Global Voices is an international community of writers, bloggers and digital activists that translate and report on what is being said in citizen media worldwide. It is a non-profit project started at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School that grew out of an international bloggers' meeting held in December 2004. The organization was founded by Ethan Zuckerman and Rebecca MacKinnon. In 2008, it became an independent non-profit incorporated in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
When Global Voices was formed, Its objectives were: first, to enable and empower a community of "bridge bloggers" who "can make a bridge between two languages, or two cultures." Second to develop tools and resources to make achieving the first objective more effective. It has maintained a working relationship with mainstream media. Reuters, for example, gave Global Voices unrestricted grants from 2006 to 2008. For its contribution to innovation in journalism, Global Voices was granted the 2006 Knight-Batten Grand Prize. Global Voices was also recognized in 2009 with the University of Denver's Anvil of Freedom award for contributions to journalism and democracy.
The organization now states its goals as to:" Call attention to the most interesting conversations and perspectives emerging from citizens’ media around the world by linking to text, photos, podcasts, video and other forms of grassroots citizens’ media."
" Facilitate the emergence of new citizens’ voices through training, online tutorials, and publicizing the ways in which open-source and free tools can be used safely by people around the world".
Advocate for freedom of expression ... and protect the rights of citizen journalists ""
The organizations has a team of regional editors that aggregates and selects conversations from a variety of blogospheres, with a particular focus on non-Western and underrepresented voices.
Several projects have grown to become successful websites of their own with distinct communities.
Global Voices Advox (formerly Advocacy) is an international network of bloggers and activists who fight for online free speech and track threats against "netizens". Advox were among the first to recognize arrests and killings of bloggers (starting in 2007) and were instrumental in helping to shift the focus of international media rights organizations to include online writers.
Rising Voices seeks to empower under-represented communities to make their voices heard online by providing micro-grants to new projects; developing a series of participatory media tutorials; and cultivating a network of passionate citizen media activists. The first round of micro-grants were awarded in 2007 following a grant from Knight News Challenge Award.
Volunteers who wished to translate Global Voiced content from English into other languages formed Project Lingua in 2007. Since then, translation has become central to Global Voices. As of May 2015, there are over 40 translation sites, and many publish original content that is translated into English rather than the other way around.
RuNet Echo’s main purpose is to expand and deepen understanding of the Russian Internet (RuNet) and related online communities.
The Technology for Transparency Network was a participatory research and mapping project to gain a better understanding of the current state of online technology projects that increase transparency, government accountability, and civic engagement in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, South Asia, China, and Central & Eastern Europe. The project is co-funded by Open Society Institute's Information Program and Omidyar Network's Media, Markets & Transparency initiative, and aims to inform both programs' future investments toward transparency, accountability, and civic engagement technology projects.
During the United States presidential election of 2008 Global Voices was commissioned by Reuters to create a website, Voices without Votes, to track global online conversation about US politics and foreign policy. Amira al Hussaini was editor of the website, and Global Voices authors and editors all contributed in the 8 months leading up to Barack Obama's inauguration in January 2009.
From 2006-2007, Global Voices and human rights video organization WITNESS collaborated on a pilot project to monitor human rights citizen videos from around the world. The effort was led by Sameer Padania, and won Best New Media Project at the One World Media Awards in 2007. WITNESS developed The Hub as central part of their own website in 2008, launching a community forum where people can upload human rights videos themselves. The Hub was itself archived in 2010, and in collaboration with YouTube and social media curation site Storyful, Witness launched a YouTube Human Rights Channel in May 2012.