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DVB Video Reveals Burma’s Nuke Ambitions June 10, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Journalism, News, Social Media, Web Video.
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An investigative documentary produced by Norwegian-based news group, The Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) offers groundbreaking information that shows Burma’s authorities have started a program to build nuclear weapons. Now posted on the Web, the documentary for the first time provides proof Burma has been pursuing a nuclear program.

Burma’s Nuclear Ambitions from DVBTV English on Vimeo.

The film shows the nature of the junta’s intent through a combination of photographs taken from the military’s top secret files, expert analysis and witness accounts collected by DVB over five years. It reveals the junta is trying to develop long-range missiles and dig a series of military bunkers. Experts doubt Burma is near to achieving its nuclear goals, but caution the intent to acquire nuclear weapons should not be dismissed.

The investigation by DVB is centered around Sai Thein Win, a former defense engineer who worked in factories in Burma where he was tasked to make prototype components for missile and nuclear programs. Sai contacted DVB after learning of its investigation into Burma’s military programmes, and supplied documents and photographs of equipment built inside the factories.

Elections later this year are aimed at convincing the world that Burma is moving towards democracy, but in reality, fearing attack from the United States and an uprising by their own people, Burma is trying to become the next nuclear-armed North Korea.

Burma’s Nuclear Ambitions

Directed by Evan Williams, ‘Burma’s Nuclear Ambitions’ was broadcast on Al-Jazeera in June 2010. After the screening, Burmese authorities announced a reward of USD5000 for anyone who can name DVB journalists who work in Burma.

DVB’s network of video journalists in Burma filmed most of the material in the film ’Burma VJ’, which received an Oscar nomination for best documentary in 2010. They also produced film material for ’Orphans of Burma’s Cyclone’, directed by Williams. Two DVB video journalists received Rory Peck Awards in 2009 for the coverage.

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Burma: The Whole Web is Watching September 26, 2007

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Journalism, News, Web Video, YouTube.
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The Burmese uprising is defining citizen journalism in Asia as the military junta face the biggest challenge to their rule in two decades. The outcome is unclear in the battle of wills between Burma’s two most powerful institutions, the military and the monk-hood. But one of the world’s most repressive regimes of Internet control now confronts global ramifications of a violent crackdown at a time when the country’s communication links to the outside world are stronger than ever before.

Besides the coverage of “old media” like Reuters, Agence France-Presse and Associated Press – hundreds of Burmese bloggers are using the Web to evade censors, and tell the world what is happening under the junta’s veil of secrecy. An army of young tech-savvy witnesses work around the clock to circumvent the censors, posting pictures and videos on blogs with blow-by-blow accounts of events on the ground almost as soon as the protests happen.

Burmese-born blogger Ko Htike, based in London, has transformed his blog into a virtual news agency. Ko Htike publishes pictures, video and information sent to him by a network of underground contacts within Burma. He told BBC News that his contacts are among the Buddhist monks taking part in the current protests. As soon as they get any images or news they pop into Internet cafes and send them to him.

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Monks marching along flooded streets in Rangoon, September 21, 2007. Picture from Mizzima News

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Pictures taken by people inside Burma, emailed to BBC News.

Elsewhere on the Web, people inside Burma have been e-mailing global news Websites like BBC News and sending pictures showing the protests. Dissident blogs such as nicknayman has been banned, but a clone of this site has resurfaced.

A prolific blogger calling himself Moezack is now wanted by the junta for slipping through their security net and posting photographs of monks marching through Rangoon on the Web. His blog disappeared today after just one day of posting images of the monks’ protests.

Other sites like Irrawaddy, Zin Media and Mizzima News, a news group run by exiled dissidents in India, provide up-to-the-minute coverage. Activists are even using Facebook, the social networking site, to air news and mobilise support. A blog on Guardian Unlimited is serving as a reference point for Burmese bloggers. On Flickr, individuals say they are live-blogging the protest here, here and here.

The use of the Internet as a political tool is the key difference between the latest protests and the 1988 uprising, which was brutally repressed. Shooting peaceful demonstrators in the full-glare of YouTube is no longer something that even Burma’s allies can condone.

Bloggers are using proxy websites, Google and YouTube to post accounts and videos of street skirmishes captured by citizen witnesses. Reporters Without Borders says its handbook for cyber-dissidents provided to young Burmese was seized upon, copied and disseminated among a growing group of the young, politically active and computer-literate.

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Burmese bloggers are teaching others to use foreign-hosted proxy sites – such as your.freedom.net and glite.sayni.net – to view blocked sites and tip-toe virtually unseen through cyberspace, swapping tricks and links on their pages. Analysts say although Web access is currently at less than 1% of the population, the junta underestimated its potential.

The junta has cut off the mobile phones of prominent opposition activists and of some journalists with the foreign media. It even bars access to web-based email. But bloggers represent a parallel network that is proving difficult to close. They have managed to broadcast news even though almost every website that carries information about the country is blocked.

In 1968, demonstrators on the streets of Chicago chanted “The whole world is watching!” as TV cameras beamed images of police cracking heads into homes everywhere. Four decades later, the whole world and the Web are watching Burma, to see if the power of principled protest is greater than the power which would unleash the fist. The whole Web is watching.

23 FEB 2008
The Web played a significant role in keeping the Burmese government accountable for its actions, noted the Internet & Democracy group based at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School:

“When we compare cases where the Internet has played a significant role in democratic struggles (such as the Orange Revolution in Ukraine) and the case of Burma where the use of Internet for internal political mobilization is severely limited, we may be inclined to conclude that the Internet in Burma has largely been unsuccessful to bring about significant change towards democracy.

While this observation may largely be correct, this conclusion has the danger of overlooking one fundamental aspect of the fight towards democracy – one of holding governments accountable, no matter what kind of a government it is, democratic or autocratic…”

INTERNET & DEMOCRACY blogpost, “An Overlooked Dimension of Internet and Democracy?

Related:
One Free Korea
Internet Filtering in Burma 2005
Blogs on Burma
The brave citizen journalists of Burma
Witness resources and links on Burma human rights issues

Animal Rights TV on the Web September 25, 2007

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News, Social Media, Web Video.
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Animal rights advocacy group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has a powerful website where it posts videos of animal abuse and slaughter, some shot undercover. If a picture speaks a thousand words, this is it.

I urge you to visit and watch the clips on PETA’s Animal Rights Television site. Convince yourself to act if you still need persuading to change the way you consume animal-based products.

The grisly videos document cruelty to animals under the unflinching lens of the camera. This top video on the site is an undercover investigation of the brutality of fur farms in China, where animals are skinned while alive.

The Web is changing the nature of advocacy, empowering communities and marginalised groups to speak up and join vital conversations. But who will speak up for the animals?

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