Case Studies/Global Voices Online
Global Voices Online is an award-winning non-profit project founded in 2004 by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard Law School. The project’s goal has been to redress the inequities in media attention by leveraging the power of ‘citizens’ media’. This is achieved by aggregating online materials, such as wikis, weblogs, podcasts, tags, and online chats, thereby drawing attention to the conversations – the ‘global voices’ – which have hitherto gone unheard. The project works to develop tools, to establish institutions, and to foster relationships in parts of the world where opinion is rarely sought.
- ‘We believe in the power of direct connection. The bond between individuals from different worlds is personal, political and powerful. We believe conversation across boundaries is essential to a future that is free, fair, prosperous and sustainable - for all citizens of this planet.’ - Global Voices Online Draft Manifesto
Launched by Berkman Fellows Rebecca MacKinnon and Ethan Zuckerman, the Global Voices project draws on an international team of bloggers who monitor online conversations pertaining to, and occurring in their regions. Operationally, the organization works through six regional editors: from the Middle East and North Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa; South Asia; East Asia; the Americas; and Eastern Europe, Russia, Caucasus and Central Asia. Feeds are summarized and distilled on a daily basis, and key bloggers are interviewed to provide diverse and geographically dispersed perspectives. Materials are translated into seventeen languages, and will soon be available in thirteen more, including Farsi, Magyar, Hindi, and Catalan.
Seeking representative samples of Internet reportage, Global Voices approaches prominent regional members in the blogosphere as emerging leaders in their local communities to contribute to the site. In the words of founder Ethan Zuckerman, this is ‘someone who is already a good blogger, already has a readership, already has an understanding of the communities they’re dealing with.’ Global Voices encourages direct contact with the contributors to the site, particularly from news organisations interested in the stories provided.
- ‘This is a small planet in need of some big ideas. The more people there are in the conversation, the more likely we are to find them.’ http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/001769.html
Global Voices was winner of the 2006 Knight-Batten Grand Prize for Innovations in Journalism, and the 2005 Deutsche Welle award for Best Journalistic Blog in English.
The Global Voices site is published under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. The site’s attribution policy outlines that whilst the site both authorizes and encourages people to re-use its content, it is also important that contributors to the site receive appropriate credit. The Creative Commons license used therefore requires that authorship of all content must be attributed in the manner specified; namely, that Global Voices and the author is clearly attributed as the original source with a link from the text back to the original post on Global Voices. In addition, they request that you include the Global Voices logo in the attribution, ie:
- ‘We believe that sharing our content with both non-commercial and commercial publications is the best way to make the voices of bloggers around the world heard by as many people as possible.’ - Global Voices Online Attribution Policy
Global Voices sees the CC BY license as a powerful tool to enhance communication between people and cultures around the world. From their manifesto:
- "Thanks to new tools, speech need no longer be controlled by those who own the means of publishing and distribution, or by governments that would restrict thought and communication. Now, anyone can wield the power of the press. Everyone can tell their stories to the world."
The Creative Commons "approach is consistent with [their] main goal of amplifying the voices of bloggers around the world."
Contributors to Global Voices seek to ‘respect, assist, teach, learn from, and listen to one another.’ Whilst they ‘continue to work and speak as individuals,’ they also seek to ‘identify and promote [their] shared interests and goals,’ thus supporting the ideals of civil society.