MonthJuly 2014

Back in the day (2002) we called this ‘fisking’

Bloggers and people powered media of all kinds have used their powers to check the accuracy of the mainstream media. Now, we’re more and more using the power of the press to check and accuracy of all online journalism. And there’s a lot of bad stuff out there.

The internet, for all its benefits of spreading knowledge, is also saturated with disinformation. Right now, for instance, images are flooding in from social media that claim to accurately document the destruction taking place in Gaza. But according to the BBC, some of these date from years ago or actually show scenes from Syria or Iraq, and the organisation has urged people to verify images before sharing them.

This is old news to citizen journalist Brown Moses, who made his name crowdsourcing information in conflict zones, such as analysing weapons in Syria. “It’s quite incredible for me to see images from ‘Gaza’ and recognising that half of them are coming from Syria,” he told me. But he isn’t on the ground, checking the facts. Instead, he does it all from his front room in Leicester, England.

Brown Moses, or Eliot Higgins to use his AFK name, makes use of social media, open source tools, and public information to verify details that news organizations can miss. Today, he’s launching a site to pool his and others knowledge together in one place.

And here’s the definition of “fisking.”

‘Physical attacks against Vietnamese bloggers on the rise’

Surprise! The communists who run Vietnam aren’t any nicer to bloggers than the punks in Alabama who toss bloggers in jail:

On May 25, 2014, a Vietnamese blogger and human rights activist, Tran Thi Nga, was seriously injured during a violent attack in Hanoi, a local human rights organization reported.

Tran Thi Nga, a savvy social media user in documenting human right abuses in Vietnam, was returning home after visiting fellow blogger Nguyen Tuong Thuy when five men—now suspected to be undercover police members—surrounded her motor bike, on which she was riding with her two children, the report said. The assailants attacked Tran Thi Nga in front of her children and chased her before beating her with a metal pole. The blogger sustained serious injuries to her knee, arm, and back.

This unfortunate incident comes at a time of similar orchestrated attacks against bloggers and social media users in Vietnam. Four other distinct incidents have occurred since March 2014.


Here’s the situation. The authorities in Vietnam share something with the punks in Alabama who arrested Legal Schnauser publisher Roger Shuler. They KNOW he’s a journalist. They didn’t jail him because he wasn’t a reporter. They jailed him because he was, and to date they are getting away with it.  His blog hasn’t been updated since May 13.

In Vietnam, there is little Tran Thi Nga can do, except hope public outrage can sway calmer heads in her country’s government.