a media environment analysis and a policy briefing about the role of the media in 2011
– the InfoAsAid project we featured a couple of weeks ago includes a pretty comprehensive Somalia media/telecoms landscape report from early 2012 (also here)
– the Center for Law and Democracy published a media law and policy review for Somalia in late 2012 (here’s a piece from Albany Associates about the report)
– Albany Associates is also supporting the government and the UN’s AMISOM more broadly on communications
– NORAGRIC is a less usual source for media landscape information, but here’s their March 2012 report on Somalia
– Danish NGO IMS supports a Somali radio station, Radio Ergo
– Global Voices covers Somalia with reasonable regularity, as has the Guardian‘s Data Blog
And finally, here are some stats on social media usage in Somalia, courtesy of Social Bakers.