Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Youth Leaders Discuss the Digital Generation and Social Change #WPFD

I saw this interesting blogpost on WPFD's website and thought to share:

Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizada spent 17 months in jail for posting a YouTube video.
As the leaders of a popular youth movement in Azerbaijan, the two gained fame for posting a video online, which criticized the government for spending significant amounts of money importing donkeys from Germany.
Joining a discussion of youth media tactics Monday at the World Press Freedom Day Conference by Skype, the two argued that censorship in their Eastern European country happens mostly off-line.
“There's no actual censorship online in Azerbijian,” Hajizada said, “However, people who are active online are being persecuted in real life.”
They joined other youth journalism leaders, Shiv Bhaskar Dravid founder of The Viewspaper; Jennifer Ehidiamen, a Nigerian Journalist for Celebrating Progress Africa, and the Global Press Institute,; and Maria Sadovskaya, of European Radio for Belarus.
Panelists noted that young people make up a majority in countries such as Nigeria and India, while Facebook is the most popular website in Belarus. They argued this gives them unprecedented political influence in those countries.
“My role [as a journalist] is to create content that will inspire young people,” Ehidiamen said, adding that in the past, Nigerian youths were to be “seen and not heard,” but the access to social media has given them a voice that can influence government.
As a young person, Dravid said he experienced, “a huge disconnect between older generations and us,” leading him to start The Viewspaper, which describes itself as “the voice of the youth.”
Sadovskaya said it is exactly this demographic that European Radio for Belarus is trying to engage because she thinks they are underrepresented by traditional media.
“Young people [are] the least targeted group of population by the independent media and, at the same time, the most targeted by authorities," she said. "The government has introduced the state ideology courses in schools, universities and even kindergartens. They are trying to brainwash young people to make sure when they are grown up they are either loyal or at least indifferent.”
By Allison Brennan, Georgetown University Student Press Team
(Additional reporting by Annie McBride)

Panel for Breakout Session 1.5 "Digital Natives: The New Media Generation."  On Screen: Adnan Hajizada, Emin Milli; L to R, Maria Sadovskaya, Jason Rzepka, Shiv Bhaskar Dravid and Jennifer Ehidiamen. 
Photo by: Allison Brennan

Shiv Bhaskar Dravid of The Viewspaper takes the podium during the panel discussion.
Photo by: Ayesha Venkataraman

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