With 05 days of delay (ooops), here is my report about the workshop “Crowd Sourcing Information during Crisis in Madagascar”!
Last Saturday, FOKO organized a very interesting (I know, the choice of the adjective is not really original …) event named “Crowd Sourcing Information during Crisis in Madagascar”. It took place at IVOTEL Ambohidahy (downtown of Antananarivo) and was scheduled to start from 01.00pm to 05.00pm Madagascar time (Lova does not joke with time schedule …). This event, which was initially planned as a sort of workshop, was all about the Malagasy bloggers, their blogs, the “tools” bloggers used during the crisis, … I have been kindly asked by Lova to share what I lived during the climax of the crisis (that is not yet finished).
r1lita, ariniaina, kool, tahiry, feno, dagomc and I (we’re all English speaking bloggers from ICE Club, yeah!)were at IVOTEL at 12.30pm (we damn starved that day …). I was a bit surprised to see on a poster “Barcamp Madagascar 02nd edition” I thought that Barcamp 2009 would be really something else and scheduled for a later day … Someone explained to me that it was because the workshop was organized according to the format of a Barcamp.
At 01.15pm, the workshop started. Mr. Alain Andriamiarivola, former journalist at “l’ Express de Madagascar” (a local French speaking daily newspaper) made the opening speech, welcoming people. After, the main coordinator of FOKO, Lova Rakotomalala took the floor. His speech was based on three main points (as shown in the below picture):
. strong and close cooperation between “traditional” and “new” media;
. a flow of information free of obstacles to the freedom of speech;
. involvment of each Malagasy citizen into the life of the nation through citizen media.
After Lova, it was the turn of the bloggers to share their experience during the crisis. Jentilisa, Avylavitra, Jaona (a blogger from Fianarantsoa), Patrick, Gaetan (a blogger from Antsirabe), Haffick, Saveoursmile and I, talked about what we have lived during the “hot” moments of the crisis. Most of us stressed on the point that there were several obstacles and dangers that bloggers have encountered when looking for news and facts.
It is really encouraging for the citizen development and the freedom of speech / press in Madagascar to see that there are nowadays many local and native bloggers who dare to go to the “battle field” to look for information at their own risks and charges. They don’t get a penny for what they do, they don’t look for fame or success, … they do it because they are convinced that this is the right thing to do. Hat down guys!
Bloggers are not journalists and they definitely do not intend to challenge them. It is more a matter of complementarity and cooperation. On Friday, just before the workshop, during the Friday Talk discussion between bloggers and journalists, I noticed that we can undertand each other very well. Journalists seemed to be really eager to learn more about bloggings and new media.
The cost of the internet connection and the connection itself, are among the main problems which make the life of Malagasy bloggers harder and harder. The government which will be able to resolve this problem in a very short period of time, will get my vote!
Like in any countries, in Madagascar there are also different types of blogs. Anyone is free about the content of its blog but I sincerely think that the “informative blogging” (this is how I call it) gets to be more promoted.
Malagasy bloggers do not ask for the moon … They just want to be able to do what they want to do within a context free of violence, fear and pressure.
Ironically, the political turmoil has helped several Malagasy bloggers in many ways (yes I bost). There were many of them who have stopped blogging for years, who, because of the crisis, have decide to wake up their blogs again.
After the bloggers, a journalist from “Lakroan’i Madagasikara”, Donnat, took the floor to provide few advices. He specified for the bloggers who would like to have a press card like journalists that this does not protect against bullets and kicks.
The workshop moved to its third part with Thierry Andriamirado. Thierry is a blogger who has made the very difficult decision to withdraw himself from blogs to prior social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Friendfeed. Actually he is more present on Friendfeed. As he said, that helps to share a lot of trustworthy information very quickly. Are we talking about JIT information?
After Thierry Andriamirado’s part, Lova Rakotomalala kindly invited Mr. Tsilavina Ralaindimby, former minister of communication and culture in Zafy Albert’s era, to give some few words. Tsilavina Ralaindimby (just another bald guy :-)) stated that we now live a sort of “war of information” on internet. He considered the bloggers as “cyber warriors” (yeah, and me I’m Konan, the barbarian …).
The fourth part of the workshop was led by Christie Turner and Affick (blogger from SAVA region). Christie Turner is the representative of radioactive project in Madagascar. It was amazing to listen to her speaking in Malagasy fluently like a real Malagasy woman from the north! (she has learnt Malagasy language thanks to the Malagasy Teaching program of the Peace Corps) Affick is the manager of Radio Ciel in Antalaha. They talked about the Radioactive project which aims to promote the use of web radio and community radio.
The radioactive supplies the local radios with new technology appliances. I was especially interested in it because I plan to create a little FM radio station which will 100% broadcast in English for ICE Club. Anyone can help?
“Current state of Online Censorship Worldwide” This was the topic of Claire Ulrich’s presentation. Claire draw a global picture of the current situation of bloggers worldwide. According to her, governments are now well aware of the importance of blogs and new media for communication and information. They do not hesitate to use new technology to fight against bloggers and cyber opponents. Claire did not talk about the Malagasy case but we had all the feeling that son and very soon, our turn will come … (if it doesn’t currently happen now)
See you on the third edition of Barcamp Madagascar!!!!!!