Cataphora Data Analysis Example: The Arab Spring
Introducing the ‘Arab Spring’ analysis
The ‘Arab Spring’ video is the first in a series in which we will feature real world usages of different aspects of our technology. While we love to talk about complex investigation and analysis of Big Data, such examples rarely lend themselves to being condensed to a short video. Right at the time we were searching for a suitable example, we happened to meet Esra’a Al Shafei at the 2011 Monaco Media Forum conference.
She was there to accept yet another award – she has received quite a few in recent years for her role in helping promote democracy and free speech in the Middle East. She is a senior TED Global Fellow, and has been referred to by CNN as “An outspoken defend[er] of free speech,” while the Daily Beast has characterized her as one of the 17 bravest bloggers in the world.
Esra’a is in her twenties and lives in a village in Bahrain. She operates her websites on a shoestring, with a handful of helpers. Yet despite this she has clearly managed to attain an impressive level of influence, and perhaps even has helped change the world. But to what extent? What was her reach? We thought that using some of our technology – specifically, our Textblock™ detection technology – to detect the spread of influence of Esra’a's work might make an interesting first example to analyze. We hope you enjoy it.
About Mideast Youth
by Esra’a Al Shafei
Mideast Youth is a network that provides youth and marginalized groups with unique platforms that amplify diverse and progressive voices advocating for change throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Amongst these is a bilingual group blog promoting a fierce but respectful dialogue among the highly diverse youth of all sects, socio-economic backgrounds, and political and religious beliefs in the region.
The oppression of speech and strictly government-controlled media are used to dominate political divisions. When access to knowledge is lacking, people are vulnerable to manipulation. For this reason we felt the urge to create an inviting and accessible space for youth to freely express themselves, and exchange information, experiences, views, and opinions, visibly involving various minorities who have been persecuted, censored and violently discriminated against for decades, such as Kurds (an ethnic minority facing extreme persecution) or Baha’is (religious minority that is heavily discriminated against). The topics discussed on the site can be anything from freedom of speech in Bahrain, the rights and experiences of LGBT people, the right of Assyrians, racism against migrant workers in the Gulf to sex education and many others. We encourage controversy and the open discussion of such taboo topics that often face censorship in mainstream Arab or Iranian media, and that receive little coverage worldwide.
Since the website was founded in 2006, Mideast Youth’s articles and podcasts have received a wide range of international media coverage, featured on the likes of the BBC, Al Jazeera, the New York Times, CNN and others, allowing our writers to raise controversial issues otherwise not covered by the press in our countries. This allowed us to raise the voices of many people with diverse views and opinions and provided them with an international stage for their voices to be heard prominently around the world.