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At MIT's 2014 Build Peace Conference, USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) interviewed Ethan Zuckerman who is the Director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT's Media Lab and Yatanar Htun from Myanmar who works for a local NGO called MIDO (Myanmar ICT for Development Organization) that focuses on ICT for development issues like internet freedom, internet policy, advocacy and digital divide between urban and rural areas.
In the video, Ethan and Yatanar discuss how MIDO is using "Panzagar" to combat online hate speech in Myanmar.
My name is Ethan Zuckerman. I direct the Center for Civic Media here at MIT’s Media Lab.
We focus on ICT for development issues like internet freedom, internet policy, advocacy and digital divide between urban and rural areas.
I’m very interested in what’s going on with issues of online speech in Myanmar.
I’ve been thinking about this question of hate speech in Myanmar. I started seeing my Burmese friends start posting very interested images on Twitter. And in these images they were holding flowers in their mouth.
I was in Yangon about three weeks ago. And I was really fascinated that almost everybody I spoke to was interested in this question of dangerous speech on the internet in Myanmar.
There is hate speech operating online especially on Facebook and it is getting worse.
I was a little worried that in a country that has a very long tradition of aggressive government press censorship that hate speech would become an excuse for bringing back government censorship of digital media.
We are now doing a campaign in Myanmar that is an anti-dangerous speech campaign.
Trying to combat incendiary speech online is always a judgment call. It is always subtle and complicated.
This is an awareness raising campaign. We just want people to get aware of saying hate speech is a bad thing.
It is really encouraging to see a citizen movement led by MIDO to get people to think about what they are speaking online.
Religion, race and LGBT, so it is a nation-wide campaign that will go both online and also offline.
It is incredibly encouraging to see groups like MIDO really going after this not in terms of law or regulation but in terms of community behaviors and norms. I really think that is the right way to go after these problems.
We are holding posters and holding flowers in our mouths and shouting not to spread hatred, be responsible on what you say.
I think the imagery around the campaign is great. And to affirm this gesture that we want a Myanmar that is open, tolerant, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and that the notion of Panzagar of flower speech is a way to think about moving towards that direction.
Photos came up on Facebook not only from Yangon but also from other cities and towns.
I think it is great that the initiative is getting widely seen. It showed up on my Facebook feed before I heard about it through the press so I thought that was very interesting to see it play through.
I learned a lot at this conference. I got networks and many people that can help us.
I just want to say that technology can make a big change so use technology.
USAID's Office of Transition Initiative (OTI) talks to Mahamadou Diakite, who works on the Mali Transition Initiative for OTI's implementing partner AECOM. Mahamadou. who was selected as a fellow for the 2014 Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), discusses Mali and his hope to be the change he wants to see.
0:20 Mali Transition Initiative program that is financed by USAID.
0:28 The country in 2012 fell into a big crisis of the mix of rebellion, military coup, jihadist
0:37 invasion, which created a lot of division within the local population.
0:43 Before the coup, Mali was seen as the example of West Africa. We were seen as a young democracy
0:49 when everything was going perfectly. The new challenge is how to bring the country to the
0:55 previous state it was before. As a young person my hope is to first fulfill
1:03 my responsibility not to only be that person who complains about things and not do anything
1:09 about it. I first give myself that challenge. Instead of complaining about what other people
1:16 do, first have that reflection on yourself. Am I making the changes, the right changes
1:24 sometime they say, you are the changes you want to see in life. That is my first hope.
1:31 The second is I hope to bring the right changes that Mali needs. How are we making people's
1:40 lives better?
USAID's Office of Transition Initiative (OTI) attended the "Build Peace through Technology" conference hosted at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab on April 5 and 6, 2014. Build Peace brings together practitioners, activities and technologists from around the world to share experience and ideas on using technology for peacebuilding and conflict transformation. Eight participants from OTI's field programs, representing grantees, implementing partners and OTI field staff from Burma, Yemen, Syria, Mali, Tunisia, and Honduras, participated in the conference. The participants were featured throughout the event on panels, through "Ignite Talks", and on a Tech Fair.
In this video, Yatanar Htun (MIDO) and Aichata Sako and Mahamadou Diakite (AECOM) talk about their experience at the conference and how they technology is helping to build peace in their country.
0:29 My name is Yatanar, I came from Myamar, Burma and I work for a local NGO called MIDO (Myamar
0:35 ICT for Development Organization) where we focus on ICT for development issues like internet
0:41 freedom, internet policy, advocacy and digital divide between urban and rural communities.
0:53 In Mali, the infrastructure for technology is very weak. It’s not in many place that
0:59 you have access to the internet. It’s not in many places that people can afford smart
1:05 phones. And the main objective is to build peace for
1:07 Malian reconciliation and social cohesion. MTI [Mali Transition Initiative] is a program
1:09 that is giving the opportunity to the Malians. The standard program focus more on the upper
1:18 level, they don’ get the chance to go deep down and see what isthe real problem, in the
1:23 real community. I learned a lot at this conference, and I
1:29 got a lot of networks. I got many people who can help us. I can learn how other people
1:36 are applying technology to build peace. I just want to say that technology can make
1:42 a big change, so use technology. Peace is very easy. You just need to try and
1:52 do it. The objective is how to make people’s lives
1:57 better. If you can achieve that in 20 years, that would be great.
The video provides an overview of USAID's Côte d'Ivoire Transition Initiative program known as CITI. USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) launched CITI in September 2011, four months after the end of post-election violence. OTI activities aim to boost government capacity and stimulate community engagement by working with the Ivoirian government and local groups to identify and respond to community-prioritized needs and encourage a peaceful transition. Dao Dauda who is a monitoring and evaluation specialist for OTI's implementing partner, AECOM, narrates the video.
To learn more about the work of OTI visit:
In this short video, Diego Bustamante talks about his experience working as a counterpart with USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI).
The Office of Transition Initiatives at USAID and local partner organizations participated in the Council of Europe's first annual 2012 World Forum for Democracy, held in Strasbourg, France. OTI's Vanessa Ortiz and Evan Papp spent three days with Rinat Tuhvatshin and Bektour Iskender of KLOOP Media in Kyrgyz Republic, and Keerthi Tennakoon of the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections in Sri Lanka.Throughout the Forum, OTI and its partners networked with over 1,000 global participants and shared their knowledge on working in transition environments.
Learn more about the event and OTI's beneficiary organizations:
The video captures Tamil, Sinhalese, and Muslims coming together to compete in traditional games to help with reconciliation.
Part 1 - The USAID Office of Transition Initiatives (USAID/OTI) began its program in Haiti in January 2010 as part of the post-earthquake response, supporting short- and medium-term activities aimed at stabilizing Haiti through support for community revitalization, improved governance, and economic strengthening.
Part 2 - The USAID Office of Transition Initiatives (USAID/OTI) began its program in Haiti in January 2010 as part of the post-earthquake response, supporting short- and medium-term activities aimed at stabilizing Haiti through support for community revitalization, improved governance, and economic strengthening.
Last updated: July 28, 2014