A community in west Philadelphia decided to use an “old idea” to create change – community radio. Creating a community radio station is not as simple as it used to be, but it was a worthwhile struggle for this group of local activists. The people were tired of the violence in their neighborhoods and irrelevant news reports, so they created a local radio station as a way to reach out to the community and cover the stories that people truly care about. Community members can now interact with the news, speak up for their neighborhoods and become active listeners and participants. Certain community groups, like the Philadelphia Student Union, have already reserved a programming spot in order to have a public space where youth can voice their concerns. To date, the station has received a great community response, which shows the immense potential of local activism through the use of media.
Dean, Will. “Radio Activism.” Philadelphia City Paper. 14 May 2008. Web. 3 July 2012. <http://archives.citypaper.net/articles/2008/05/15/radio-activism>.
Groups to Help Online Activists in Authoritarian Countries
Unique experiences and cutting-edge technology unite to give oppressed activists a medium to initiate change. In this article, Scott Shane describes two men of very different ages who decided to combine their human rights groups to support activists against authoritarian regimes. Thirty year old Jared Cohen, who worked as a State Department official and is now a Google executive, and eighty-nine year old Robert L. Bernstein, a veteran activist, are merging more than just their companies. They are merging knowledge and tactics. Through this collaboration they hope to provide new activists with connections, technical advice and support for their causes. This is a prime example of traditional activism combining with new media opportunities.
Shane, Scott. “Groups to Help Online Activists in Authoritarian Countries.” The New York Times. 11 June 2012. Web. 5 July 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/12/world/americas/groups-to-aid-online-activists-in-authoritarian-countries.html>.
Spreading Digital Revolution In A Cuban Living Room
Digital activism makes for a promising strategy when wanting to speak out publicly against injustices. Unfortunately, computer access in Cuba is very limited, which makes widespread computer literacy even more difficult. Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez is quite aware of this situation and has decided to do her part by teaching others how to use blogs and make Twitter updates with cell phones. Along with spreading her knowledge on accessible media, Sanchez also does her share of traditional activism by going out into the streets to express her opposition to the Castro government. Her actions have received U.S. attention and support. This story shows that people are becoming more aware of the higher efficiency and potential of new media.
Miroff, Nick. “Spreading Digital Revolution In A Cuban Living Room.” National Public Radio. 9 April 2010. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124288271>.
Journalists Initiative on Immunization against Polio in Nigeria
Polio is a preventable, infectious disease that usually affects young children. If children are not immunized, the virus can potentially leave them paralyzed for life. Widespread immunization has caused polio to be eradicated in many countries, but Nigeria continues to be affected. After a 2011 and 2012 spike in polio cases, Nigerian activists created the Journalists Initiative on Immunization against Polio (JAP) – a non-profit, non-governmental organization that combines on-the-move activism with media activism. Leaders of the organization travel to numerous local governments and urge them to take action in preventing polio outbreaks. Local radio stations also do their part to raise awareness. Through these efforts, Nigerian journalists hope to increase the government’s accountability for its people’s health.
UN Children’s Fund. “Journalists Initiative on Immunization against Polio in Nigeria.” United Nations. 18 July 2012. Web. 25 July 2012. <http://reliefweb.int/report/nigeria/journalists-initiative-immunization-against-polio-nigeria>.