Some links about the Tunisian Prison Map

Here are the most recent links I have found talking about the Tunisian Prison Map:

On Foreign Policy Blog: Tuesday Map: Injustice in Tunisian prisons, by Carolyn O’Hara, 02/01/2007:

Tunisian blogger Sami Ben Gharbia has created this fascinating Google Maps mashup of the prisons where political dissidents have been locked up by the Tunisian government. When you click on a marker, legal details about the prisoners’ cases pop up, along with video from the dissidents and their families.

Tunisia has a long history of human rights abuses and harsh conditions in its network of secret prisons, so publishing this much politically sensitive and hard-to-obtain information  has earned Gharbia plaudits from human rights advocates… along with the inability to return home from his exile in The Hague. The Tunisian government maintains one of the strictest online censorship regimes in the world, so it’s hard to know to what extent Gharbia’s map is reaching Tunisians inside the country.

On Class Acts: Is Meatspace Becoming Obsolete?, by Julia Kriz, 02/01/2007

On the global side, map mashups are quicky proliferating as a tool for awareness, journalism, and political lobbying. The Tunisian Prison Map was somewhat of a landmark in political mashup history (as recent as it has been!). Another interesting case is Greenpeace France’s Genetically Engineered Corn Google Maps mashup. After the French Government banned the mashup, Greenpeace France created crop circle symbols to mark the sites in real life. The interplay between online and offline information is becoming more graceful, more common, more suited to the needs of the people, and more easily authored by laymen. Map mashups are, after all, a Web 2.0 phenomenon ()

On The Indian Express: A complete a to z guide to the year, by Devangshu Datta. December 31/12/2006

T has to be for the Tunisian Prison Map — an interactive mashup map of Tunisian detention centres built on the backbone of Google Earth maps and Amnesty International reports. The New York Times did one of murder locations in NY; several people did the Ipswich UK serial killings. It’s a new artform. ()

On Citizen Media Watch: Mashups as a journalistic – and political – tool: Tunisia example, by Lotta Holmström. December 24/12/2006

The Tunisian Prison map is a great example of how you can use mashups as a base for journalism or political lobbying.

Based on a google map, Sami Ben Gharbia has pinpointed Tunisian prisons and shows information about prisoners and what crimes they are convicted of. If you click on one of the pointers, you get an information overview, links to more info, and often a YouTube video clip about it.

One example – information about the prison of Kef: ()

On Wired: Bloggers Shrink the Planet by Quinn Norton 21/12/2006:

Exciting things happen when dedicated bloggers from around the world meet for the first time. For Briton Rachel Rawlins, being introduced to Tunisian exile Sami Ben Gharbia was the chance to meet a personal hero.

Gharbia is the creator of the Tunisian Prison Map — an idea inspired by a New York Times interactive map charting murder locations in New York City. Gharbia turned the concept on its head: Instead of showing government figures on crime, he’d display where his former government was behaving criminally, imprisoning political dissidents for daring to speak out.

When you click on a place-mark on Gharbia’s Google Maps mashup, a pop-up reveals details, stories and videos of prisoners and their families. The map is compelling and provocative, and it’s one more reason Gharbia, who now lives in the Hague, says he can’t go home.

The site is “the best advocacy tool I’ve ever seen anywhere,” gushes Rawlins, managing editor of Global Voices Online, an international citizens’ media group that held its second annual summit in India’s bustling capital last weekend ()

On Long Road: Bloggers Making a Difference, by Kim Christen, 21/12/2006:

Unlike the celebration over at Time, this group recognizes the disparities that exist and they are using the web to challenge that—the Tunisian Prison map is a perfect example of just how the technology can be used to show the underside of “globalization” and the military industrial complex.

This project reminded me of the work of a grad student I met from Berkeley, Trevor Paglen. Trevor’s work on the US military’s “black world” has resulted in an exhibition at several galleries (as well as articles). I met Trevor at the Vectors journal week-long workshop in SoCal in 2005. He blew us all away with his presentation about this “other” military world and his unrelenting pursuit of information about the US military’s secret worlds, the “torture taxis” and other disturbing things. Check out his website, it’s an eye-opener ()

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