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Digital Sketches

digital citizen media, ict with a focus on Central Asia and the Middle East.

Category Archives: citizen media

Last week I attended the Barcamp in Almaty.  Again it was a lively and informal gathering of enthusiastic digital natives from all over Central Asia.  On this videoclip (6.30 min.) some of them share the digital tools they use most and probable also love most.

Je kunt uitgaan van de vraag: hoe kunnen professionele media overleven in deze digitale tijden? Hoe moeten media – en kranten in het bijzonder – hun productiekosten en inkomstenstroom opnieuw vormgeven? Hoe kunnen bloggers en andere on line media inkomen genereren? Hoe een mediabedrijf te starten en financieren, gebaseerd op bijdragen van het publiek?

Van deze bekende vragen zijn zeker de eerste twee niet bijster nieuw zoals is te zien op de Amerikaanse nieuwsuitzending uit 1981 over de San Francisco Chronicle en Examiner en hun inspanningen hun krant online te zetten. Deze herkauwde vragen hebben vooralsnog weinig concrete antwoorden of bevredigende oplossingen opgeleverd. Deels omdat het de verkeerde vragen zijn, stellen Persephone Miel en Robert Faris van het Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

Lees verder op Netkwesties

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My first two days in Athens felt surreal. Here we are, staying in a posh hotel, attending a congress on media (Global Forum for Media Development) with 450 media people. Meanwhile a few blocks away thousands of Greeks were demonstrating and fighting with the police.


Few people wanted to involve, one of them was Sameer, hub manager at He went out to have a look at the riots in the old city and shoot some video. Afterwards he showed me the material and his Flip camera; magnificent in its simplicity, quality and price.

kerstboom2I went for a walk to the centre on my third day in Athens (Wednesday 10 Dec). First I went to the Parliament building.  At 12.30 hr. the demonstration was forced to spread. For this the police mainly used tear gas.  Nasty stuff.  The demonstrators looked like average citizens (students but also older people, white collars ect). They could well  belong to the ‘Generation 700’; well educated people in their twenties and thirties with a monthly income of about 700 euro’s. That might be enough ten years ago but this is definitely not the case any more.

The scene I still remember clearly – without taking a picture – was the young boy crying on the pavement, leaning against a window.  Some people were helping him, to get the tear gas out of his face by blowing cigarette smoke in his eyes. The ten year old happened to be on the wrong place when the police starting firing the tear gas.

I continued walking to the Athens Polytech that was taken over by students and other youngsters. It is located about 500 metres from the Parliament.  The Polytech has a history regarding uprising. Wednesday the situation at the University looked grim; many black clothes and gas masks, some hollow looking junkies at the entrance  and big speakers blasting out loud punk rock music. The surrounding streets were a complete mess; everything that was inflammable – cars, trees and houses – was burned.alphabank


What always surprises me in this kind of situations;  the way ordinary life continues.  Also in Athens men continued doing their shopping, women kept selling cookies even when the police turned up behind their back, lots of people went for a walk in the old city centre during their lunch break. And of course, the taxi driver did not want to drive me back to the hotel (2 km) for less than 20 euro. No way buddy.



The Greek do not trust their government; corruption is said to be wide spread and the investments in the Greek society are insufficient; in health, in welfare and especially on education.  Of course, the concept of democracy is never finished and needs constant maintenance. Because times, yes they are changing. But it is ironic to see the country that invented democracy in such a troubled state.

Independent Greek paper Kathimerini; English edition

The Economist; Rioters without Frontiers

BBC on Greece; including peaceful protests

My favourites for the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) are this year:

Burma VJ; winner of the Joris Ivens Award and the ‘Movies That Matter’ Human Rights Award and also my number one.

Afghan Star; how about the tv programme Idols in Afghanistan? A film  about national roadshow in search of Afghanistan next big star.

When Carmen meets Borat; Carmen is 17 years old and lives in Glod; a small gypsy village somewhere in the Romanian mountains. She works daily in the shop and pub of her father. But Carmen dreams of a future somewhere else; somewhere she can find her ideal husband and lead a fantastic and rich life. She watches Spanish soap operas on TV and learns Spanish. When a man named Borat and his film crew appear; the villagers cooperate on what they believe will be a documentary.

Rough Aunties; “Fearless, feisty and resolute, the ‘Rough Aunties’ are a remarkable group of women unwavering in their stand to protect and care for the abused, neglected and forgotten children of Durban, South Africa.”

The Queen and I;  ‘Whereas during the Iranian Revolution in the late seventies the leftist documentary-maker Nahid Persson helped depose the shah the Iranian king. In reaction to these reprimands, Nahid decides to make a film about the last Iranian queen Farah, who lives abroad, like herself. This leads to a fascinating encounter of two women with clashing political visions, who develop an improbable friendship in the two years of their association’

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Technology knows no borders. Effects are not only more popular in the movie, but also our environment is a platform for effects. Soon we shall see the chair where we can sit at home moving together with the image.
A lot will change in the film industry.  The conference of the Stifo@Sandberg on Friday 31 October, shall give an overview of developments, new trends and ideas and will start a debate with speakers and the audience on these.

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