Recent news from the Center for Civic Media | MIT Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Huge video leak of 2009 Moldovan protests and state violence

[View one of the videos.]

In April 2009, following an election widely viewed as rigged, protests erupted in Moldova.

But closed-circuit video footage of the protests and subsequent violence has been leaked, and the Center for Future Civic Media was approached by the Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism to make available those 16 hours of footage, now available at

President Vladimir Voronin and the communist regime reacted violently to the protests, suspending the constitution starting with that night. The results: at least three dead youth, almost one thousand young people illegally arrested and tortured, over one thousand days of arrests issued, a president and prime-minister threatening to shoot the protesters and ordering the sequestration of students in schools.


More than a year and a half after, nobody knows the names of people responsible for the abuses committed during those days.

Seeking Media Lab master's program applicants to work with us on civic media

The MIT Media Lab is accepting applications to its MAS graduate program for work in the Center for Future Civic Media. Details on the Media Lab admissions process may be found at:

Please note that the application deadline is Dec. 15.

Civic Media: How to create systems that collect and disseminate the information necessary to enable individual and group civic participation in local, regional and global communities.

We explore the emerging world of civic media, a term that includes citizen journalism, but is broad enough to include forms of communication that strengthen social bonds and lead to civic engagement. Civic media includes news gathering and reporting, but also includes inputs from activists, online and offline communities and from traditionally marginalized groups. It involves not just narratives but also creating data sets, maps and visualizations that provide insight into civic issues and spur involvement.

Podcast: "Communications Forum: Public Communications in Slow-Moving Crises"

Governments, corporations, and communities plan for sudden crises: the White House drafts strong responsive rhetoric for the next terrorist attack; Toyota runs reassuring national TV spots within hours of a product recall; and 32 Massachusetts towns successfully publicize water distribution sites following a water main rupture.

However, like the housing collapse or the recent Gulf oil spill, some crises are complex, difficult to warn of, and don't cleanly fit traditional media frames. They are slow moving, and the media still struggles to rhetorically or technologically cover these simmering, rather than boiling, dramas.

With government regulators weak, corporations still focused on the bottom line, and communities adapting to structural change, this Communications Forum asks: What new media tools and strategies can be used to help everyone better prepare for the unique communications challenges of slow-moving crises?

Video: "Communications Forum: Civic Media and the Law"

David Ardia, Daniel Schuman, and Micah Sifry

What do citizens need to know when they publicly address legally challenging or dangerous topics? Journalists have always had the privilege, protected by statute, of not having to reveal their sources. But as more investigative journalism is conducted by so-called amateurs and posted on blogs or websites such as Wikileaks, what are the legal dangers for publishing secrets in the crowdsourced era? We convene an engaging group law scholars to help outline the legal challenges ahead, suggest policies that might help to protect citizens, and describe what steps every civic media practitioner should take to protect themselves and their users.

Micah Sifry is a co-founder and editor of the Personal Democracy Forum.

Daniel Schuman is the policy counsel at the Sunlight Foundation, where he helps develop policies that further Sunlight's mission of catalyzing greater government openness and transparency.

Co-sponsor: The MIT Center for Future Civic Media

DIY Video 2010: Political Remix (Part Three)

This is the second in an ongoing series of curated selections of DIY Video prepared in relation to the screening of DIY Video 2010 at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and organized by Mimi Ito, Steve Anderson, and the good folks at the Institute for Multimedia Literacy. The following is my interview with Jonathan McIntosh, who describes himself as "a pop culture hacker, video remix artist and fair use advocate." McIntosh was the curator for the Political Remix track of this series.

Your selections here suggest a strong over-lap between fan vidding and political remix. Can you tell us something of the relationship which has emerged between the two DIY video communities?

The overlap in my curated examples is definitely intentional on my part, though I'm not sure how much of a self-conscious relationship there is between the two genres. I can say little about the impact of political remix on vidding but I can detail the impact of vidding on political remix work.


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