In May, we brought Universal Subtitles (now known as Amara) to Malaysia again. And this time, it was in the island-state of Penang, at the annual conference of CJ.MY (Citizen Journalists Malaysia).
Now in its third year, the conference brings together all the active Citizen Journalists (CJs) in Malaysia, and some from other Asian countries such as Burma, Nepal, and Thailand.
On second day of the conference, I ran a session on Amara with over 70 CJs from all across Malaysia. Some of the participants who attended the previous workshop in Kuala Lumpur had already started using Amara to subtitle videos, and some of them can be viewed here and here.
CJs who were newly introduced to the system found it very easy to use, and are looking forward to when the Amara widget is embedded onto their website. A dedicated team page will also be set up for them.
The conference also provided us the opportunity to discuss the expansion of our collaboration with CJ.MY, one of the exciting ideas being a possible Citizen Journalism programme in Papua. Also look out for more CJ.MY videos being featured on our site, providing us insight on social and political issues in Malaysia, straight from the grassroots. You can view more videos from CJ.MY here.
A series of workshops and presentations in Thailand are slated to happen in July, so expect lots of interesting content from the Land of Smiles.
If you'd like to join in all the subtitling and translation fun, join the EngageMedia team page and Facebook group to help make important stories from the Asia Pacific more accessible to the world.
Terima kasih and Khawp khun krap!
For the past few months, EngageMedia has been working with WITNESS to co-host a gathering of key video for change activists, decision-makers and activists to discuss issues around the work that we do. Specifically, from 2 - 5 June 2012, we will be in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to talk about training issues, the development of toolkits, the effectivity and impact of our work and new trends in video advocacy. This will be followed by a three-day sprint to develop video for change materials / manuals / how-to's / guides that can be shared between participating organisations and the v4c toolkit that EngageMedia is developing.
Currently, the list of invited and confirmed participants reads like a virtual who's who in the video activism field. Groups like Video Volunteeers, Organisation for Visual Progression, Digital Democracy, Tactical Technology Collective, Insight Share, Telar Social, KOMAS, Kampung Halaman and the MIT Media Lab are all attending.
This is the first of its kind (and hopefully not the last!). There has never been a gathering of such groups to discuss our common work: the issues that we face, our training strategies, our ideas around the social impact of video activism, and the new trends in this field of work. For me, it will be a time to take stock of what we are doing and how we can do the work more effectively and collectively. I'm looking forward to seeing the differences and commonalities of our approaches to video advocacy, and discussing the areas where specific groups can specialise and where we can work more collaboratively.
We are also organising a public event to maximise the wealth of experience that will be on Yogyakarta in June. We want to be able to meet and greet with local organisations and activists. We will be working with Kampung Halaman to organise this public event.
With WITNESS and in consultation with the confirmed participants, we've drafted an agenda that covers the topics we will be discussing on the four-day retreat. Fingers-crossed, the v4c retreat will be interactive, enlightening and fun!
We'll post updates on the retreat on this blog! So watch this space.
We love prizes!
The Association for Progressive Communications, of which EngageMedia is a member, in close cooperation with networks and civil society groups, is pleased to accept the WSIS Project Prize from the International Telecommunications Union for the achievements of the GISWatch project under the category "The role of public governance authorities and all stakeholders in the promotion of ICT for development". GISWatch has made many important contributions to the understanding ofICT policies throughout the years, from ICT for development to internet governance from the perspectives of civil society.
We view this prize as a strong affirmation from the ICT community that GISW is an innovative, replicable and worthwhile international project that involves stakeholders around the implementation of WSIS outcomes by offering an efficient scenario where those actors can share their best practices.
EngageMedia contributed the Australian country report to the project in 2010, the Australian and Indonesian reports in 2011, and, in 2012, will contribute the Indonesian report. You can download the reports here.
Many of EngageMedia's friends in Malaysia were also on the street. Arvind Raj and Hisam Salleh were covering for Free Malaysia Today, Ineza Roussile was making her second Bersih rally appearance, and of course there were our good friends in Komas and the always reliable citizen journalist Uncle KS Tan.
Pusat Komas, Malaysia's human rights popular communications centre, released a statement for this year's rally. The organization listed eight core issues that continued to be unfulfilled from last year's Bersih campaign:
- Clean the electoral roll
- Reform postal ballot
- Use of indelible ink (fulfilled)
- Minimum 21 days campaign period
- Free and fair access to media
- Strengthen public institutions
- Stop corruption
- Stop dirty politics
Hisyam Salleh, captured the clashes between police and protesters, also journalists, in Dataran Merdeka. His media, Free Malaysia Today also opened a forum for readers to share their . Check out Hisyam's testimony in eMalay or Thai.
Ineza, this time around documenting for Bersih 428 (a tag used to represent the date), was stationed around Kuala Lumpur's Central Market. She wrote a blog chronicling the experience. She said:
"The mood was still very energetic. Everybody there, young and old, were chanting and singing. Once someone started with, ‘Bersih! Bersih!’, the crowd would respond with a huge roar of chants. It felt like victory."
But a few paragraphs later reality struck as the protesters, including Ineza, were tear gassed by the police.
"It was my first time getting tear gassed, and it’s definitely worse than you could ever expect. Feeling the burning chemicals in your lungs, and the uncontrollable coughing and tears streaming down your face, it really is a horrid experience."
For that particular case, Kiki Febriyanti, young but seasoned rally video maker, offered the an article (in Indonesian) for preparing ourselves against tear gas.
You'll find more tips and articles like the above in EngageMedia's upcoming "Video for Change Toolkit".
To watch more Berish 3.0 videos, the organizers put them together in the Bersih 3.0 YouTube Channel. Find out more also about the exploits of MalaysiaKini citizen journalists CJ.MY who were right in the middle of the hot zone.
As Ineza closed her blog, she asked: "a free and fair election is the most basic necessity of a so-called democracy, if a crowd that big was moved to the streets for something so basic, then how can anyone in power claim that Malaysia is democratic?"
Well, at least the army of Malaysian video activists will be around to not just witness but try to make change. Well done!
For the first two weeks of April, my colleague Yerry (our Indonesian Content and Projects Coordinator) and I traveled across three Indonesian cities, Jakarta, Bandung, and Yogyakarta, conducting workshops and presentations on Universal Subtitles and online video distribution to activists, video makers, students, and the media.
Starting in Jakarta on the 31st of March, we began with a press conference, and went on to make presentations to a number of organisations including InDocs, Tempo TV, and Asia Calling.
We held three workshops in Jakarta, one of which was held in the prestigious Universitas Negeri Jakarta (UNJ), involving students from various faculties. It was the start of our partnership with academic institutions in Indonesia, and we're looking forward to many more similar opportunities in the near future.
In our second workshop at Kontras, we had two Papuan participants which led to an interesting lunch session, where everyone shared on social and environmental issues in Papua, Indonesia, and Singapore.
We also had the first-ever workshop in our brand new office space. It's a neat and spacious place which you're welcome to utilize for your meetings, screenings, and other events, so feel free to contact us in you're interested.
Our next stop was the city in the valley, Bandung. There we had presentations and workshops in two interesting community spaces, Tobucil and Common Room.
A participant even traveled from a neighbouring city to attend our cosy Tobucil workshop. And the workshop at Common Room was equally memorable, where we got a good mix of activists, artists, and students attending and subtitling videos together.
Our final destination was Yogyakarta, where we presented to several reputable organisations such as Combine, FFD, KUNCI, IVAA, and the Press Club at Universitas Gadjah Mada.
We also had an interesting workshop at Kampung Halaman, discussing and subtitling critical video content in the middle of a lush and green rural environment. The fresh air, beautiful scenery, and keen participants made it a great ending to our tour.
To sum up, during the tour we've seen over 60 videos subtitled and translated in Indonesian, English, and Javanese. We've also had over 70 new members joining our team page and adding lots of great new videos which you can collaborate on.
One of the videos we'd like to highlight is 'Gendjer Gendjer', which is now available in Javanese, Indonesian, and English. Other noteworthy videos that were transcribed and translated include 'Islamic Hardliners Attack Valentines Day', 'Papua Calling (Episode 1)', 'Portrait of Mamdouh Habib', and 'Awin Meke'.
By joining the EngageMedia team page now, you can quickly and easily add more translations in the languages you know, contributing to having more people around the world understand these important stories.
For more updates and opportunities to communicate and contribute, join the new EngageMedia Subtitles group on Facebook, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. More pictures from the tour are available here.
It's been a fantastic tour, and I'd like to express my appreciation to all our hosts and partner organisations who've made it possible for so many people in Indonesia to get accustomed to Universal Subtitles. I'd also like to say a big thank you to my colleague Yerry for being so helpful in bringing everything together, and improving my command of the Indonesian language in the process.
Moving forward, in May I'll be conducting a workshop at the CJ.MY Conference in Penang, Malaysia, and making visits and presentations to other organisations there. This will also tie-in with a workshop in Pattani, South Thailand, where we're all looking forward to share and learn more.