Human rights defenders need secure tools to document and report human rights violations. USABLE, a project designed to connect high-risk users of digital security and communications tools with developers, works to make those tools more open, accessible, and customizable.
“Tools made with accessibility in mind are not necessarily made with security in mind, and vice versa, which is why building connections between users and developers is so vital.”
In Sri Lanka, the government has promised widespread media reforms. In this hopeful moment, however, sexual harassment and intimidation both online and offline remains one of the most powerful barriers to women's participation in media. Renowned Sri Lankan journalist Dilrukshi Handunnetti is trying to change that:
“If you are an equal opportunity employer, you should ensure that you are not only hiring, you are making the conditions so that women can stay on, work and progress.”
In Kenya, dedicated journalists like Dorothy Otieno are using data to give depth and integrity to mainstream reporting. Otieno heads up the team at Nation Newsplex which published analysis of data showing thousands of Kenyan children are still leaving school early, with long-term consequences – they earn less and suffer more ill health than their more qualified peers. She says:
In Moldova, journalists used drones to capture images of a secret luxury retreat for powerful Moldovan government leaders and posted them online. The footage caused a stir in a country where government officials regularly live lavishly off public coffers while one fifth of the nation’s 3.6 million people scrape by in poverty.
“We were able to send a message to politicians that they should be more transparent with the money they spend, because this money belongs to all of us.”
From an audio program delivered on the back of a quad bike to a community radio station serving the needs of displaced South Sudanese, Internews is providing programs that enable people in South Sudan to get the information they need and voice their concerns.
In a small village in South Sudan, there was little food and water. Desperate to find help, sixty-four women villagers walked 40 km to reach their community radio station and plead for help on the air. The authorities heard and responded with relief supplies.
In the Central African Republic, Muslim and Christian journalists are trying to bridge the country's sectarian divide through a community radio station in Bambari. “The radio hopes to be like a kind of bridge over the river that could help people to be reconciled,” said Mathias Manirakiza, the Central African Republic director for Internews, in an article from the Huffington Post.
In an article in Foreign Policy, Internews President & CEO Jeanne Bourgault writes that for refugees making their way to Europe, information is a matter of life and death. Through two-way communication, Internews is to beginning to return dignity to the affected population through information — free of rumor, lies or agenda — so people can find their own way forward.