Documentary exposes the threat of facial recognition surveillance in Serbia

One of the thousands of cameras conducting video surveillance in the streets of Belgrade, Serbia’s capital. Photo by SHARE Foundation, used with permission. This story is based on reporting by Global Voices’ content partner Meta.mk News Agency, a project of Metamorphosis Foundation.  A civic initiative called #hiljadekamera (‘thousands of cameras’ in English), has been raising concerns about the deterioration of privacy in Serbia resulting from the introduction of video surveillance system with advanced facial recognition in the capital Belgrade. As part of the campaign, a documentary with the same title, was released. The Serbian government…

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Disinformation about Belarus spreads in the Balkans via online portals and social media

Protesters in Minsk on August 14, 2020. Photo by Melirius via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0. This story is based on reporting by Global Voices’ content partner Meta.mk News Agency, a project of the Metamorphosis Foundation.  The recent political turmoil in Belarus has been accompanied by an increased amount of disinformation about the country, disseminated through the channels which have already been active in spreading propaganda narratives characteristic of pro-Kremlin troll armies. Spreading fear about Russian military intervention Meta.mk reported that just prior to the unprecedented August 16 pro-democracy protest, social networks and…

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Russian doctors’ union launches ‘map of problems’ faced by medics during COVID-19

Screenshot of the Alliance of Doctors’ Interactive Map. Red circles represent general problems, black represents deaths of medical staff, and green represents resolved problems. At the time of writing, Russia has 370,680 confirmed COVID-19 cases according to the Johns Hopkins University Map. In recent days, Russian health officials have claimed that the situation may stabilise. However, severe regional outbreaks such as the recent spike of infections in Dagestan could jeopardise any slow recovery. In these conditions, the country’s medical system is under enormous strain. That’s why on May 20, the…

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Milada Horáková: 70 years after her sham trial and execution, Czechs reflect on their communist past

A large billboard representing Milada Horáková and a slogan beneath reading “Zavražděna komunisty” (Murdered by communists) hanging on Prague Old Town Square. Photo by Filip Noubel, used with permission. June 27 marks a special date in the Czech Republic: Remembrance Day for the victims of the communist regime (Den památky obětí komunistického režimu). This year, it was commemorated with particular force because exactly 70 years ago, on June 27, 1950, Milada Horáková, a lawyer, politician and Nazi resister, was hanged along with others after a show trial under the orders…

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Anti-pandemic measures in their home countries deter EU tourists from visiting North Macedonia

A beach in Ljubanishte, Lake Ohrid, North Macedonia on July 24, 2020. Photo by Filip Stojanovski, CC BY. North Macedonia has opened its borders to tourists from the European Union (EU) and other European countries, but measures related to COVID-19 prevention are discouraging visitors from choosing the country as a travel destination. A big factor is that some EU countries, Hungary for example, require their citizens returning from North Macedonia to spend two weeks in self-isolation upon returning home. Germany requires travelers returning from 130 countries designated as risky to…

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‘We could present our revolution at a design festival’: a Belarusian artist reflects on protest imagery

Symbols of Belarus’  protest movement. On the left, a red heart on a white background reflects the colours of the historical flag of Belarus flown by opponents of Lukashenka. On the right, a fist holding a paintbrush symbolises artists’ role the protests. It is held by Uladzimir Hramovich, creator of the symbol. Photo (c): Violetta Savchits, used with permission. When the results of the August 9 presidential election in Belarus were announced, the country erupted in protest. Demonstrators continue to take to the streets against Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who has ruled this…

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Cryptocurrency scammers flood Facebook users with ads for fake Forbes.com articles

A Facebook page about Cookies advertising cryptocurrencies. Suspicious? Photo by Meta.mk, used with permission. This story is based on reporting by Global Voices’ content partner Meta.mk News Agency, a project of Metamorphosis Foundation.  Scammers using fake Forbes articles and anti-EU disinformation as bait continue to target Facebook users across Europe, the Skopje-based Metamorphosis Foundation has warned. Metamorphosis is a civil society organization from North Macedonia promoting digital rights and media literacy. Its monitoring of social networks has revealed that scammers continue to use Facebook advertisements masked as links to articles from…

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In the Czech Republic, controversy over a newly re-erected Catholic monument ends in flames

View of Prague Old Town Square with the newly rebuilt Column. Photo by Filip Noubel, used with permission. Prague’s Old Town square is one of the most iconic locations in the Czech Republic, that embodies the heart of the well-preserved historic city center, with monuments and buildings going back several centuries. But for Czech people, the square is foremost a stage for their history, where several key political and religious events took place. Now, with the surprising return of the Marian Column — a religious column erected in 1650 but destroyed in 1918,…

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Moderate globally, impact locally: A series on content moderation in the Global South

Public domain image. This article was written by Michael Karanicolas, a Resident Fellow at Yale Law School where he leads the Wikimedia Initiative on Intermediaries and Information as part of the Information Society Project. It is the first in a series of papers published by the initiative to capture perspectives on the global impacts of platforms’ content moderation decisions. You can find the author at @M_Karanicolas on Twitter, and you can read all of the articles in the blog series here. Every minute, more than 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, 350,000 tweets are…

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Netizens across former Yugoslavia celebrate 75 years of women’s suffrage

A married couple of Yugoslav Partisans in a photo taken in Slovenia, 1944. Source: znaci.net. Public Domain. This past August 11 marked 75 years since now-dissolved Yugoslavia’s granted women the right to vote. Human rights activists and feminists from the successor states remembered the date by sharing photos from that period on social media — and used the opportunity to advocate for equal rights. Universal suffrage was part of the political program of Yugoslavia’s communist-led resistance to occupation by Nazi Germany and its allies. It became law in 1945 following Nazi…

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