Human rights activists and journalists in the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have launched an interactive online portal to chart the current violence in the eastern region of the country, writes Andile Makholwa.

 

The portal, http://drc.ushahidi.com, will serve as a medium through which citizen journalists in the war zone can report the violence through various technological means including cellphones and e-mails. It is also intended to be a map site to situate the conflict zone for global viewers. 

The content will be available in French and English on the internet, and will feature text, audio and video reports by eyewitnesses.

Co-ordinator of the site, Anne-Christine d’Adesky, says the portal is modelled on the Ushahidi human rights website which was launched in early 2008 to monitor the post election violence in Kenya.

She says: “This interactive platform allows for direct reporting via cellphone from and within DRC and the US to the web as well as via computer and will have audio, video components, and has a GPS tracking tool so you can map the violence”.

She says the portal is also intended at being a linking map for civil society and humanitarian response groups in North Kivu and the surroundings, scene of much of the current violence.

“Soon there will be media archives and blogs and email updates that are specific to the conflict in Eastern Congo. The focus is limited to North Kivu for now, but internal discussions are underway to look at South Kivu and Kinshasa as this project expands,” she says.

She says for security reasons, citizen reporters will have to pass on their reports by either calling or e-mailing the project coordinating team in Goma. 
 
“Local reports in DRC can be made by calling a mobile phone. In Goma: 099 87 53 664; from the US: 243 99 87 53 664”.      
 
The complete URL is:
http://blog.ushahidi.com/index.php/2008/11/07/ushahidi-deploys-to-the-congo-drc/