Feminist reflection on internet policies

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Feminist Talk

Tweets for Women: Reflections on Challenging Misogyny Online

Nadine Moawad on behalf of the APC Women's Rights Programme
Nadine Moawad on behalf of the APC Women's Rights Programme on 8 August, 2013 - 19:07
5 comments | 8024 reads
Nadine is a feminist blogger and activist based in Beirut, Lebanon and a founder of Nasawiya and is now the APC's EROTICS II project coordinator.

Digital feminist activists have been following closely a campaign to demand clearer and more effective Twitter policies on sexually violent tweets. A number of activists have consistently brought this issue forward following alarming attacks and threats, most recently with Caroline Criado-Perez whose successful campaign to get a woman’s face on British bank notes brought about a wave of violent tweets including rape threats. This seems like rather drastic a reaction. All this hate for having Jane Austen’s face on a ten pound note? Perhaps the issue is less about the topic at hand and more about the misogyny that we allow to prosper in online spheres and offline spheres alike.

Facebook, are you leaning in?

Ayesha Asghar
Ayesha Asghar on 7 August, 2013 - 16:10
0 comments | 763 reads
Ayesha is a community activist who blogs on sexual violence and racism.

I was at BlogiHer'13 this year, for those who don't know, BlogHer is one of the largest gathering of women bloggers in North America. Apart from being one of panelists for International Activists, I had the opportunity to meet a lot of keynote speakers in person, not limited to Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. The reason I decided to talk about Sheryl as she claims to be a "feminist" in addition to being a businesswoman. In her keynote at BlogHer'13, she said that she believed that it was indeed possible and that after writing her book, Lean IN, she has indeed changed the discourse of conversation of sexism.

Rape Threats: It’s A Free Speech Issue

Jem Bloomfield
Jem Bloomfield on 31 July, 2013 - 14:03
0 comments | 492 reads
Jem Bloomfield is an academic, playwright and critic. On a good day. Other days he’s just a guy with a corduroy jacket and a pile of books on the floor. His past research includes a doctorate on the production history of Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi and his past plays include Bewick Gaudy, which won the Cameron Mackintosh Award for New Writing. (The flyers for that play make terrific coasters. Really, they do.) He also writes for California Literary Review, Strand Magazine and Mystery Scene. A couple of years ago he reached that defining epoch of his life where he can reply “Excuse me, young man, but it’s Dr. Jackass, if you don’t mind.”

Recently the media has been full of stories about women in the public eye being subjected to sexist abuse online. I’ve written in the past about the way women are singled out for vitriol which men simply do not have to face, and the tendency for the attacks to focus on their bodies rather than their ideas. Just this week, Caroline Criado-Perez has spoken out about the way she was the target of a spate of hateful messages in the aftermath of her campaign to convince the Bank of England to keep a woman amongst the national luminaries pictured on banknotes. Over the last year the academic Mary Beard, the critic Anita Sarkeezian and the journalist Helen Lewis have all faced appalling victimization simply for having opinions whilst being a woman. And these are simply the most famous cases, which I happen to know about because the mainstream media has picked up on them. (This blog post was originally written and published in Jem Bloomfield’s blog called quiteirregular on July 30th).

Tweetup on #OrangeDay and say NO to violence against women & girls in cyberspace

Say NO - UNiTE
Say NO - UNiTE on 26 July, 2013 - 17:03
0 comments | 357 reads

Violence against womeni & girls is perpetrated in various ways online. At the same time, technology can offer critical tools to access services and to fight against VAW & girls. For #OrangeDay on 25 July, @SayNO_UNiTE hosted two tweetups on the topic with @takebackthetech, @circleof6app & @schemaly.

Controlling Indonesia’s internet

Dewi Nova Wahyuni (translation by Sebastian Partogi)
Dewi Nova Wahyuni (translation by Sebastian Partogi) on 26 July, 2013 - 14:25
0 comments | 745 reads
Dewi Nova Wahyuni is the author of Perempuan Kopi (Coffee Woman).

The utilization of interneti is linked closely with every aspect of citizen’s lives and their basic rights. The statei should manage the internet – just like what it is supposed to do for water and earth - for its citizens’ diverse necessities. The state should not control the internet to cater to the interests of a few capital owners, dominant political forces or beliefs/ideology. A question arises: who has the right to control internet accessi? Under what framework should we control the internet?

July 25th is #orangeday: Call to Action! Global Tweet-a-thon

NM for GenderIT.org
NM for GenderIT.org on 24 July, 2013 - 16:44
0 comments | 682 reads

Take Back the Tech, along with UN Women and other partners, are organizing this month's #OrangeDay, which takes place every month on the 25th to raise global awareness about GBV and the interneti. We're joining this day to highlight technology for women's rightsi, safety and security online, as well as some great articles on sexual rightsi activism and internet regulationi. Join us, share your work, and take part in the #orangeday twitter conversation!

Of Porn, Morality and Censorship: A Perspective from India

Richa Kaul Padte
Richa Kaul Padte on 10 July, 2013 - 16:51
0 comments | 4119 reads
Richa Kaul Padte is a writer and activist engaging with issues including gender, sexuality, disability, Internet rights, literature and popular culture. She lives in Bombay, dreams of London, and writes for The Sunday Guardian. Read her work on www.richakaulpadte.com or follow her @hirishitalkies.

Filed in April 2013, a legal petition that calls for a ban on pornographyi on account of its linkage to sexual violence in India has raised several eyebrows and debates within the country. This piece written by Richa Kaul Padte explores the context for this proposed legislation, the social and legal cultures in which it sits, and its implications for interneti censorshipi within India.

Women’s rights and threats to online freedom: reflections from the Freedom Online Conference 17 to 18 June 2013

Françoise Mukuku
Françoise Mukuku on 8 July, 2013 - 13:37
0 comments | 837 reads
Françoise is a member of Si Jeunesse Savait, an organisation based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and integrates APC's "End violence" project as a country partner.

From 17 to 18 June 2013 I took part in the conference on online freedom known as Freedom Online. This conference, carrying the same name of the coalition behind it, highlighted the continent in which it was hosted. In the midst of the international storm about surveillancei and censorshipi, our specific focus was online freedom in Africa and the Arab world as Tunisia, like all of the Maghreb, has one foot in both worlds.

Transparency and accountability: Finding points of agreement following the #fbrape campaign

Shawna Finnegan
Shawna Finnegan on 13 June, 2013 - 14:06
0 comments | 1651 reads

Last month a coalition of women's organisations led a campaign to hold Facebook accountable for its content policyi. In particular, how it deals with hateful speech and representations of gender-based violence shared by its users. In response, freedom of expressioni advocates have expressed concern and criticism over the precedent set by demands for Facebook to remove hateful content from its site. This has spurred debate over gender-based hate speech, the interdependence of human rightsi, and the impact of sexist online culture. Debate over how to balance freedom of expression with the right to protection from incitement to discrimination is constantly being reframed in the context of new technologies and political realities. Despite this ongoing debate, there is clear space for agreement on the need for transparency and accountability in how Facebook and other interneti intermediaries deal with abusive content, and takedown requests. This point has been made by advocates from a variety of backgrounds, including the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression.

#fbrape is about gender-based hate speech, not about censorship

Chat Garcia Ramilo
Chat Garcia Ramilo on 13 June, 2013 - 14:05
0 comments | 2251 reads
Chat is the former APC's Women's Rights Programme manager.

On May 21 more than a hundred organisations lead by Women, Action & the Media”:http://womenactionmedia.org/, the journalist Soraya Chemaly, and “The Everyday Sexism Project started a campaign to “Take action to end gender-based violence on Facebook”:http://www.womenactionmedia.org/facebookaction/. Within a week, Facebook accepted weaknesses and lapses in implementing their policies and their own community standards and committed to take steps to improve their content policy in identifying and removal of gender-based violent content on their platform. But not all advocates of freedom on expression online celebrated with us, arguing that Facebook should not be in the business of censoring content even if it is hate speech. This is not a new debate. It is a debate that feminists, who care deeply about freedom of expression, have faced around issues of misogyny and gender-based violent content. What is new is how these arguments play out online. What is crystal clear to those of us who are backing this campaign is that this is not a call to counter the right of users to free expression. The network of women’s organisations behind this action understand that internet freedoms are critical to asserting women’s rights and are staunch advocates of freedom of expression online and offline.

How women around the world are taking part in combating gender-based hate speech on Facebook

Nighat Dad
Nighat Dad on 13 June, 2013 - 13:58
0 comments | 1470 reads

Sexist, gender-based violent speech is a norm today. Sign in, check your home page and somewhere on that or over the timeline you’ll be linked to a page or a photo which only serves to demean the existence of woman. What’s worse is finding some of your friends making jokes about it. But should that be a norm too? Finding your friends making rape and other gender-based jokes? No, it’s NOT funny! Stand up and shout out, haven’t we taken enough already?

The false paradox: freedom of expression and sexist hate speech

Margarita Salas
Margarita Salas on 10 June, 2013 - 14:12
1 comments | 4668 reads
Margarita is a feminist activist and researcher from Latin America. She is currently doing research consultancy of internet intermediaries corporate policies for APC's End Violence project.

The campaign “Take action to end gender-based violence on Facebook” has re-opened up debate among internet rights iadvocates about the right to freedom of expressioni and responsibilities of interneti intermediaries in regarding the content that circulates through their services. Margarita Salas, who is currently doing research consultancy of internet intermediaries corporate policies for APC's End Violence project, is looking in her blogi at gender-based hate speech in the context of various international instruments and present couple of examples how to deal with cyber hate.

How funny is this, Facebook?

“Take action to end gender-based violence on Facebook” is this campaign’s call that asks companies whose publicity appears on explicitly violent Facebook pages and profiles to help pressure the social networkingi platform to re-examine its response to violence against womeni and girls.

Rediff and Rape Threats: What Rediff Could Have Done to Support Kavita Krishnan

Anja Kovacs for Internetdemocracy.in
Anja Kovacs for Internetdemocracy.in on 23 May, 2013 - 14:38
0 comments | 940 reads
Anja Kovacs works on internet freedom issues at the Internet Democracy Project in India. Through research, advocacy and debate, the Project seeks to unearth the role of technology in restructuring democracy

On 24 April, Kavita Krishnan, a leading figure in the anti-rape protests that have been rocking India since December 2012, was the target of online abuse on a public online chat on Rediff - an Indian leading media company and interneti services provider. Ironically, the chat was addressing the topic of rising incidence of rape, and Kavita was invited specifically by Rediff to respond questions from their online audience on that issue. In this piece, Anja Kovacs investigates what Rediff could have done to ensure Krishnan’s safety.

Just a few words...

Jan Moolman
Jan Moolman on 9 April, 2013 - 18:12
0 comments | 1156 reads
Jan Moolman is based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and works for the APC's Women's Rights Programme as a senior project coordinator.

In the weeks leading up to the Commission on the Status of Women (4-15 March) violence against women I watched and read and listened and wept over the brutal gang rape and murder of Anene Booysens. As I remembered a similar gang rape and murder of another young woman – Valencia Farmer- 14 years ago, and read each day of more rape and sexual assault all around the country, I thought my heart would crack open and spill out all the fear, and powerlessness and horror and sadness. It didn’t crack open, but the hot tears that ran down my cheeks every night brought some relief.

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