10 Tactics at the Global Voices Citizen Media Summit, Chile

Global Voices' bi-annual Citizen Media Summit was held this year from May 6-7 in Santiago, Chile. Around a hundred of Global Voice's members, from a variety of countries and organisations, gathered for the Summit in Santiago's Public Library. They came to share stories and experiences of the use of media in different countries, contexts and cultures. 

Fitting exactly into the Summit's theme and agenda, Tactical Technology Collective's 10 Tactics was screened in the opening sessions of both days to audiences comprised of bloggers, members of the Chilean Public Library System and NGO representatives from many countries. Juan Casanueva, from the NGO Ibero-American Network for Sustainable Development, screened the film to inspire newcomers and to support the info-activism movement already embraced by Global Voices. The film served as a very good introduction to info-activism, especially for those Latin American advocates who were less familiar with the tactics and technologies that had been used by other international organisations for advocacy. Other info-activists watched the film in the quest for new ideas and contacts that could help them to strengthen their work. 

Both screenings featured follow-up discussions among the viewers about how new media tools are being used within their own organisations and regions. NGO leaders from Bolivia and Philippines noted that their contexts were much    more 'low-tech' and that new digital technologies were just starting to be used in the development and advocacy sectors. Thomas Loughran from BOSCO, Uganda echoed this; “we have a network of solar powered and low powered internet in internally displaced persons camps in Northen Uganda. It is difficult though when sometimes there is just one computer in a village.”

While talking about the advantages and possibilities of some of the tools seen in 10 Tactics, the audience highlighted the idea that introducing new technology-based advocacy tactics could be a way to promote new activism activities and even new approaches to development strategies in their regions. The Chilean audience and others involved with international NGOs were especially interested in knowing more on the use of mobile technologies for advocacy and NGO communication. Many had experience on the use of Facebook and Twitter as communication tools, such as Paola Gallegos from Biblioredes – Chile Public Libraries who said that “during the earthquake and the aftermath of the earthquake Twitter and Facebook were used for finding people and for reporting looting and different things,” but still identified that these internet based platforms either did not reach the majority of the citizens or were not used appropriately to achieve advocacy, education and awareness goals. As one Chilean noted, “in Chile, there is a high penetration of mobile phones but we don't use them very much ... we use more Internet media, blogs, Facebook, Twitter.”

The film was tightly related to the every day activities of the Summit. Case studies shown in the film, such as Kubatana's Freedom Phone in Zimbabwe (see Tactic 9) and Ushahidi (see Tactic 8) were talked about thoroughly in different sessions on both days. Sami Ben Gharbia, Brenda Burrell and other Global Voices members that appear in 10 Tactics exchanged their opinions and experiences throughout the Summit.

In addition to the film screening, Tactical Tech's toolkits were distributed to many of the Summit's participants which provided them with key reference and a direct contact with advocates of Latin America and 15 other countries. In Chile, Tactical Tech's toolkits, guides and the 10 Tactics documentary have now become part of the basic reference materials for Information and Communication Technology literature in the main public libraries in the majority of the regions of the country.

While Tactical Tech's toolkits were familiar to many of Global Voices members, most participants did not know all guides and toolkits, and were surprised to see them physically available to them. The Security in-a-Box toolkit was used as the main reference for the Security workshop lead by Colombian info-activist, Juan Fernández, during both days of the Summit. The 10 Tactics DVD was also handed out to different organisations, such as the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, BOSCO Uganda and Yayasan AirPutih, who aim to host screenings in the following months which will reach many new viewers.

Story and images by Juan M. Casanueva from REDDES.org. Images, Top: A participant holding up the Tactical Tech toolkit's she received at the Summit. Bottom: 10 tactics being screened at the Summit.