Friday, December 7, 2007

A Call to Arms

I'm a big fan of the Economist magazine.  Lately they've had some great stories about text messaging and camera phones that have been used as tools for social activism.   Inexpensive, pay as you go cell phones have become popular in developing countries.  After traditional methods of communication failed, African refugees were able to send requests for food and medical aid to UN humanitarian workers via text messaging.  Phones have been used to mobilize political rallies in the Philippines.  In Pakistan SMS technology was able to infiltrate government firewalls used to control free speech.  Witness, a Brooklyn based media for change organization, has set up a system that allows Rodney King type videos depicting social injustices to be uploaded from camera phones and broadcasted on their website.  This is a great example of technology becoming cheaper and, thus, the media becomes a more accessible tool to build awareness.
Here are the links to the full stories on the