Archive | 11:18 pm

RT’s OWS FaceBook game app up for media award

2 Jun

RT’s Facebook game, where the 99% can occupy New York’s financial district in virtual reality, has made the finals of the prestigious international Promax/BDA award.

The Occupy W@ll Street app allows players to do just that – take over a piece of real estate on a virtual map of the fabled fortress of the global high finance, share their advancement with friends as well as discuss the flaws and merits of the existing economic system with other concerned people.

The game was inspired by the protest movement, which erupted in the US 2011 amid the perils of the global financial crisis.

“This is the first game inspired by the Occupy Wall Street Movement it serves as a platform for the frustrated 99% out there longing for a voice and ability to impact the future. Facebook friends now have their voices heard!” said Margarita Simonyan, RT editor-in-chief, in a statement.

The game has already drawn some attention from the Western media. The Financial Times’ Gary Silverman joked that the whole concept of the game may look “like one of Joe McCarthy’s bad dreams” with Russians coming and occupying America. But actually the game allows the disaffected people vent their frustration in a virtual world, he argues.

“Amusements such as RT’s Facebook app make it easier to distract such people before they do something stupid in their real lives. Maybe the world would have been a better place if there had been a Baader-Meinhof app or a Weather Underground app that would have enabled New Left activists whose screws were too loose to blow off steam without spilling blood,” Silverman wrote.

The app is accessible for everyone from RT’s page on Facebook. It was nominated in the Online/Interactive Games/Immerging Platforms category of the Promax/BDA Global Excellence Awards 2012. Competing against it are five other participants, including Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., Universal Networks International Germany and Warner Bros. Television Marketing- Digital Media.

RT is also competing in three other categories of the International Advertisement, Marketing and Design award, pitted against other major new outlets like CNN and Al Jazeera. The Russian network won multiple Promax awards since 2008.


Sierra Leone: Swifter Justice Outside the Courts

2 Jun

While an international court hands down a 50-year sentence to Sierra Leone’s former warlord, Charles Taylor, most Sierra Leoneans seek justice away from their country’s courts and turn instead to traditional arbiters.

“When I went to the police, I was thinking about the court and all the time we would waste,” said Richard Jimmy, a street vendor who settled a recent dispute with another vendor in the capital, Freetown, through a local street-sellers’ association.

“People don’t believe too much in the formal system because of the delay. A simple case that we can handle in two or three days… could sit in the magistrate’s court [lowest court] for months,” said Matthew Jibao Young, head of the Mende ethnic group in Sierra Leone’s urban Western Area, comprising Freetown, the capital, and the surrounding peninsula communities. Every month he deals with dozens of disputes ranging from abusive language to debt and witchcraft.

A recent briefing by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), a British think-tank, noted that most of Sierra Leone’s population seek justice and security through “non-state” actors such as provincial or village chiefs, paralegal practitioners, professional associations, unions, and traditional “secret societies” that regulate the country’s sexual, social and political conduct.

Yet global trends show that almost 80 percent of donor funds for justice and security reform go to state systems. Since the civil war in Sierra Leone ended in 2002, such funds have mostly gone to the state, including the courts, police, legislature, civil service and the military.

This focus needs to change if justice and security reforms are to have a “meaningful impact”, said Lisa Denney, author of the ODI report. “There is a sense now that non-state actors are really important, and that they are often the dominant providers, particularly in fragile states. Donors agree. Now they want to know, ‘What can we do about that?’”.

A grant of $43.3 million over six years for a justice and security development program that began in 2006 is a major donation by the UK’s Department for International Development’s (DfID). The program has focused mainly on rebuilding magistrate’s courts, barracks, holding pens and prisons, as well as the human resources to staff them.

But despite this and other significant investments, most residents still shun formal justice institutions because capacity is low. Court proceedings are in English and interpreters for non-English speakers are rare, while distance and pressure to settle outside of court discourage many from making a trip that can be long and arduous.

Read more:
SIERRA LEONE: Serving justice outside the courts

Uganda Extends 2000 Amnesty Act One Year

2 Jun

Uganda has extended the Amnesty Act 2000 to more than twelve months for members of militia groups involved in acts of rebellion against the government.

The extension comes after the current act had expired.

The government of Uganda said in a statement on Friday that it was developing a new legal framework which will cater for later cases after the twelve months of amnesty for the insurgents had expired.

According to the Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Hillary Onek said the act will be ready by the time the twelve months elapse and it will streamline the full operationalization of the act to benefit those among the rebels who forsake their violent cause willingly.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs, on May 25th issued statutory instruments extending the act to more than twelve months with a view to aid the process of demobilizing and rehabilitating them.

The Amnesty Act 2000 provides for a blanket amnesty to Ugandans involved in acts of rebellion against constituted authority in various parts of the country and others connected with their cause.

The act will come into force as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) commander Caesar Acellam faces multiple charges of crimes against humanity after his capture in May by Ugandan soldiers tracking down LRA fugitive leaders in a forest bordering the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

LRA leader Joseph Kony is said to be in hiding in the Central African Republic after a video revealing acts of rape, torture and other violations went viral on the net in March rekindled the search for him and his band of fugitives. The Ugandan government amnesty did not cover Kony and his top commanders.

Source African Press Agency

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