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Networked Advocacy | The Case of the Egyptian 3

Screenshot from 2014-07-02 07:43:10


Egypt defended its judicial system at the United Nations on Wednesday (June 25, 2014) amid a global outcry over the jailing of al Jazeera journalists, telling diplomats and reporters that it respects the role of the media and does not consider journalism a crime.

Australian Peter Greste; Canadian-Egyptian national Mohamed Fahmy, Cairo bureau chief of Al Jazeera English; and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed were jailed on Monday for seven years. All three denied the charge of working with the now banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Diplomats from more than 17 countries, including eight members of the U.N. Security Council, attended the meeting organized by the U.N. Correspondents Association to show solidarity with the three imprisoned Al Jazeera journalists.

In fact, this (lackluster) display of solidarity by the 250-member NGO — which countries, which Security Council members?  — is a modest tributary to the churn achieved by networked advocacy issuing from a highly complex, organized and eclectic sector of philanthropic, diplomatic, government, industry and academic sources, “loosely tied.”

The trendy term for this is “public diplomacy,” whereas in Brazil the term propaganda is still used freely and without the stigma perceived by Bernays when he coined the term “public relations.”

Screenshot from 2014-06-29 12:56:52

Not surprisingly, the Canadian IFEX, formerly the International Freedom Exchange, with its — according to Wikipedia — 80 member organizations and alliances of foundations and so forth is strategically positioned to activate and disseminate info and action alerts quickly and effectively.

This strategy is probably best explained in terms of the position relation between Hubs and Authorities. …

IFEX also exhibits  strong ties with the World Newspaper Association, with its self-reported 3,000 members, as well as major newspapers that are clients of consultancies headed by influential figures in the globalized Spanish-language market — El Pais, a bloggging pioneer, just recently rolled out a Brazilian Portuguese edition). This is something I have discussed before.

It also maintains ties with the U.S. government and its CIMA media policy lobbying arm — officially a project of the National Endowment for Democracy but in actuality a politicized and somewhat shady entity. For example,

“Soft Censorship, Hard Impact”, produced by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), details the advance of soft censorship, and urgently calls on governments to fully respect principles of transparent and non-discriminatory state advertising, aid and funding for all media outlets.

I doubt that CIMA passes its own test as to transparency.

Screenshot from 2014-06-29 12:18:53

At the upper left, a circular network centered on IFEX, with folders closed. In the open folder in the background, the distribution pattern observed in connection with the El Pais blog.

Now, in the case of the Al-Jazeera 3 …

[ … to come …]

The following illustrates the network viewed from a different angle, or, from the perspective of a different ego, one that overlaps the IFEX-WAN network to a substantial degree.


Among other things, the network data reflects the influence of Opus Dei in global organizations of this kind — the University of Navarra is a hive of Net apostles, having produced a business partnership among Opus Dei professors, the conservative Estado de S. Paulo, the Editora Abril, and others — and  is currently engaged in rolling out an authorized clone of  the Huffington Post.

Screenshot from 2014-07-02 09:27:37

Pravda has long put out a Portuguese edition, but no one seems to pay it any mind.

A technical note: in the yEd diagramming tool, I decided to name closed folders according to their betweenness and closeness. Above, for instance, we also have a sidebar that names the contents of the folder as a roster of sites of the kind we see above.

In the roster shown above, “6 to Poder” should read “6toPoder” or “Sexto Poder” («the sixth estate»).

It would be interesting to follow up on the labor and management divide represented by various group. The most prominent Brazilian “innovators” are highly conservative, to say the least.