Monday, January 11, 2010

Vanity Site

I'm reviving this site only to inform people of my new website over at Take a look.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My new project

Well maybe project isn't the best word, more like obsession. I've jumped on the microblogging bandwagon and started a Tumblr site--African Media--to bookmark and document my adventures (so colonial I know) in consuming, well, African media.

So far there's a lot of stuff on African literary journals, glossy magazines and the launching of high-speed internet in the east. Use it as a list of bookmarks for rad stuff from around the continent.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The arrest of the Post's editor should be condemned

From the VOA
Zambia's Government Criticized for Harassing Journalists
20 July 2009

The International Press Institute has expressed concern over the arrest and upcoming trial of Zambia Post newspaper Editor Chansa Kabwela.

The group reportedly said the Zambian government is using trumped-up criminal charges as a tool for intimidating and harassing journalists critical of the government.

Kabwela, whose trial is to begin August fifth, is charged with distributing obscene materials in order to corrupt what the government called the morals of society.

She reportedly sent pictures to government officials of a woman whose baby died while giving birth outside of a hospital during Zambia’s long nurses’ strike this year.

Read the rest of the article

Some background: The Post was highly critical of president Rupiah Banda during the election campaign last year. They published daily editorials against him accusing him of corruption among other things. Many Zambians, regardless of political affiliation, saw the tone as unnecessarily harsh and too focused on his personality.

That said, The Post was the main opposition voice in a media landscape skewed towards the ruling party and was, amidst the mudslinging, responsible for some valid reporting, including the story about gifts of food and sugar given to traditional leaders to secure rural votes. During the campaign there was open declarations from the ruling party apparatchiks and from the candidate himself talking about how The Post would be dealt with once Banda took power.

Many saw the government allowing the collapse of the country's main carrier Zambian Airways earlier this year, a business majority-owned by The Post, as a move against the paper. The details there were rumours at best. This recent arrest, however, is clear political manipulation and should be widely condemned. These are such outrageous charges--counstruing photos of a woman giving birth outside a hospital due to a labour dispute, the height of good journalism, as pornography--and I'm disheartened to see, at least from this vantage point, that Kabwela isn't getting more public support.

Here's a similar statement from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Post Editor Arrested

From ZNBC via Lusaka Times

Police have formally arrested Post News paper Editor, Chansa Kabwela, for circulating obscene materials.

Ms. Kabwela who was briefly detained has however been released on police bond.

Post newspaper lawyer, Sam Mujuda, told ZNBC that Ms. Kabwela will m in court on Tuesday.

The arrest of Ms. Kabwela comes barely two weeks after police recorded a warn and caution statement from her for being in possession of obscene pictures.

President Rupiah Banda at the last press conference ordered investigations into the circulation of pictures of a woman giving birth at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka.

The incident took place during a strike by nurses and other health workers.

Whoa this is a completely baseless arrest and a clear case of media intimidation by the Banda government.

Monday, July 6, 2009

MLK BLVD Project

For about five months I lived in a flat on Martin Luther King Road in Lusaka. I immediately associated it with the Martin Luther King Jr boulevards, streets and ways that I'd been to over the years: Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, Oakland, New Orleans. In the US, naming a street after MLK is about creating a symbolic connection between black neighbourhoods and a city; a repudiation of centuries of apartheid policies.

In Lusaka, Martin Luther King Road is in affluent Kabulonga, home to a disproportionate number of white expats, NGO workers and upper-middle-class Zambians. Our neighbour had cousins, sons and nieces spread across the world studying or running businesses in Australia, Texas and the UK.

In the style of many southern African neighbourhoods, MLK Road Lusaka is completely surrounded by glass topped walls, heavy metal gates and underpaid security guards from nearby townships. Most of the landscaped area between the walls and the drainage ditches that abut the tarmac is kept immaculately trimmed by a squad of blue-coverall wearing young men. They cut the grass, bent over double, with blunt scythes.

The MLK BLVD project is a blog of crowdsourced photos from different Martin Luther King roads, boulevards and ways from across the US and the world. It's really worth looking at.

It's also making me really regret not taking better pictures. I basically have only a photo of my gate during a hail-storm. If anyone has better photos I suggest you upload it to the MLK BLVD project Flickr pool. Also, I seem to remember many African cities having MLK roads, photos of which would probably ad great perspective to the project.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

My first attempt: Little Mountain, Nat Bailey and the new Olympic curling centre

Inspired by the way some newspapers are using the web to tell a story I decided to try my hand at internet video. This doesn't really have a narrative and is basically me dumping my photos into iMovie and imperfectly scoring it with a Fennesz song but I kinda like the way it turned out.

The greater issue though is the arrival of the Olympics, the lack of housing in Vancouver and, in particular the plans for the demolition of the Little Mountain homes. These plans, to turn Vancouver's oldest housing project into mixed social and market housing, comes at a time when homelessness is going up and there's a great deal of insecurity around joblessness and closing shelters.

The rumours are that despite no plans to start the development until after the 2010 Olympics, residents have been evacuated early so the site can be used as a parking lot for a nearby venue. Photos of the curling centre are at the end. I actually managed to take photos of the game from an upper level of the, yet unfinished, curling centre's fire escape.