The latest project from Small World News, Alive in Afghanistan, is receiving a lot of attention in the media and around the blogosphere. Here’s a selection of the coverage we’ve found.
The LA Times has this:
Alive in Afghanistan is a multimedia reporting project that solicits reports by way of SMS, e-mail and Twitter from ordinary Afghanis and posts them alongside reports by professional journalists from the Pajhwok Afghan News agency.
Verified reports were then posted on an interactive map, allowing users to access the latest reports of polling center closings, explosions, rocket attacks and intimidation.
Although, as the founders of the site readily admit, only a minority of Afghanis know how to use the site and have access to it, it’s still a great resource for real-time election news from Afghanistan.
From the BBC
Citizens can report disturbances, defamation and vote tampering, or incidents where everything “went well”.
Their reports feature alongside those of full-time Afghan journalists to ensure the election and reporting of it is as “free and fair” as possible.
“We hope to enable people to report on what is going on in the country,” explained Brian Conley, who helped set up the project.
“In the rural areas there are not going to be monitors, and it is questionable how much international media coverage there will be in these areas.”
Additional text and video reports will be added by a network of 80 reporters from the Afghan Pajhwok news agency, he said.
From the Associated Press
A Web site called “Alive in Afghanistan” gave Afghans the chance to report violence or polling irregularities via Twitter, e-mail, SMS or the Web that were recorded on an interactive map. More than 100 reports came in during the day to the site, run by a nonprofit group that has done similar projects in Iraq and Gaza.
“Armed Taliban keep voters away from 14 polling stations in Ghormach district of Faryab province” was one of the messages at 8 a.m., followed by “No girls voting at one of the big female stations in Kandahar city,” five minutes later.
The project mirrors the type of eyewitness online reports that got attention during the Iranian election, and which could thwart official Afghan attempts to control negative reports.
And the infamous server-choking segment from Rachel Maddow, from which we thankfully recovered.