I’ve written the latest round- up of the leaders’ wives on the campaign trail on my new blog here.
The new blog will focus on women, particularly on issues women face worldwide not frequently covered by the media, press attitudes towards women and women’s issues, journalism and innovative uses of new media around the world.
A Rye View will be my personal blog, where I will keep track of activities and projects and write about anything that catches my eye.

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A “headstrong, cynical, blogging police officer” says that if she were raped other than by a complete stranger on the street, she probably would not bother to report it.
PC Ellie Bloggs a serving police officer in England, and author of pcbloggs.blogspot.com writes on Channel4’s blog that she’s worked as a specialist sexual offences officer and “in zero of the cases can I be sure that no rape happened”.
But “seasoned detectives and even supervising ranks goggle at me, stating that most rapes they have dealt with DIDN’T happen” she says. “Am I hopelessly naïve, or are they chauvinist ignoramuses?”.

Photo credit: g-hat via a Creative Commons licence

On the day Amnesty International and women’s organisations lobbied MPs for increased protection for all women facing violence in the UK, I re-read Janice Turner’s recent article on the silence of feminists in the face of casual sexism. Wondering where feminism went wrong Turner writes that of the half dozen twenty-somethings she met in a bid to find out only one identified themselves as a feminist and the rest didn’t identify with it at all:

The only feminist they can think of is Julie Bindel, the radical lesbian writer. Feminism means no fun or make-up, anger and hating men. It is a broken brand, not needed now. As one put it: “All the battles are won.”

Why is it, Turner asks, “that while America has a tradition of feminist writers and thinkers, including Naomi Wolf and Katie Roiphe, there are no young women “questioning the orthodoxy here”?

In a later article Turner sets out to rally feminists and stir up resistance to the “pornification” of culture. It’s time to challenge casual sexism she writes, inviting readers to send in examples of sexism.
The response to her first article she says was “thank God, someone is saying this — I thought I was alone”.

Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony argues it isn’t a case of feminists being silent, although she acknowledges those voices are rarely heard in the mainstream. She also criticises Turner for showing “a lack of knowledge or disregard of just what has been going on in the online world for the last decade” and picks up on the fact that feminists are often criticised for being silent on a variety of issues: “I’ve had it up to here with the “feminists have been silent about…” trope that springs up everywhere in the media both on line and off”.

So to an article by Clive James I recently re-read criticising feminists for their silence on the subject of so-called honour killings. He writes about Pamela Bone, an Australian journalist whose 2005 article in the Melbourne Age attacked Western feminists for failing to speak up against abuses in the Western world.

Reading around this issue, as with many others, it’s clear there are many vibrant feminist writers online.
If you are looking for authoritative voices speaking out in the mainstream media in the UK however, “silence” is what you’re likely to get.

Whether that’s important depends on how much weight you give to the mainstream. If you think it’s important that feminism is “heard” in the media then some of the questions Janice Turner raises about the pressures to keep quiet are important ones – but is it as much about deafness as about silence?

I went to the Convention on Modern Liberty at the Institute of Education in London yesterday.
I first went to the Blogger’s Summit that the chair Sunny Hundal of Liberal Conspiracy has written about here.
Interesting observation from Heather Brooke of Your Right to Know that whereas in the US electronic data and information is readily available, those in power in the UK regard information as something that “belongs to them” and not the people.
Ben Goldacre whose run-in with LBC is described below described amusingly how new media tools could be used for “chaotic, puerile disseminated investigative journalism”.
It was an event that brought together people across the whole political spectrum.. and covered a wide range of subjects as one of its organisers Henry Porter outlines here and here.
Peter Oborne’s comments about the media-political class inspired me to read his book The Triumph of the Political Class and so far its analysis of a political elite that exists for its own advancement is very persuasive – and goes some way to explain the apparent disconnect between the governing class and the people, no matter what political party they are in.
There was also some discussion about the impact that an economic slump will have on liberty and questions raised about the role the mainstream media would play if discontent leads to civil unrest.
Another book, Shafted, published later this month to mark the anniversary of the beginning of the miners’ strike examines some of the pitfalls journalists fell in.
What are the lessons to be learnt from the likes of Nicholas Jones who contributes to the book? What role will “chaotic, puerile disseminated investigative journalism” play? How important was yesterday’s convention as a step towards the fulfillment of what Sunday’s Observer editorial says is the obligation of every citizen – “vigilance and resistance” to the restriction of “freedoms” and “conceptions of the moral autonomy of the individual to act without impediment by the state”?

Steve Hewlett focused on how twitter was used during the Mumbai attacks on the Media Show today.
Among those interviewed was Rory Cellan Jones who blogs about Mumbai and Twitter here.

Over on The Ushahidi Blog, Ory Okollah reflects on how her open-source crisis project fared in the DRC.

Okollah points to the need for a strong blogging community such as those that exist in Mumbai and in Kenya – where the project was first launched as a tool for people who witness acts of violence after the election.

The nature of the crisis in DRC also played a part: “As one person closely involved in assisting people affected by the crisis in DRC pointed out to me, in a crisis situation most people are on the run – they don’t have time to file reports etc. In a place like Eastern DRC that is compounded by things like electricity cuts so phones can’t be charged; difficulties having the resources to buy credit so the SMS functionality doesn’t really help them…”

The project got some coverage in Forbes and Kenya’s Daily Nation.