14 SEPTEMBER 10
HARNESSING ALL ASPECTS OF THE NET FOR YOUTH ACTIVISM
Note: The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during Fifth Meeting of the IGF, in Vilnius. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> JILLIAN YORK: Hi, my name is Jillian York and though I can't be there to talk to this panel I would like to talk for a few minutes. I would like to talk about youth and activism around the world. Particularly in the Middle East and Africa which is the region I focus on. I have been following this for a few years and I have noticed that there are a few different camps of thought as far as digital activism goes. There is the group of people who believe that it is incredibly effective that digital activism can change the world, and then there is a group of people that believe that digital activism has had very little event over the past few years. If anything, it's maybe brought media attention to certain causes. I certainly fall somewhere many the middle.
Let me give you a few examples. Looking at 9 sent offer 2 thousand 9 and the green movement in Iran we can see that the media played attention to what they referred to as the Twitter revolution. What I can say is that there were people indeed on the ground in Iran who were sending images and videos and messages to people in other parts of the world who then Tweeted and shared that information on line.
So it is not fair to say that it was an entirely ineffective movement, in fact, it brought great global media attention to the cause of the green movement in Iran. Let me look at an example a little bit closer to my own experience. I look lived in Morocco for a few years. And that has been the site of incredible digital activism over the past five years. A few years ago a person who chose to remain anonymous set up camp in a remote part of southern Morocco with a video camera. He sat on the side of the road and recorded policemen asking for bribes for passersby. The sniper uploaded the videos to You Tube and publicized them to the world. This is an excellent example of how citizen media can change the world.
Now, it's only a small example in a small region in a fairly in a country that's not given all that much attention in the mainstream media, but at the same time it brought incredible attention both inside and outside of Morocco to the situation of corruption in that country. It may not have changed things quickly, but we can see that over time people have paid attention to this cause, written about it, blogged about it and got attention for it in the mainstream media.
More recently, I bring to your attention a couple of different cases of blogger whose have been arrested and jailed. There is the instance of Ali Adouaman, he is a Bahrain blogger and activist who founded the web site behind on line.org. About a week ago he was arrested allegedly for publishing false news on his web site.
In the past week, a group of us, myself included, have gotten together to put together a blog and a Facebook group to draw attention to Ali's plight. Within four days of assembly this group, we have a thousand members and have managed to bring media attention to the cause. Now, Ali is still in prison at the moment, but at the same time I feel that what we have done has brought plenty of international attention to the situation that would not be possible without the internet.
There are other cases of bloggers arrested over the past few years that similar campaigns have affected. If you look back again to Morocco, the cases of Mohammed Araji and a few others were influenced heavily by campaigns on blogs on Twitter and Facebook. So, again, I don't personally believe that, you know, digital activism is going to change the world immediately, but as someone who has been studying this for the past few years and is a practitioner of digital activism, I feel that there are amazing things we can accomplish.
Now, a second point I would like to bring to your attention is an issue I have been following for the past few months and I have spoken about in other events such as the Global Voices Summit in Chile in May. I have been looking at the situations of certain activists on social media platforms, on Twitter, Facebook, flicker, blogger and others. What I have found (Off Microphone).
>> RAFIK DAMMACK: Good morning. Sorry for the delay. We have technical issues for presentation and videos. So my name is Raffik. I'm organizing this workshop which was the idea of Jillian York from Berkman Center. Unfortunately she cannot come here and we do have her video. So we are waiting a little bit that we can set up the PC for showing the video. Okay. Sorry again for the delay. We will start our workshop. Policy governance and participation harnessing all aspect of net for youth activism. Today we have six panelists. One of them is she is Jillian York who is a speaker and we will start first with Lindsey Beck who is working for the Internet Freedom Program at Freedom House, and after that we have Leon Bayer from Pirate Party, Germany, who is the youngest panelist in our workshop, and then we will show the video of Jillian York who is working for Berkman Center and also project manager. Then we go to Amelia Andersdotter who is the youngest parliamentary man and a member of the Swedish Pirate Party. And then we go to Gry Hasselbalch and she will talk about the Danish of 2010 and she had present some from the Danish people and we will finish with Eddan Katz from Electronic Frontier Foundation, and his international we are still waiting for him, but he will be the last speaker any way. So Lindsey, are we ready? We will wait a little bit for the screen.
Okay. Hopefully we are set now and we will start with Lindsey Beck who we introduce about digital activism I think in the case of Southeast Asia, and we will be happy to know about experience there. Thanks.
>> LINDSAY BECK: Can you hear me? Good morning. Hi, good morning, everyone. Thank you, Rafik, for organizing this panel. As he has explained my name is Lindsay Beck, and I work on the Internet Freedom Program at Freedom House which promotes good governance on line as well as freedom of expression and access to information on line as well.
So just some current statistics and trends. As you are well aware, Verizon internet access, the broad band and mobile access, the growing popularity as well as vast increase in internet users under the age of 30 all provide an increased capacity for youth to engage political, social and economic spheres both in their local and their global environments as well.
The important of social media use in internet repressed environments, in particular with Southeast Asia is that they provide an opportunity to amplify under represented voices. So, examples of this include trainings to raise media literacy for youth as well as provide through these trainings ways for you to engage on line to access news, access political information that they otherwise wouldn't be able to abstain. This picture here is through a campaign currently under way in Indonesia called ICT watch. And that group works to promote media literacy trainings.
So in addition, the importance of social media is also to expand access to information. With Southeast Asia this has been used primarily through the use of Twitter to receive up to date information during the recent demonstrations and violence. Twitter was often the most up to date source to receive information of activists on the ground. In addition, the campaign was used to track voted during the recent Philippine election, and as well as in Indonesia, students frequently use three applications which can be obtained through social networking tool as well.
Currently at Freedom House, we are conducting a study called freedom on the net and through this programme we are looking to assess the enabling environment for internet freedom issues by reviewing obstacles to access, limitations on content and violations of user rights. And 15 countries, and we will be launching a new report in early 2011 that will include 37 countries. So through this study, we assess the free flow of news and information via the internet and other ICT technologies, and through this assessment, we determine whether they will be classified as free, partly free or not free. So as you can see here, so through the 15 countries, the countries that are in green are free. Partly free countries are in yellow and not free countries are in purple.
As you can see here, through this study, it's important to recognize that any barriers to a free and open internet really threaten the ability of all persons, but particularly youth to communicate effectively within their own communities and with the outside world as well. So as I mentioned, some current threats to effective youth engagement that have been under way are both the censoring of consent, surveillance as well as unclear or vague use of legislation and policies.
So some case studies of this are so for censored content, there has been cases such as blocked access to social networking tools, restrictions on posting political content for surveillance, it's monitoring content that are posted on line, which often results in extensive self censorship of internet user, and to unclear legislation are often towards government policies for issues such as data retention, privacy as well as assessment of what content is deemed unfit to be posted on line as well as shared.
This is often even through initiatives such as child protection, which are often made without adequate consultation of multiple stakeholders or only recruit pro government youth groups or other groups of that nature. So some case studies I would like to share with you is in particular in Thailand through programs such as the cyber scout programme, this programme seeks to create or encourage youth to monitor content that's posted on line to insure that it's in compliance with placement laws, and through this campaign it's often resulted in encouragement of these scouts to post personal data of accused violators of this regulation which often result in harassment of these individuals.
In Malaysia, students are forbidden to engage in local or national elections, and as a result because of this restriction student council elections at universities are often encouraged to move to an on line space so that governments are then able to monitor these elections which restricts the freedoms of students who participate more openly than they would had these elections not been monitored. In the Philippines, however, there has been significant student outreach on social media efforts. Through efforts such as national and local scale citizen led relief operations which have been promoted primarily by social media have attracted student outreach through the increase of sites such as which are student portals that conduct seminars on how to use social media to enhance efforts I had mentioned as well as in Indonesia movements like I mentioned earlier such as ICT watch and increasingly engage youth to discuss issues such as blocked content as well as safe internet policies for youth as well.
>> Thank you Lindsey, a regard about the last point about case studies I just want to mention that a few days ago a and then a movement in Arabic started to prove him and I think it's one example of how but also the disconnect people can face when they are invited to. So, okay, so now to the next speaker, who is the youngest panelist and maybe the youngest panelist in all IGF. I'm lucky that I have the opportunity to meet him and to know about his experience a few days ago, and I will I think that everybody here will be interested to know about his experience and about his talk. So Leon, please.
>> Leon Bayer, thank you, Rafik for attending this panel and being here, I am from Berlin and active in the young pirates we are the youthization of the pay rate party, Germany. Basically anybody can attend there. After that it can just be like a sponsoring member. The young pirates consist mostly of web Ed people and people who are into social media already, so internet activists that's why we can use social media so much. To give some examples. First of all, we use Twitter and event organizations, so if we are like planning an event, we are asking everybody to collaborate there and helping us out with ideas or helping us out with their time to work on stuff. And secondly not young pirates but the pay rates use Twitter in campaigning so if people think your content is relevant, it will reach you and this is why social networks work with organizations and organizations like young Pirates or the Pirate Party because you can easily reach more people than would be in your social circle.
Another thing on Twitter which is really important for us are those 140 characters. Actually those only allow a few seconds of retention, but if you are interested in a topic you will click on a link and follow information, so with just an investment of a few seconds, you can maybe just get just get more information and get more relevant information for use so you can filter these images coming off the net and this is exactly what we are using. We are pushing as much as possible information out there, and hoping that people read headlines and read articles which they find relevant.
In business I talked to some business people who said Twitter is not useable for us or social networks aren't usable because people don't get attention through social networks because it's just like a free time activity for them. Yes, it's a free time activity mostly, but people have a lot of free time usually, or if they don't have free time, the social networks are so relevant for them they usually give up some time for that. This is good for us, because when they are in their free time, we can use their time and give them information and have them or have us or ask to have us and our actions.
Another example we used Facebook for organizing the freedom of inspiration. We had like three thousand people that attended the demonstration and we created an event where people could join. People did so and we asked them to maybe do some organisation stuff on the demonstration or have as good as possible if they can, and they did. So what we can see people are willing to help us and are willing to collaborate over social networks. That's an ability of social networks which we have to use. But even in Germany, which is like a real developed country, there are some threads, first of all, from the European union, the dare intention which allows you not to be as free as you would like to be in your speech because you cannot be sure if it's used against you in some later point, but those threads are also theoretical.
So once there was one friend arrested because there was some communication problems between him and the police, but mostly threads are theoretical in Germany and we can be happy about that. So I would like to encourage everybody to use social network to doing youth activism and get more people to read your stuff and get more people who find more information and maybe can help you in getting your actions done. Thank you.
>> Thanks, Leon for mentioning freedom, freedom experience and the programme of youth there. So I think that we have some technical problem for the video, so maybe we can go Amelia Andersdotter will speak know, and sorry, Amelia for that.
>> It's all right. My name is Amelia Andersdotter. I am an elected representative in the European parliament on the behalf of the Pirate Party. The elections were last year in June and it's the first elected representatives that any Pirate Party had in a parliamentary body that was larger than local. European parliament is slightly different than conventional activism because it's actually being inside of a legislative process and getting access to all of the information in the process that leads up to laws, but it does involve a lot of communication with activists and here I think that the use of social media from our parliamentarians and offices have made a great help.
So you see parliament, you see at least our parliamentarians and many of the people we work with communicate with external people via Twitter or chats. Also now ironically Facebook. And it's helped get a lot of information out of the process that hasn't previously gotten out of there. I hear a lot of my old activist friends from Sweden say that now after we are in the parliament they have completely different means of following what's happening. It helps them plan their actions better. It makes it gives them access to information that can plan their actions faster than they could have done in the past.
Also, because we constantly have a feedback loop, it also helps us make more adequate decisions about how to interact with activists or take actions based on the feedback they give us. Now, I'm guessing I'm guessing for interparliamentarian work if you look at how work is conducted inside the parliament, social media is not still still not the most relevant tool for that., but as I said, it did, to a large part, increase our contact for the outside world which when considering the European institutions in particular may well be a good step towards democracy. Thank you.
>> RAFIK DAMMAK: Thank you for mentioning your experience in the European parliament, it's quite entertaining there.
>> AMELIA ANDERSDOTTER: It is very entertaining in the European parliament. Thank you. It's a very interesting place to work.
>> RAFIK DAMMAK: Now we will have presentation from Gry and I think we know more about Danish experience in Danish IGF and also what do you think about internet governance issues.
>> GRY HASSELBALCH: Thank you. I just need to open my power point, but I can say for the next ten minutes or so I will present a case study and I'm going to give some results and some insights and some of the method that's we have used. And it's the Danish youth aspects of the Danish IGF that was held by the ministry of science in August this year.
So we had a vast amount of material and I'm general going to be able to illustrate a few insights, and I think one of the main things I will do here is illustrate the power of the internet to engage youth in, for example, IGF issues, and to actually receive valid knowledge that we can use in the otherwise very adult discussions. So it's the result from the youth IGF project as we call it in Denmark, and they were youth between 13 and 16 years old that provided the input and were reached through social media and provided input encore IGF issues such as diversity rights, security, openness, access and the future of the internet. Seven were selected to present the input at the national IGF, and to the IT spokespersons of five major political parties in Denmark following the keynote of the minister of science and one of the founders of the internet, Robert Kahn. In the Danish Media Council for Children, young people who runs project and event centre which is part of the European network, which is co founded by the European Commission. So we are a large network of 27 centers around Europe working on these issues, particularly how to empower youth through social and ethical and critical use of internet and new technologies.
About the case study, it was developed over a very short time, a period of time. We worked together with the Danish part of the kids network and the minister of science. We collected input between actually two months, May and June 2009, inspired by Childhood International, huge IGF project last year. And as I said, the aim was to include youth voices in the IGF debate. And, again, it was one result of 400 youth participating in this we actually have 400 pages of insight for critical answers from Danish youth from all kinds of backgrounds. And those have received quite political attention which was possible.
To tell you about the method, it was not a complex structure. It was more using social media and placing on line question where youth could provide answers to different questions on some of the most popular social network sites in Denmark. And what we did was also to inform them about the procedure that the input would also be used in the national IGF debate and would be presented to regulators and stakeholders. So the question then is why did we have so much success. First of all, if I could first of all, there is a country I'm sorry, I couldn't translate it, but for the ones of you, I don't think all of you can see it, but it shows some of the numbers of use of profiles in Denmark. And at least 86% of 14 to 16 years old have a profile, and 26% of the household have a profile in Denmark so it wasn't difficult to reach the youth, but I also think that the great participation that we had was also a symbol of the youth need to actually be heard, and in this specific field.
And I have a little quote from one of those that they should also have an influence. And furthermore, to say a little bit about the strength of youth in social networking sites to gather input from youth. In this case what we saw was that it enabled youth in physically and virtually remote parts of society to participate. Here is a quote from one kid who identifies himself as an immigrant, and who says that when we asked him who is to decide about the internet. He says, well, not (Off Microphone) because they lie and fuck up everybody and at the Danish government because they would just prevent access to immigrants. So that's one of the main strings about social networks, you can reach kids from all of the backgrounds not just wealthy backgrounds. So what did we actually learn? (Off Microphone) insights we can see, but first of all, in terms of openness, when we asked about who should decide about the incident, first of all, once of the main results was that they said that they should decide about the incident as I pointed out before, and also that there was a primary decider of freedom. (Off Microphone) it should be free, one of the kids says here and some diversity, we are asking the students to give a correct intro of the word, and I thought it was interesting to see how the kids would say they wouldn't say yes or no, they would say both yes and no. Because as one kid says it's important to receive information from the whole world.
Access, why do people use the internet? They were recognizing the digital gap not only access of use, but also the gap between perception and the gap of use in general. If you will look at rights, whether they have the most important rights, the three top scores were privacy, safety and freedom of expression, and as some of you, many of you will know that it's a difference in some privacy, but I will not get into that.
And but I think that was most prevalent in this case study was actually the point that what I could see, what we could see was that youth had a very critical embedded understanding of the internet as a space and that's something we adults can use. And, you know, adults have spent the same quantity of time on line very often at least in Denmark they do, but in terms of quality, the perception is very different. They use them for different things and it's lived differently by youth. So it's not that can be opened and closed. It's a space. It's not a place that can be switched on and switched off. This quote is very prevalent or very good to illustrate this, one kid says the internet is a free place for all. It's a place for young people where the parents don't always get involved and you can express yourself holidays and travels, plans to work to find books and news. It should be there for everyone.
And just a few last points, so I think in terms of internet governance, what was really important and what we can use here is that they do not the youth do not use they are not talking about inside and outside closing and opening space. They have an interest in some balance. There is no into governance. That was very prevalent. So for an example is when they say we need to protect, you can also freedom. One kid says I believe that the internet as well as the country governance should be democratic and free. Of course, there are risk where's you can find access to bombs and terrorist organizations on line this is why I think the governments are allowed to surveil the internet but not to limit it. It's just an example of the kind of critical approach government internet as a space rather than a medium.
So I think that the last point is to say that I think it's important to remember as adults we are regulating things and that has to do with youth when kids provide the opportunity to be actually very critical and insightful, and I know this it's probably not prevalent but I have many journalists calling and saying did you get surprised by all of these critical answers. I think this is a general thing we have to remember.
I think a good quote to end from one kid that says the internet needs to unfold in the direction is naturally unfolds. It's up to each individual how she/he wants to find the internet. If everyone remember this, the internet will become better and better. So that was my last point. Thank you.
>> RAFIK DAMMAK: Thank you Gry for this presentation, and I also like when the many Danish youth idea. So first, I think that you can find the poster there in that desk, and I like that one that is not only for adults that are decide who can live without the internet. So I think it summarizes all that youth should be informed on internet governance and I'm happy that youth think like that. And we hope that will take care of this and we will see more young people we have I'm not blaming that we have only the same people, but we should have more new blood and new faces. So now, it's time to have the presentation of Eddan Katz from Electronic Frontier Foundation. I'm really happy that he is here because he participated I think in IGF in the first youth workshop. At that time, I remember he talked about digital alternatives. So at this time we are talking more about youth activism and so, please.
>> EDDAN KATZ: Thank you very much, Rafik, and for I know many of you here. It's nice to see everyone again. These are in some ways reunions, the IGF's of people who are involved in these issues. I want to also reflect the fact that there aren't as many young people on the main sessions, and I'd like to focus on one particular intersection which is that regarding security, and terrorism and those issues that seems it is at that point where the novelty of youth activism and social networking sort of stops and the adults come in. This is where we listen less to you because a lot more is at stake and I think there is an important note which adults should listen to that which is openness, that which is much more innate as we are hearing on the part of youth activism actually has many elements in it which is much more secure in terms of an information environment in the long term than a closed environment.
So those youth activists that develop those systems that are open and networked and connected and adaptable to new entrance are actually models that should be paid more attention to in developing theories and models in regards to security. So actually, following up on was a few days after the Mumbai attacks and it was very much looming. This is what I was thinking about, so to describe I think, really to repeat what's already been said in terms of what digital natives are and what aspects and elements describe digital natives, growing up in the information society, being very comfortable in information as a means of communicating, as a means of media, and it's malleability, information has some of its own elements in terms of flow. Collaborative development, this is also natural. Isn't the single author, it's the multiple authors. It's the way that people together develop something and that's how things are produced and created.
Diversity and multiculturalism, such as the examples just given from Denmark, I think youth are much more comfortable having interacted with people from all over the place, both locally, regionally and internationally, whether it's to plan transnational protest or to play Backgammon, people are much more comfortable interacting with people from all over. And globalism and localism in that same line don't seem to be in conflict. There is a way that you can interact with people on social networks or in other types of communication that sorts of the seamless thread between, you know, communicating and meeting with someone that's sort of in the same room, in the same way and some of you are probably at this very moment, perhaps, instant messaging with people both in the room and very far away at home. And I think that that's something that is a thread that is quite important, especially as we think about the possibility of open networks. So freedom in an age that still is dominating and looming in matters of security and at every opportunity, whether it be in regards to the protection of children, or counter terrorism or gambling, or religious blasphemy, the instant of the policy makers is to reintroduce to create bottle necks and channels and elements of control.
And I think that we need to understand the advantages of the open. We talk about access to knowledge often and I see that the consumers international book is here. I would highly recommend people to pick that up. I see it as the intersection of innovation and creativity on the one side and development and freedom on the other and the type of innovation and creativity that we talk about is the openness and collaboration and the information and technology on the development and freedom side, we are talking about the essential needs and the social responsibility of individuals. Taking that framework in mind, and honing in on responsibility which I think is the corner stone at which the security conversations begin, the advantages of openness include the fact that there are many eyes. The few eyes that are looking at a problem sometimes miss some of the larger mistakes, and we see in, especially when comparing different types of software models, the extent to which open source is proven in its longevity to enable greater security despite the intuition that openness would introduce loopholes.
Transparency and trust is also fundamental. So the openness in its transparency, again, provides for those problems and those loopholes to be revealed, and it is behind closed doors often that the security problems arise because of, because of lack of transparency and lack of trust. Different points of view also enable there to be problem solving that looks at a problem not only from those assumptions made by creating those security environments, but also from those who try to hack them or Friday to break them.
Cooperation is another important value that I think is fundamental in lending trust to an environment that is more secure in the long term, and finally, because I don't want to run up too much time, the notion of the bottom up. So there is fewer surprises when it's an environment and community that comes from the emergent ideas and emergent networks that come from people connecting with each other rather than handed down from the fewer to the many.
So I really appreciate here, I am inspired by the projects people are doing and the extent to which young people not only are entertaining themselves in the social web environment, but also trading ideas, sort of transnational The ideas are moving from one place to another so quickly. We see examples of campaigns that pop up first in New Zealand or Australia, moving to France, to the U.S., I'm thinking in particular of the blackout icon for the telecoms package and other things. And we need to understand that these ideas don't end with entertainment and with other social web, but that those should be heeded and paid attention to with a supposedly more serious subjects that involve higher stakes and security and allow for the points of view oriented towards openness and collaboration in those conversations. Thanks for your time.
>> RAFIK DAMMAK: Thank you Eddan for your presentation and for all of the points you highlighted. Also I think that you made a good point that maybe from this workshop, we have many people, many young people interested in this issue, and I think that we can start to have more synergy and cooperation between all of those attendees of this workshop. And also, I think that people who are Tweeting about our workshop, it's quite worth it to check and to see the comments. So I think we still have problem to show the video of Jillian. Maybe we will have it more later, but we have enough time to to have a debate, and I would encourage all participants and attendees here to ask the panelists to share their point of view. So maybe we can start now, but just we have the people from net mission here. Welcome. You have people from it is from Asia, I think from Hong Kong of trying to bring young people to be involved in internet governance issues, and to bring them to the IGF. Okay. Now we can start with a debate.
So who will be the first person that will want to ask our panelists?
>> Thank you and thank you for interesting presentations. I think one of the problems is that when you think about this middle aged generation that's in power at the moment, they don't use or even recognize this kind of activism that doesn't have the people marching on the streets and waving flags and signs. So any ideas, what would be a good way of kind of educating this my, unfortunately, my generation, of what's going on and what is going to be the future of not only internet governance, but also governance
>> We are trying to connect a remote
>> Okay. Thanks. Before we have echo six problem, now, we have echo two.
>> Because we haven't heard from Islamabad, and we have a few people trying to connect with us remotely. We just managed to set up the session and it's clashing, the webcast is clashing with the delivery. So sorry for that.
>> RAFIK DAMMAK: Any question from remote participant.
>> We just managed to connect them. So we will see.
>> RAFIK DAMMAK: So about the last question, I'm not sure if I can reply, but just about digital or youth activism, I think it depends in which region we are talking because from my region, it can be really risky to be involved in such youth activism. As I mentioned before, the example of blog or also the young blogger, I think she has so it’s quite risky. But also, for example, there was an experience initiative started by young people against censorship and internet and they tried to Twitter, but some other video streaming space to try to notify directly against censorship to talk maybe they can ask if one of our panelists can answer this question. Maybe the young people.
>> AMELIA ANDERSDOTTER: From being here and listening, I get the feeling that a lot of young activists or youth activists are participating in governance processes don't really consider themselves young representatives. They consider themselves normal representatives just like anybody else. The difference between older generations and younger generations is generally that young people have a lot of time.
Now, I was a student, I studied mathematics, we had classes for, I think, eight to twelve hours a week, and all of the rest of that time I was meant to dispose my time and choose what to do which obviously gave me a lot of opportunities to work with my political engagements. Older people generally have jobs, maybe families, suddenly the time is drained away.
And, yes, when you are looking at it's a bit almost pretentious talking about young activists or youth activists in general or saying that youth, young people set up processes on line. Old people will do that as well if they had the time. And a lot of the people I know are also a bit older, like 30s or 40s. They are still engaged and they just choose to spend their time that way.
>> RAFIK DAMMAK: It's funny to talk about youth activism in the room and comparing that to your experience, in real life, and mention Amelia brought up the time aspect and to be honest, yes, young people have more time, but still like we have school activities for like 30 hours per week, and secondly, what for me is the most important point is it was Eddan brought up in case terrorism comes, the freedom of youth activism ends.
And in Germany, we had our former minister who tried to establish censorship about this issue, but when you look at freedom, which is being exploited in the past years, you can only see a few examples and most countries which are really free are not being exploited with that freedom. And this is maybe a basic thinking of people where we have to work on so that people think that freedom will be exploited. And if freedom, you probably live how would you like, and so why should you try to exploit that. My personal opinion is that freedom is one of the most important in our society because without freedom, we couldn't say our opinion. I couldn't even be here, so we should even or we should work more on don't letting this freedom being censorship like in some countries where you can see the effects. Thank you.
>> RAFIK DAMMAK: Thank you. Hello?
>> I have a question for young people there and I want to ask you what are the actual changes you are facing while working? I have a list of three or four points, I would appreciate if you highlight which one is the most challenging. First is and documents how challenging do you find this and difficulty. And getting money and funding, because young people barely have pocket money sometimes and we have organizing, how do you go about booking stuff and, you know, getting to organize stuff? Free time, because most people have schools, exams, like I oblige not to attend some stuff because you have school or you have stuff to attend to, and I was wondering about the challenges of talking about the older generation. Like wiser politicians and wiser people of their time to get away from something. So which one you feel is the most tricky part or the most hard challenge and how do you come about short cutting it? How do you overcome this challenge?
>> Okay. I would say that it's a big challenge that one of your points was how does it feel to talk with older and wiser people. Now, you just had Leon Bayer tell you that the merits of free speech is that we can all make our points come across. That's quite wise and it's not necessarily a point of view that comes across well in the European parliament always. I would choose him as a policy maker every day over a lot of people that I meet on a daily basis.
>> For me, from the German perspective, one of the other harder parts is organizing events because in most events we try to argue news something goes wrong, and somebody don't do their task. But actually free time and funding is quite easy in Germany. And talking to older people is there are some differences. You know, when you talk to politicians it's kind of hard for if you are but if you are more like liberal or social democrats you can easily talk with them, but some parts of the politicians just don't accept the internet as real communication medium and print out everything what they want to read.
So this communication of older generations is an important part, but plenty of examples of people that integrated to the internet.
>> I want to add in terms of one of your questions, how to influence the existing political structure, I think there has been some examples of how youth activism, as it were, really spreads in numbers in a way that surprises politicians when they receive hundreds of thousands of emails on a particular issue or there is a petition that's signed with lots of people. In terms of those numbers, there is something about gaining those numbers that comes naturally to youth. They are on line. They find out from each other whether it's by spread in multiple technologies that they know, and orient to one particular page or one particular project. It's something that those who aren't connected and who don't feel natural in that environment end up being surprised by, how many people can be leveraged in such a project. And I think that there is something very particular and pragmatic that I want to follow up to what Rafik suggested might be future action, which is most of the people in this room are on a bunch of mailing lists, and a bunch of different kinds of discussions and conversations that are relevant to these issues, and I think in many ways the people in this room are brokers of activism, of information. And what I mean by that, and a broker is being able to take an idea from one place and bring it to another. And it is sometimes as simple as forwarding an email that you got from one mailing list to another mailing list.
And there is a very pragmatic thing I'm trying to suggest is that if we can sort of overlap some of our networks, if some people are on this kind of discussion or mailing list and another and they spread that and some of the others in the room are on, you know, mailing list Y and Z, it spreads very quickly.
And when there is some organisation behind it oriented towards a particular goal, such as an email campaign, a petition, something like that, politicians end up being, paying quite a lot of attention to when there is a large number of voters and the future voters.
I remember when Amelia and the Pirate Party in Sweden were elected, the shock in Europe and the fear among the politicians. We should probably listen to what these kids are saying because they are going to be voting. They are going to be the majority voting later on. And I think that that really catches the attention that was noted that I forget what the percentages of what Amelia said, but the percentage of people under 30 that voted for the Pirate Party was overwhelming in Sweden, and we see the growth of the Pirate Party particularly a youth oriented internet platform issues kind of group, and if you wanted to, you could join the general discussion list of the Pirate Party and the manifesto that's written. I'm a lurker on that list, I will admit, but you can be part of these discussions and if I can make one practical suggestion is for myself as well, is to, you know, to forward stuff more and to join the conversations in a way that would spread the ideas and make it so that more people are aware of what's going on and what others of us are doing and we can get ideas that work to really be leveraged to gain a large number of people letting politicians know what we care about.
>> RAFIK DAMMAK: Thanks Eddan. Any questions? I think it's quite interesting to hear the experience from the Pirate Party in the European context. From where I came from, this is from Asia, and we still have a challenge when the youth try to be participate. Those are obstructions up, you are already become not respect to your culture. So because in Arabian countries or in Thailand if you are youth you have to be obedient, very respectful to the seniors. So it's not easy at all and when the youth try to express the feeling that are to the social media, it is the kind of platform that many youth already use that, but those are the comment that's come from the conservative groups that say, this is we have to watch carefully about this platform or media can undermine our good cultures and good value. So these things are a very very means of struggle for youth in Asian countries. I don't know, do you have any concept from the situation from Denmark that you try to work with the youth group. I heard interesting idea that you are throwing out when you try to encourage them maybe a situation from US and EMEA. Thank you.
>> Just to answer your question, how do you change culture? It's a real difficult thing and the main reason and I was also trying to say that in my presentation why we had so much participation is actually not that we have very social activist youth, but they use media a lot and there is a different power relation between adults and youth in Denmark. And so I I'm sorry, but I don't know how to transfer this experience to your culture.
>> Well, I have experience in Turkey about the discussion was about how to get in touch with authorities and older people in general and discussions were kind of hard because they felt like. So from my side, just to notice it's real, really hard to like get in mutual style of discussion and get a foundation on which you can work, but nothing more.
>> Just to add something, because I think what you were saying before about the freedom and the openness of the media is probably crucial in this point if you have generations or groups that don't feel they can participate in and voice opinions openly in the physical world, this point of open networks and the networks where you feel much overlooked extremely important.
>> I was just wondering in terms of more particular issues, so, for instance, I was in Istanbul at the world youth Congress, and an issue that came up for myself was accessing content. So how do you youth engage in activism if, for instance, because I work with the LGBI and gender based violence, how do you access content so you know what's going on in your country in order to engage then in activism?
>> So I realize the (Off Microphone) actually this is a huge problem because you really have to get into technical details if you want to bypass blocking and you cannot expect this from everybody who is interested in politics or wants to change something. So I see this more as a general topic. It's like (Off Microphone) access, some people know how to bypass access barriers, can do political work, and it's a basic issue we have to work on.
>> I think with that and with other areas it's about sharing experience and sharing those skills and we need to build communities to share skills and I think the point earlier for many young people they don't see themselves as young activists, they see themselves as activists yet this may be their first attempt at engaging. The experience is what you don't get until just after you need it. Yet you see so many youth activists after gaining their experience holding onto something they now have and not passing that onto others so I think one of the big challenges for us is how can we make sure as youth activists become adult activists or even just young adults and so on that they are passing on skills and strategy to those that are starting out so we are not starting afresh every time a new group starts on one of these campaigns.
>> I will respond to that, but I have also noticed what's happening is in terms of the intergenerational kind of issue, is that even within the space is a very patronizing language that occurs so we are referring to youth activists as kids, not taking into account that a lot of these youth activities are between the age group of 16 to 25 sometimes hitting 30 depending on developing nations and it sets the political agenda of those persons addressing those issues. So I think we need to start looking at the politics as well of how we think of these spaces.
>> Yes, to follow up on the point that you had raised earlier as far as accessing information, I do think that it's important to recognize that activists that are working worldwide no matter what their age, no matter what their technical skill levels is to basically to make sure that the gap between the technical community and the activist community is bridged to insure that information on how to bypass government imposed filters as well as other technical barriers as well as non technical barriers to free expression and accessing information on line are addressed and are shared within those communities.
>> So regarding all of this discussion, yes, I think youth activism is still activism. So we just trying to see how are the dynamics within the youth, and how they are involved. We don't need to alter them or something like that, but just it's my understanding that we try to see how young people are involved, and then maybe to think how the old people don't like to say that old people because maybe you can say elders how they should listen to the youth and integrate these ideas that are advocated by young people. Okay. Question?
>> This whole discussion about distinguishing between adults and young people as activists, I can see the point of having to look at youth as stakeholders in the whole debate about internet governance, but I think one thing that you can use from them which I think is really important to answer there, is some kind of difference. It's the whole approach to the internet and understanding of the internet which changes at a certain time where if you look at the internet, again, as I said in my presentation, as a space, ultimately think of internet governance in a different way. The main solution would be to close so on so forth and this is a positive way of distinguishing between youth activism and the older people as I might think I am one of.
>> I like the idea that youth represent maybe stakeholder, that it's a stakeholder, but I think within the youth correlation on the internet governance, we discuss a little bit about that and I have something back from old people, and then they think that young people, youth cannot represent stakeholders. So we have both two different views of about that, and but we shouldn't forgot that young people should be present in all stakeholders. And one of the problems for the youth coalition, when myself, I try to outreach people, it was a little bit hard to find young people from business sector, and government. So maybe it's, it's the problem that we have in business sector, and especially in government more old people, and then it's normal that we have they think more in terms of regulation, and maybe I think they see the internet in terms of fears when the youth sees internet in terms of opportunities. Question?
>> Well, Eddan Katz is the representative of Electronic Frontier Foundation, and I'm guessing that he is quite a bit older than me. So I would like to ask him if he feels representing the Electronic Frontier Foundation that as an old person, the internet does not present opportunities?
>> EDDAN KATZ: I'm a bit miffed by the question because I don't think of myself as an old person. I lost my hair in my 20s. I'm 35 if you are curious, and EFF's members which include over 15 thousand people, and I encourage you to become members, EFF.org , connecting people across boundaries is something that what is significant, and I think youth, there is some sort of suggestion that youth should be equivalent to adults, et cetera. On line, actually there is an old cartoon that says on the internet no one knows you are a dog. It was an early cartoon before people realized that your every move is being tracked.
On the internet no one knows you are a youth or that you are an adult, and perhaps it's whether you are a youth at heart or not. So I'm going to count myself, I'm going to couldn't on the question and say I'm a youth at heart and describe that in particular in connection with what I was saying before, in that that openness. I think that young people are more open, and I think, you know, too many people who are mature in age, let's say, start with experience closing off opportunities, closing off openness to other ideas and to other people. I think young people, you know, regardless of their age, let's say, have that openness, and have that interest in connecting with other people and being passionate about ideas, and not yet set in the type of cynicism that comes with repeated disappointments in life.
And I think that in that, I reply then that as a representative of EFF. The people who work there are generally, you know, young and definitely young at heart, try to represent that idea in the legal context, in court cases, in the policy context, and if there is an advantage to experience in particular cases or particular laws or particular encounters with different individuals, that accumulated knowledge if that openness is maintained is hopefully what EFF tries to stand for in terms of the free and open internet. So I would say that what we do on the international team of EFF and I know a lot of people in this room is to try to relay the experience of things that I have learned from other people, including you, Amelia. And related to others who are also trying to experience and do the same thing, and so I think the free and open internet, if it could be in a phrase, is what the youth should be representing. It's that stakeholder. It's the internet culture.
And, you know, since you don't have to disclose your age in different contexts, I will, you know, say that I'm still a youth activist then.
>> Rafik, if we don't have any more questions, we can move onto the video. It's ready.
>> JILLIAN YORK: Hi
>> Thank you. Hi, everyone, I was just listening to what you said earlier and I was just wondering so I have an idea in my head which is connecting to the one sentence you said, like, no one on the internet knows that you are a dog. Basically, you can take on every identity you want, and I was wondering whether that has meaning for young people, for example, that they simply should sort of deny their true identity or deny the fact that they are young people in order to be active and to be taken for serious by, let's say, people who are a bit more into that fear of activism and everything. Thank you.
>> EDDAN KATZ: Not at all. People, if they are exploring their identities and are using the fact that they don't need to disclose their issue that's fine, but I meant to say by that that less that the individual doesn't need to know how old they are, in order to act, but that the person receiving the message doesn't need to know how old you are. I think I would say rather that you should take people should take their ideas and beliefs very seriously, and youth in particular, and I'm hoping that in some of the other things I was suggesting that openness should last and that the supposed wisdom of cynicism and closing off opportunities is not, rather, but it's a reverse process of optimism and opportunity when you close things off. So I think that I was trying to emphasize that young, young people, young ideas should be taken seriously and that individuals when they act because they don't have to disclose how old they are, they don't need to be concerned as to whether or not the person on the other side knows how old they are. So they can speak seriously, take themselves seriously, and not have to worry about their voice not being taken seriously because of their age. So if that clarifies it, my point was the opposite, not to deny your identity, but to take seriously your identity and just remove the fact that the superficial aspects of age as being relevant to the seriousness of the ideas.
>> Hi, I have a question, so since you say the (Off Microphone) as the identity of youth person, right, so you don't necessarily know they are youth being represented in the internet field. How do you insure that their voice is being taken just like everyone else because they don't have a specific identity tag as youth rather than they are just like anyone on the internet. How do you take that, you know, just maybe another voice or rather you are putting them as a youth voice and taking it seriously, and, you know, understanding what they say and taking that into consideration?
>> EDDAN KATZ: I think that one way is in terms of numbers. The numbers of people that can be leveraged for something, that could be to elect a political party into office, and there will be people who will do statistics on who voted and they will tell the media who the young people voted for as they did in Sweden. And people took note that these are young ideas. Another is to articulate the ideas in a way that emphasize the values of openness and optimism and opportunity and future life that isn't yet settled which I think is what characterizes youth activism more so than age. So I think there is lots of ways, I think, both members and the passion of ideas, if I were to summarize it in two points, are ways to make sure that youth activism as representing voice of youth is heard, and neither can be ignored. Numbers in terms of voting, and strong ideas in that, you know, they can be dispelled for a short time, but if they are good ideas they will last.
>> Hi. I'm from Italy, which is a very peculiar country, and I had a comment and a question. The comment is that on the matter of being taken seriously, actually, I agree, all over Europe it's happening that young people are setting up new political parties. And, of course, that can be a solution only where you are allowed to set up political parties. But if it can be done by Italy where the media is owned by the government and censored, it can be done anywhere. We set up this new political party called fire start movement which in three years only through the internet without any kind of media presence reached 4% of the votes in the biggest regions of Italy and the same thing happened in Sweden and throughout northern Europe. So, yes, I understand that, I mean, someone said politicians are not going to take you seriously just because you flood them with emails or so, but that's also an advantage because they will not take you seriously up to the point when you show up at the polls with 3, 4, 5% of the votes and they just are caught by surprise.
The question I have for the panelists, one of the problems we see is that where there are many young people that are active, there are also many more young people that are not active. Especially in Italy, the experience is that young people nowadays they don't have any chance to get a decent job or whatever. They are interesting in partying or getting drunk or just watching television and stupid shows. They are not interested in politics. It's very hard to get young people committed to politics. It was easier to mobilize people who were 30, 35 rather than people who are 20 or 25. So maybe one of the outlets for youth activism could be mobilizing and informing their own people of the same page. Could there be maybe one good activity for youth activists?
>> Thank you.
>> Hi, I'm from Thailand. I will agree with Eddan about, I mean, it's at least necessary to make a two different things, young people and young ideas. When you less focus on the people, you can be more focused on the ideas we have don't take it personally, so if you have focus less on the people, the idea can show itself more clearly. So if you says things like, hey, that guy is a freshman but if you say, hey, that's the fresh ideas, you validate it. So I think we have to take it seriously, actually two different things. Thanks.
>> So any panelists want to answer the question?
>> Yes, I would just like to follow up on what Arteed mentioned. With any particular issue, mobilizing forces to support a particular issue, there is unfortunately, it's difficult to get universal support for particular issue, so whether it's a young person, whether it's an older person, there won't necessarily be 100% of, you know, voters within a particular country supporting an issue. So I think, you know, as far as engaging youth, I think it's treating it, you know, very similarly to how you would treat, you know, any voting class. I mean, it's issues such as education about issues, you know, finding spaces to reach out to people and, you know, whether it's, you know, newer mediums like the internet or whether it's, you know, older forms that were used such as, you know, basically taking information to the streets, broadcasting on television or others, I think they she be treated the same.
>> We can play the video now, if you want.
>> JILLIAN YORK: Hi, my name is Jillian York, and although I can't be with you here today.
>> We have a problem with the video. We can send the link to everyone and they can view it later on. That would be the most convenient solution later on so ask Rafik to maybe send you the link or maybe somebody can Tweet it.
I'm not connected.
>> RAFIK DAMMAK: I can tweet it, but I'm not sure everybody here Tweet so maybe we can circulate the document and everybody put their names in their mail address.
>> Right, because I'm not on social networking because I'm moderating the room at the moment. I'm trying to get them to participate as well, so if you can just share it. Okay. Thanks.
>> RAFIK DAMMAK: Another question from another participant?
>> Not at the moment.
>> RAFIK DAMMAK: Okay.
>> I have a computer whiz kid sitting on my right. Maybe he can help out with the technical problems.
>> He is welcome to do that.
>> I don't know if he can, but he is a computer whiz kid.
>> We can try. The computer is there. So in the meantime, we can have some question for other participant.
>> We didn't get answer to any parties to the question, I think. Amelia, maybe you can
>> AMELIA ANDERSDOTTER: Well, it's so difficult for me, because almost any young person I meet is involved in something. Whether it's my movement but I come from Sweden so up until two years ago Swedish young people and organizations driven by young people and before young people in Sweden had power, we have been demoted to having influence by the Swedish government and that's obviously a regression, but in general most of the people I come in contact with whether or not it was at university or Swedish youth forum, they are all young. I never experienced anyone having problems mobilizing them. And same thing with old people.
>> Hello, my name is Jillian from the United States and I'm part of an organisation which is an organisation representing all students past a bachelors degree in the United States. In response to this question, I currently work for the coalition which is an organisation and non profit lobbying for open access to research policies. And open access to research is not as an appealing thing as some other issues might be in youth activism, but I think what someone already said the most important thing to get people involved is education. A lot of times they don't realize that the problem is there or how severe it is. So, for example, at M.I.T., one of the things that students did with librarians they went around and put the price tags of the journals on the journals so when students went into the library and saw that a journal cost 25, 30 thousand dollars a year to subscribe to the mediate reaction was this is ridiculous, so that's how you get people involved. Something subtle, but that grabs people's attention and makes them want to do something about a problem.
>> I was wondering what are the most popular causes against young activities, how important is it for new young activities to so maybe someone can share an idea about what are the most popular causes which causes are being permeated now by young people because they have a new set of ideas and thinking.
>> Sorry, obviously open access would fall into this and I just wanted to put a plug, I am a part of an open web governing session in this room on Friday, 11:30, and I will be speaking about my coalition which is driven by over five million students internationally, so you guys can come 11:30, Friday, but open access to research is definitely one of them.
>> Thanks for the invitation. Okay. You have your answer or you want more? So you think that you want more answer to the question or?
>> Actually, I don't feel my question was answered. Because I want, like, any ideas that maybe some people here can share with young people that are working for what are the most popular causes and if any new cause are being
>> It's unanswerable, it's very useful to distinguish as youth activism as activism for youth rights and youth issues and activism on every other topic. It strikes me when we talk about youth activism. We talk about activism on particular issues on H.I.V./AIDS on open access rights, climate change and if you talk about action on climate change in activism, that spans all age groups and young people are actively participating in that perhaps through behind the screen where no one knows the age or actively as part of the communities and when we slice it across youth and we don't take account of those children's activism, young people's activism, young adults activism we end up getting ourselves into quite confused discussions so distinguishing activism for youth rights and youth issues particularly with young people within activism is a quite a useful distinction to draw.
>> RAFIK DAMMAK: Thanks. The video is still not ready. No? You want to say something, Amelia. Okay.
>> I was busy doing social media stuff, so I wasn't entirely on par with what was just being said, and I apologize for that, but it's difficult for me to summarize in 140 characters all of the things that people are saying. So I always have to think, and I'm not as good a multitasker as women are supposed to be.
>> RAFIK DAMMAK: Okay. We can have the video now, and later video. Okay.
>> JILLIAN YORK: Hi, my name is Jill Jan York and although I can't be with you there today for this panel I would like to talk to you for a few minutes from where I am in Boston, the U.S. I would like to talk for a few minutes about youth and digital activism around the world, particularly in the northeast and Africa which is the region I focus on.
I have been following this for a few years and I have noticed that there are a few different camps of thought as far as digital activism goes. There is the group of people who believe that it is incredibly effective, that digital activism can change the world, and then there is a group of people who believe that digital activism has had very little effect over the past few years. If anything, it's maybe brought media attention to certain causes.
I personally fall somewhere in the middle. Let me give you a few examples. Looking at the summer of 2009, and the green movement in Iran, we can see that the media paid very close attention to what they referred to as the Twitter revolution. Now, I'm a bit of a skeptic about the Twitter revolution, however, what I can say is that there were people indeed on the ground in Iran who were sending images and videos and messages to people in other parts of the world who then Tweeted and shared that information on line. So it is not fair to say that it was an entirely ineffective movement. In fact. It brought great mobile media attention to the cause of the green movement in Iran.
Let me look at an example a little bit closer to my own experience. I lived in Morocco for a few years and Morocco has been the site of some incredible digital activism over the past five or so years. A few years ago a person who chose to remain anonymous but went by the name of the sniper set up camp in a remote part of southern Morocco with a video camera. He sat on the side of the road and recorded policemen asking for bribes from passersby. The sniper then uploaded these videos to You Tube and publicized them to the world bringing attention to corruption in Morocco. This to me is an excellent example of how citizen media can change the world. It's only a small example in a small region in a country that's not given all that much attention in the mainstream media, but at the same time, it brought incredible attention both within and outside of Morocco to the situation of corruption in that country. If may not have changed things quickly but we can see that over time more people have paid attention to this cause, have written about it, blogged about it and got attention for it in the mainstream media.
More recently, I bring to your attention a couple of different cases of blogger whose have been arrested and jailed. There is the instance of currently of a Bahraini blogger and activist who found the web site behind on line.org . About a week ago he was arrested allegedly for publishing false news on his web site.
In the past week a group of us, myself included, have gotten together to put together a blog and a Facebook group to draw attention to Ali's plight. Within four days of assembling this Facebook group, we had nearly a thousand members. We have gotten incredible numbers of hits on the blog and have managed to bring media attention to the cause. Now, Ali is still in prison at the moment, but at the same time, I feel that what we have done has brought plenty of international attention to the situation that would not be possible without the internet.
There are other cases of bloggers arrested over the past few years that similar campaigns have affected. If you look back again to Morocco, the cases of Mohammed Araji and a few others were influenced heavily by campaigns on blogs and on Twitter and Facebook. So, again, I don't personally believe that, you know, digital activism is going to change the world immediately, but as someone who has been studying this for the past few years and is definitely a practitioner of digital activism, I feel there are amazing things we can accomplish. A second point I would like to bring to your attention is an issue that I have been following for the past few months and which I have spoke about in other events in Chile in May. I have been looking at the situations of certainly activists on social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook, flicker, blog her, and others. What I have found –
Policy, governance and participation: Harnessing all aspects of the net for youth activism