Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Election Blogging in El Salvador

El Salvador will hold legislative and municipal elections on March 12th. Although there are 11 national parties in El Salvador, two are grabbing most of the spotlight: ARENA and the FMLN. ARENA is a tough-on-crime party of the right which has controlled the presidency since the civil war ended in 1992. The FMLN were the communist guerrilla army in said civil war. Now you see why this is interesting.

Tim Muth has a really engaging post for Global Voices which includes summaries of Salvadoran bloggers writing about the election. Here are the blogs he writes about:
categories: election blogging_

Monday, February 27, 2006

Election Blogging

Here's an update on election bloggers:

categories: election blogging_

Citizen Journalists are "Watching" for Democracy

I'd like to begin with a piece from WorldChanging, which is committed to cross-pollinating great ideas from diverse fields of study to fuel innovations that will benefit of humankind. (not bad for a premise, eh?) This piece focuses on the the "Blair Watch Project," (clever title!). According to WorldChanging,

The Blair Watch Project is an effort, coordinated by the UK newspaper The Guardian, to keep tabs on the UK's Prime Minister Tony Blair as he goes about campaigning around the country. The project was prompted by the Labour party's decision to limit Blair's media exposure on the trail; now it looks like he'll be covered by more cameras than ever.

The Guardian is using photo sharing site flickr.com to collect the photos, many of which will be taken using cell phone cameras.

I am wondering, could the Blair Watch Project work in the "developing" world? Citizen journalism has the ability to step in and provide meaningful content in countries where the MSM (mainstream media) can't or won't provide accurate and unbiased coverage of political news. Please comment if you know of any citizen journalism projects in "developing" countries.

categories: citizen journalism_

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Category Testing 2

This is also only a test (don't alarmed).

election blogging_

Testing Categories 1

This is only a test

General Democracy Blogging_, election blogging_

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Overview of Ukrainian Campaign Ads

by Foreign Notes (Kiev, Ukraine)
originally posted 11/2/06 in English

The TV campaign is in full swing. The ads have been up for awhile. Party of the Region's went up first. People picking through trash, cold and hungry, all black and white. Things were better with us and they can be better again is the theme. (On cheap oil and natural gas once again?)

Our Ukraine's ad harks back to the OR [Orange Revolution] and says, paraphrasing, "We said no to bandits and took back our rights" and ends with "Don't abandon the Maidan!" [The Maidan is the famous central square in Kiev where most of the events of the Ukrainian Orange Revolution took place.] I really wish they would get better advice. Maybe they know something I don't but the people I talk to think the Maidan [and thus, the Orange Revolution] was betrayed by [President] Yuschenko, at the very least. And some say by [former Prime Minister] Yulia [Tymoshenko] too.

Yulia isn't advertising but she is having rallies that give out McDonald's coupons. The personal touch?

We did see an ad for Viche which was bizarre. Kind of hard to explain but it had Japanese style drummers and it looked sort of New Age. To me it was what a Scientology ad would look like if they advertised.

They are an odd party. They have a telegenic spokeswoman and they feature some younger candidates. I am suspicious that they have been set up by some opposition money bags to siphon off support from Our Ukraine--maybe younger voters. They were one of the two parties that were asked for a response to Yuschenko's address on the TV channel we watched the other night. The other was Yanukovych [lost to Yuschenko in the 2004 presidential election, member of the Party of Regions].

Yanukovych for his part is talking issues. Maybe that's because his American handlers are hammering that into him. That's a change though. In the last election, he relied on his machine to make his case with administrative resources and bullied and threatened the rest of the time. To see him talking about issues is a whole lot better, even though he's not all that facile with them.

Pora has been advertising too. They are pushing Klitchko and their ads look an awful lot like Our Ukraine's in color and in style. Maybe they see themselves as the rightful heirs of the Maidan?

The ads have been relatively sedate. We'll see if it stays that way.

democracy themes related to this post: elections

view the original post on DemoBlog's main site

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Elections on the Horizon

Editor's Note: I feel I should apologize. Why? For giving elections short shrift. I write about them as they are happening with little lead-up coverage. In this way, I am guilty of the same sin as the MSM (mainstream media); I treat an election like a one-off event, rather than as simple another milestone an on-going democracy process. In order to mend my ways I am now beginning coverage on three upcoming elections: Belarus (March 19 - presidential), Ukraine (March 26 - parliamentary), and Kenya (2007 - presidential)

view the original post on DemoBlog's main site

Belarus: Filtering Campaign Websites

by br23blog (Minsk, Belarus)
originally posted 8/2/06 in English

With newspapers, radio, and TV under state control, the Belarusian opposition is using new technologies to get their message out — in particular the Internet. All the candidates campaigning in the 19 March presidential election have launched websites, with many users taking part in online discussions. However, these new forms of campaigning have trouble reaching remote locations with no Internet access — the very places where the most committed supporters of incumbent President Alyaksandr Lukashenka are often to be found… [quoted by br23blog from an uncited source]

It’s a good article, but one important piece of information is missing, the part about Internet filtering and blocking. On 09/09/2001 a few opposition and independent news sites were blocked inside Belarus. I myself wrote an article about that back in 2001, with the technical details on how the blocking was implemented.

I have absolutely no doubt that on March, 19, and perhaps several days prior and after the election date, quite a few websites will be blocked again. First of all, their entries will most probably be deleted from the Belarus’ root DNS server. Second, our telecom monopolist Beltelecom will probably block the actual incoming traffic from the IP addresses that correspond to those domain names.

I can’t see any feasible solution on how to bypass this kind of blocking and pass on information to internet users inside Belarus, should this happen. If you have any ideas, please write to me or leave a comment.

P.S. I did my little contribution by linking to milinkevich.org from this blog, but I’m sure it will be #1 item on Lukashenka’s shit list.

democracy themes related to this post: elections

view the original post on DemoBlog's main site

Ukraine: Absentee Balloting

by Leopolis (Washington DC, USA)
originally posted 7/2/06 in English


The Ukrainian Central Elections Commission is tightening absentee ballot terms for fear of abuses in the March 26 parliament elections. Special stamps will be put in passports of people who choose absentee ballot, Commission Chairman Yaroslav Davydovich told personnel of district election commissions on Tuesday. “In so doing we will prevent absentee ballot abuses of the kind that occurred during the 2004 presidential elections. Absentee ballot terms will be tight, so we will not have any problems,” he said. The Ukraine printing house based in Kiev will print 740,000 absentee ballot papers, which makes 2% of all voters, Davydovich said. “Absentee ballot papers will be timely supplied to all election commissions, and there will be no falsifications in their use,” he said. Repeated voting with one and the same absentee ballot paper was named as one of main reasons for falsifications in the Ukrainian presidential elections [ITAR-TASS news service]

...SHRIVELLED ORANGES, ORANGE POWER SOURS, more cute headlines, ad nauseum...

democracy themes related to this post: elections

view the original post on DemoBlog's main site

Kenya: Call for a New Political Generation

by You Missed This (Kenya)
originally posted 7/2/06 in English

Right from day one, we in this blog have believed very strongly that the time has come to pass on the baton to a new generation of Kenyans. We have made it no secret that one of the main objectives of this blog is to campaign for such an eventuality. We believe that it is the only way our country can be saved.

We have relied heavily on the experienced older politicians for too long and look where it has taken us? On Thursday I will officially announce this blog’s choive for President in 2007. Don’t miss it.

Meanwhile there seems to be a huge number of persons, countrywide who hold the same view as we do. Below find an interesting email that has been circulating amongst Kenyans in recent times.

I have reproduced it here. Maybe we should hire the guy to write for this blog - if we can find him or her. In my expert opinion this is excellent writing displaying a very deep understanding of the country (more so for somebody under 45). I do not agree with everything that has been written here - one or two comments seem malicious but I agree with 95% of what has been said here, so I have reproduced the letter exactly as it is, without omitting anything. Enjoy…

Young Kenyans Arise!

Are you below the age of 45 years?

Then you are young!

Do you love your country Kenya? Do you think you have a stake in the happenings in the country Kenya? Does the future of our beloved country mean anything to you?

Think for a moment: if you are 45 and below - to reach Mwai’s age you have at least 30 more years to live! Do you want the group that calls itself leaders in this country to chart your future for you? Or do you want to be part of the change that is necessary to build this country?

Let us sample a few: this is not about tribal chiefs and their kingdoms - for our progressive future requires that we grow up and shed the tribal and regional glasses and think as a nation and tap on our potential. While at the same time appreciating our diversity, which must be celebrated as opposed to being used to divide us. more...

democracy themes related to this post: elections

view the original post on DemoBlog's main site

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Global Voices Coverage of Costa Rican & Haitian Elections

My job is just too easy today. Global Voices, a site that reports on the most interesting conversations in the global blogosphere, has written two excellent blog round-ups of the Haitian elections, happening today, and the fall-out of the Costan Rican elections, which occurred on Sunday. What are you waiting for? Go read!

democracy themes related to this post: elections

Monday, February 06, 2006

Anti-Thaksin Protest in Thailand: Four Voices

[Editor's Note: On Saturday, several thousand protesters gathered in a public park in Bangkok to demand that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra resign. Here are four commentaries on the event.]

First read an account of the protest by TaKe Me To THe HoRiZoN! who actually attended the event:

I arrived at the Royal Plaza around 11 pm and everything was still going on at its peak. People were shouting 'Thaksin, Get Out!' and the things they talked about on the stage was still fierce. I was walking around trying to get some tidbits from the rally coz there wasn't so much to cover. But then at around 1 am, a procession took form. Khun Sondhi was leading the procession to the Royal Thai Army headquarters. It was really cool to be there, right in front of the crowd and looked at them. Over 1 thousand people marched together, with determination and the feeling of doing something for their country. They did everything out of their good heart and spirit, no profit at all. Patriotism, the love for one's own country, the unrivalled kind of feeling. more...

Then read a manifesto about why people are protesting from blogger ike-tomatte. This blogger's principal complaints againt the Prime Minister: conflict of interest (using his public role to enrich his businesses), corruption, populist policies (wasting state funds on public works projects with little long-term value), media domination, and money politics (money-based power). This blog also has some photos of the protest.

Then read a piece of in-depth analysis by American blogger Publius Pundit, who is "blogging the democratic revolution." Publius is very hard on Thaksin, writing,

The billionaire-army cop-turned Prime Minister has used his office to pocket billions for himself in yet another ‘Corporate State’ business deal while the rest of Thailand languishes in the aftermath of the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 that continues to depress wages - despite some economic growth. more...

Finally, for balance, read a pro-Thaksin piece by Manifesto of Nuances, a journalism student who admires the Prime Minister's no-nonsense reaction to the protest.

Then I think Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra really rocks! You can't always have a smooth-talking politician all the time. When things get nasty, you want someone who is mean and heartless, all for the better of the country. When protestors accused him of using his political power to boost his business dealings, and were fueled by the fact that two of his ministers had resigned, they thought they could get lucky and get Thaksin himself to resign. But the Thai PM said this, "These are just a few stupid people. Let's ignore them." You go, boy! He added, "I am not stupid. I will work to the best of my ability to make Thai people happy." more...

democracy themes related to this post: accountability of public officials, political protests

Saturday, February 04, 2006

yet another test

testing again

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