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Archive for May, 2013

Facebook rape threatens advertising revenue

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Friday, May 31st, 2013 by Marko Phiri

While millions have “religiously” embraced social media with the kind of enthusiasm perhaps not seen since the invention of the Gutenberg press, this has, predictably perhaps, come at a price.

Well, for that little thing called social etiquette, which is set to have knock on advertising traffic on these portals.

Citizens of social media spaces have lapped up on the anonymity offered here where you can create user accounts under various aliases and post all manner of both palatable and unpalatable stuff.

And raw bigotry, sexual, or otherwise, has been just but one bane to afflict these spaces where disparaging “sexual jokes” and what some are calling Facebook Rape, has become “normal.” Talk about the well-worn phrase “normalizing the abnormal.”

And this is stuff usually not uttered in any other setting but has with increasing audacity found its way into these very public spaces called social media.

Facebook is now being lobbied to act and this is something FB cannot ignore.

Its advertisers are being targeted by lobbyists, and for a company with over 1 billion users, and as it is agreed that with such numbers, social networks can indeed make a lot of moolah, Facebook can only but pay attention.

Called the the #FBrape campaign’s strategy it seeks to “hold Facebook accountable for the misogynistic content of its users by pressuring advertisers.”

And misogynistic content sure abounds, and for Ndebele and Shona readers, this is all too familiar and we all know how raw vulgarity spoken or written in our own languages can be.

Yet for some this call to “block” offensive posts can very easily be seen by advocates of free speech as militating against the very ideals of such platforms, namely that there is no censorship.

The twist of course being that the average individual lives by moral codes that would be universally applicable, and this is apparently not so considering the #Facebook rape campaign that has been launched: Facebook rape is cool for some.

It is in essence a call for FB to closely look at its content policy without infringing on individual rights, yet I still find it contradictory that some still see it as a “human right” to freely express themselves on “your” wall using all sorts of “unprintable” stuff!

It is the same freedom they demand that should tell them to respect other people’s space, no?

It would be interesting to see how seriously these issues are taken in a developing country like ours where one can go to any FB page and be met by shocking stuff written in our vernacular dialects.

And remembering that ours is a land where all sorts of homophobic expression is hailed where you can label anyone you don’t not agree with and this supposedly being the ultimate insult thanks to our dear leader.

It’s a space to watch as advertising traffic also targets Zimbabwean users.

It would be quite an undertaking for people whose first language is not English to have a lobby at that scale as seen by the #Facebook rape campaign.

But then Facebook, has already made “promises to train its content moderators (and an entire planet of actual users) to flag and remove violent content.”

Despite such things as “blocking abusive user” some comments can still be found on some pages administered by Zimbabweans, and a case in point could well be the one launched after Big Brother housemates were announced with a page created to vote out Zimbabwe’s female rep.

It is the kind of language that Women, Action, & the Media (WAM!) who set up the #FBrape campaign want blocked from the site, but has become part of an acceptable lexicon despite what is seen by many as the unapologetic chauvinism that accompanies it. It is curious that some of the comments have been attributed to female followers of Big Brother! Solidarity, no?

Facebook has already made a commitment to keep vigilant, however admitting that “these are complicated challenges and raise complex issues. Our recent experience reminds us that we can’t answer them alone.”

And by that they mean these questions will be answered with the help of rapists who prowl the FB looking for victims!

Are we men yet?

What, exactly, does the woman have to do with the battery?

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Thursday, May 30th, 2013 by Amanda Atwood

Sex sells . . . batteries?

I saw this billboard going up on the Borrowdale Road the other day. Aside from my persistent question about the disconnect between the growing number of billboards littering Harare’s streets (city revenue, presumably) and the consistent poor quality of things like pothole repair and road maintenance (absence of city spending), this one caught my eye for another reason.

Okay, so I can read – So I can tell it’s an ad for Raylite Batteries. But what is that woman in the red dress doing in the advert? Like, what does she have to do with the battery? The answer, of course, is nothing. But hey – sex sells, so sexy women sell, so if I put a sexily dressed (faceless, irrelevant, dehumanised) woman up there on the billboard in the general proximity of my battery, my battery, presumably, will also sell.

I note the slogan is “Never add water! Just fit and forget.” Presumably that’s the battery they’re talking about, not the woman.

Which way

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Thursday, May 30th, 2013 by Bev Clark

Sucks either way

NGO job vacancies in Zimbabwe

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Thursday, May 30th, 2013 by Bev Clark

Hey! Need a job? Want to work in the NGO/development sector in Zimbabwe? Check out the job vacancies below and apply today. If you want to receive regular civic and human rights information, together with NGO job vacancies and other opportunities like scholarships by getting our regular email newsletter, please email join [at] kubatana [dot] net

HIV Programme Officer – Zimbabwe Office: Trócaire
Deadline: 11 June 2013

Trócaire is the Development Agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland.  The Agency works in Zimbabwe under an MoU with the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference.  A vacancy for a HIV Programme Officer has arisen within its Zimbabwe Office. The successful candidate will be managed by the Programme Manager and will work in close collaboration with the other Programme officers as well as with our finance team. Trócaire has supported partners working on HIV in Zimbabwe for the past nine years. The HIV programme was a small programme, consisting of 2 – 3 partners, until early 2009. At present, the programme includes five partners. The programme is focused on the Rights of People living with HIV and the current programme cycle will come to an end in late 2013 when a new 5-year HIV programme will be developed.

Key Duties and Responsibilities include the following core areas
-Programme Development, Management & Monitoring
-Programme Administration and Finance
-Partner Relationship & capacity building
-Participating in broader work of the programme and country teams
-External links

The ideal candidate will have
-At least 3 years proven experience in implementing and managing HIV programmes in a developing country context
-Experience of the partnership model of development work
-In-depth experience of Results Based Programme Management
-Knowledge of HIV and gender context in Zimbabwe, the region and globally
-Experience in managing budgets for development projects and programmes
-A proven track record in financial management
-Strong experience of providing capacity building support to NGOs in the areas of RBM, mainstreaming and advocacy
-Proven skills in facilitation using participatory approaches
-Understanding of and commitment to implementing MIPA in programmes and advocacy work
-Proven experience in mainstreaming HIV
-Experience in the implementation of HIV Workplace Policies
-Very good interpersonal skills, including excellent communications skills
-Good IT skills, including word processing, Excel
-Commitment to Trócaire values
-A team player

In return we offer a competitive salary and package commensurate with education and experience.

Full job description available on request from: fshereni [at] trocairezw [dot] org

To apply
Email your cover letter and detailed CV to: fshereni [at] trocairezw [dot] org with “HIV Programme Officer” in the subject line.

They are there because we are here

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Wednesday, May 29th, 2013 by Fungayi Mukosera

Zimbabwe stands above 85% of its whole population belonging to Christianity. Christians believe that as soon as life departs from a human being the spirit either goes into purgatory or lays in wait of God’s judgment on the earth. This is the reason why people cry in mourning the departed because as soon as life slithers out from a human body, never shall we see that same spirit-host union again in this life.
Our politicians are no strangers to this belief because from whence this faith is coined are their roots. I specifically singled out politicians because they are in these pre election times the only people I can think of who can, in the comfort of their offices, incite interference with our lives with the aim of retaining their political supremacy.

It is easy and in fact right for the ordinary man in the street to point fingers at police as perpetrators of disrespect of lives but the root cause is our councillors, MPs, and Ministers. They are the command centre and the epicentre of all the atrocities that we are suffering in our homes. How can a trusted politician and people representative stand on a podium and downplay democracy ingeniously saying that mere ink can never bring political change in Zimbabwe? The love of power in Zimbabwe has reigned supreme over everything else; superiority is now a force so deadly that our politicians will do anything to retain their thrones.

Our political representatives should come back to their senses and realise that they are there because we are here.

10 things to know today

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Wednesday, May 29th, 2013 by Bev Clark

Zimbabwe’s economy now ranked in the top 10 in Africa but hang on, how come there aren’t any jobs? Kenyan MPs, already among the highest paid in the world, vote to raise their salaries. Death toll of SA soldiers attacked in Central African Republic has risen to 15. Ngugi wa Thiong’o says that after 50 years, unity is still an African dream but a dream is better than nothing. Civil society exclusions dampen mood at AU summit.Russia gives anti-aircraft missiles to Syria; EU suspends arms embargo to rebels. Ashley Cole to captain England against Republic of Ireland tonight. Kolo Touré to become first Liverpool player from Côte d’Ivoire. The BBC’s DJ Edu says Daima by Eric Wainaina is one of the chart-toppers that’s kept Africa hot; what’s your top tune?