Active Citizens

South African Lawsuit Could Bring Sweeping Changes to Land and Mining Rights

South Africans await judgement to be handed down in a court case that could set a sweeping precedent by empowering communities on communal land with the right to reject new mining projects.

Plastic Tsunamis Threaten Coast in Latin America

Although Latin America produces just five percent of the world's plastic, it imports billions of tons annually for the use of all kinds of products, some of which end up in the sea as garbage.

Putting Tortillas on Mexico’s Tables Again

Agronomist Irene Salvador decided to learn the process of making corn tortillas in order to preserve and promote this traditional staple food in the Mexican diet, which has lost its presence and nutritional quality.

Chile Debates Whether Citizens Should Profit from Generating Energy

Chile has become a model country for its advances in non-conventional energy, and is now debating whether citizens who individually or as a group generate electricity can profit from the sale of the surplus from their self-consumption - a factor that will be decisive when it comes to encouraging their contribution to the energy supply.

Energy Cooperatives, Fogged Mirrors for Latin America

“It made me angry that a company from outside the region was making money from renewable energy and I wondered why people weren't getting involved," says Petra Gruner-Bauer, president of the German co-operative SolixEnergie.

Indigenous Peoples Recover Native Languages in Mexico

Ángel Santiago is a Mexican teenager who speaks one of the variations of the Zapotec language that exists in the state of Oaxaca, in the southwest of Mexico. Standing next to the presidential candidate who is the favorite for the July elections, he calls for an educational curriculum that "respects our culture and our languages."

Protests Fuel Harassment Faced by Media in Nicaragua

Assaults on journalists, persecution of press workers' unions, direct censorship and smear campaigns are a high cost that freedom of expression has paid in Nicaragua since demonstrations against the government of Daniel Ortega began in April.

Optimal Use of Water Works Miracles in Brazil’s Semi-Arid Region

Cattle ranching has been severely affected by drought in Brazi's Northeast region, but it has not only survived but has made a comeback in the Jacuípe river basin thanks to an optimal use of water.

From the Syrian War to Argentina – Or How to Start a New Life

Fares al Badwan moved to Buenos Aires alone, from Syria, in 2011. He was 17 years old then and the armed conflict in his country had just broken out. Since then he has managed to bring over his whole family and today he cannot imagine living outside of Argentina. "I like the people here. No one makes you feel like a foreigner," he said.

Protests, Strikes, Solidarity – France Revisits May ‘68

“It’s good to be in Paris on a sunny May day and see many universities occupied … and the strikes against neo-liberalism,” declared British Pakistani writer and activist Tariq Ali at an event in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on May 3. “That’s very pleasing.”

Central Americans Demand to be Consulted About Mining Projects

Rosa Dávila is busy cooking ears of corn, to be eaten by the men and women who have set up a checkpoint on the side of the road to block the passage of supplies sent to a mining company that operates in the area.

Steady Old Hand of Repression Seeks to Strangle New Media in East Africa

In African countries where journalists are targeted with killings and beatings while traditional news outlets have been muzzled by governments and other actors unhappy with criticism, bloggers and social media users have become the new independent media by providing much-needed coverage, commentary and analysis.

African Governments Mark World Press Freedom Day with Crackdown Against Online Journalism

When Uganda in April ordered Internet service providers to shut down all news sites that had not been authorized by the communications regulator (pdf), it was the latest attempt by President Yoweri Museveni’s government to constrict the space for independent media.

Free Media Under Threat Globally

Buoyed on by the likes of United States’ President Donald Trump, a growing number of political leaders are encouraging hostility towards news media and journalists across the globe are finding it harder than ever to do their jobs.This is among the main findings in Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) annual World Press Freedom Index which examines 180 countries and their relationship with the media.

Mexico’s Solidarity Towards Haitians Only Goes So Far

In the airport of this Mexican city, on the border with the United States, customs agents warn that they will carry out a "random" inspection. But it's not so random. The only people who are stopped and checked have dark skin and kinky hair, and virtually do not speak a word of Spanish.

Press Freedom & Enforced Disappearances: Two Sides of the Same Coin in Sri Lanka

When Sri Lankan journalist Richard de Zoysa was abducted from his home in Colombo on the night of February 18th, 1990, his family knew there would be dark days ahead. The population was still reeling from one of the bloodiest episodes in the island nation’s history – a government counterinsurgency campaign to crush a Marxist rebellion in southern Sri Lanka, which left between 30,000 and 60,000 people dead at the hands of government death squads.

Women Farmers in Peru Bring Healthy Meals to Local Schools

Getting children and adolescents to replace junk food with nutritious local organic foods is the aim of a group of women farmers in a rural area of Piura, on Peru’s north coast, as they struggle to overcome the impact of the El Niño climate phenomenon.

“Fake News” a Growing New Threat to Press Freedom

When a Malaysian politician of a bygone era was asked about the “leading newspapers” in his country, he shot back: “We don’t have any leading newspapers in our country because all our newspapers are misleading.”

From Mega to Micro, a Transition that Will Democratise Energy in Brazil

An energy transition is spreading around the globe. But in Brazil it will be characterised by sharp contrasts, with large hydroelectric plants being replaced by solar microgenerators and government decisions being replaced by family and community decision-making.

Over to You, Children! Zambia’s ‘Plant a Million Trees’ Takes Root

Trees are a vital component in the ecosystem—they not only give oxygen, store carbon, stabilise the soil and give refuge to wildlife, but also provide materials for tools, shelter and ultimately, food for both animals and human beings.

Authoritarian Govts Tighten Grip on Press Freedom

The 25th celebration of World Press Freedom Day will be led by UNESCO and the government of Ghana in Accra on May 2-3. The theme is “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law,” covering the issues of media in respect to the judicial system and transparent political processes.

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