Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Avaaz: the activist organisation behind Paul Conroy's rescue in Syria

The 'clicktivist' group has campaigned on issues from Burma to Murdoch, but is taking on a riskier role in the Arab spring

Julian Borger, Tuesday 28 February 2012

"Founded in 2007, has quickly become the biggest and most ambitious of a new breed of activist organisation, designed for a wired, globalised world. It has established a network of activists and civilian journalists on the ground in Syria – where it played a key role in helping to rescue the British journalist Paul Conroy from the besieged city of Homs – and across the Arab world.

Its website describes it as "the world in action" and "the campaigning community bringing people-powered politics to decision-making worldwide".

The name means "voice" in Farsi and several other Asian and European languages, and the idea is to provide a vehicle for like-minded people across the world to organise quickly over burning political issues and apply pressure on governments through online petitions or street protests.....

Avaaz is funded by member contribution and says it does not accept money from any government or corporation. It sets its campaigning priorities by canvassing its 13-million-strong membership worldwide....

The network has taken on a prominent and more physically risky role in the Arab spring, providing satellite phones and other communication equipment to pro-democracy groups in Libya, Egypt and Syria....."

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