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Women in Egypt thronging to social media to reveal sexual assaults, hold abusers to account

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In Cairo, secrets long suppressed have been rising to the surface — and with them hopes the country may be experiencing a feminist movement capable of challenging the culture of impunity that has long accompanied gender-based violence in Egypt.

Online testimonials over the summer by hundreds of women on social media accounts offering anonymity have led authorities to open investigations into two alleged rape cases involving young men from wealthy and influential families.

“Egypt is on fire,” said Mozn Hassan, head of the women’s rights organization Nazra for Feminist Studies. “On fire for more than three months talking about different incidents in different sections and layers [of society].”

Social media, she said, has offered Egyptian women a safe “public sphere” that lets them know they are not alone.

In July, that space led to the arrest of a former American University in Cairo (AUC) student named Ahmed Bassem Zaki, accused of raping a number of women and blackmailing them for sexual favours. A Cairo court has set Oct. 14 as a trial date for Zaki.

“We at first just wanted him to admit it, that he did these things,” said Sabah Khodir, an Egyptian writer and poet who was one of the first to post online warnings about Zaki when she started to hear about his alleged behaviour from friends.

WATCH | How Egyptian society shapes men’s perceptions of women:

 

They see us truly as objects’ 0:38

It set off a tidal wave with another Instagram account called Assault Police, encouraging women to share any information they had on Zaki.

“Then girls kept coming forward from all over parts of the world,” Khodir said. “We realized we actually have a shot at finally getting a serial rapist and predator in jail in Egypt that has money and power.”

It also led to an outpouring of other accounts of sexual abuse and harassment as women opened up about their experiences, some buried deep in the past.

Khodir left Egypt for the United States last year after she herself was sexually assaulted. She said it wasn’t until after Zaki’s accusers started speaking out that she felt able to tell her own story of being abused by a trusted friend.

“There was a lot of manipulation involved, a lot of, you know, but look at what you’re wearing,” she said. “I think these men never look at women as people … you know, women are like lollipops or women are like diamonds or women are like cars. If it leaves its door open, it wants to be stolen.”

She said she never spoke of it to her parents, but her mother guessed after Khodir became more outspoken online.

Definition of rape ‘limited’ in Egypt

Challenging the status quo in a socially conservative and autocratic patriarchy like Egypt can be both difficult and dangerous.

Predators are able to hide in the weeds of a distorted morality, enabled by a society where victims of sexual harassment and violence have long been blamed and shamed into silence.

“It will be like, oh, he’s bad, but you’re also wrong,” Khodir said. “And goodness, you don’t want to be wrong and a woman in the Middle East because you’re not forgiven for being wrong. It’s like you don’t make mistakes. You’re born a mistake. And that’s really it.”

There are some 102 million people living in Egypt, nearly half of them female. The country places 134th out of 153 on the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Report.

In 2013, a United Nations survey found that 99 per cent of Egyptian women polled said they’d experienced some form of sexual harassment. Women in Egypt today say not much has changed since then.

“It either [happens] in college or school situations,” said one young woman interviewed by CBC News in Cairo in August. “It could be even the street, especially the metro. The metro is not a safe environment.”

“There are victims everywhere, even at work,” said another. “And ladies will not report it ever because they’re afraid of all the scandals that happen.”

 

Protesters, including a large number of women, gather in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Feb. 1, 2011, demanding the resignation of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarek. In the midst of large crowds during the Arab Spring protests, some women were assaulted, surrounded by groups of men and abused. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

 

In 2011 in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicentre of Egypt’s Arab Spring, a large number of women joined the protests demanding the fall of Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak, who at the time had been president since 1981.

They were heady days, with the country balancing on the edge of a potential new dawn. But in the crowds, some women were assaulted, surrounded by groups of men, stripped and abused by penetrating hands.

That doesn’t count as rape in Egypt.

“We don’t have a definition of sexual violence,” said feminist Mozn Hassan, who used her NGO to help victims at the time. “And the definition of rape is limited. So rape with a sharp object, oral rape, anal rape, is not a rape.”

Arrests signal ‘a paradigm shift’

There are signs, though, that the Egyptian government is feeling the pressure of recent events. In August, the country’s parliament passed a bill aimed at ensuring the anonymity of victims and witnesses in sexual assault cases.

Nehad Abul Komsan, a lawyer who heads the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, points to a second case authorities are investigating after allegations were posted on the Assault Police account about a gang rape at a Cairo hotel in 2014.

“To have a case six years ago and [the] public prosecutor open investigation in this case — this is completely new in the judiciary system at all. That’s why I believe it is a paradigm shift.”

 

Defendants accused of mob sexual assaults stand behind bars in a Cairo court in June 2014. A trial began against 13 men charged in connection with the assaults on women during public rallies in and around Tahrir Square, causing public outrage in the conservative Arab country. (Al Youm Al Saabi Newspaper/Reuters)

 

Police issued arrest warrants for eight young men accused of gang raping a young woman and videotaping the incident at a private party at the Fairmont Nile City, a luxury hotel. Authorities even extradited three of them from Lebanon.

As in the Zaki case, they were wealthy men from influential families.

“I knew two of these guys, so I was, like, very triggered,” said Raguia Mostafa, another woman who found herself confronting her own history when Egyptian women started sharing their stories this past summer.

“It kind of just reminded me of my own incidents when I was raped and when I was abused.”

WATCH | Changing societal attitudes in Egypt:

 

Egyptian Raguia Mostafa, who has been advocating for women’s rights from outside Egypt, talks about changing societal attitudes by urging mothers to raise their sons to respect women. 0:37

Like Khodir, Mostafa has left Egypt, fortunate enough to have the means to do so, she said. A graduate of AUC, she speaks five languages and is currently living in Mexico City.

Her molestation at the age of 11 by an older friend whom she maintained a relationship with for years is just one instance of abuse she speaks about.

When she decided to confront him, there were repercussions, Mostafa said.

“He has all these screenshots that he’s using against me. Like ‘she can’t say I groped her if she did this consensually later.’ It’s like, no man, I can because I was a kid. I didn’t understand. And the fact that it took me 12 years to realize what you did to me is f–king scary. But he won’t acknowledge that. Instead he chose to threaten my parents.”

It’s not just a judgmental society women have to take into account as they navigate these issues, but an authoritarian regime that can give with one hand while taking away with the other.

 

Authorities in Egypt are investigating after allegations of a gang rape in 2014 at the Fairmont Nile City luxury hotel were posted on an Instagram account. Arrest warrants were issued for eight young men accused of gang raping a young woman and videotaping the incident at a private party. (Samer Abdallah/AFP via Getty Images)

 

Authorities, for example, might have arrested the young men accused in the Fairmont case. But they also arrested some of the witnesses, using images from their phones to charge them with immoral behaviour. One woman was apparently subjected to a virginity test.

“It’s just insane how much power the government has,” Mostafa said.  “The fact that the government can just arrest rape victims and witnesses to a rape just like that for no premise. No one can do anything about it.”

Regime tough on ‘TikTok girls’

A Human Rights Watch report has also accused the Egyptian regime of deliberately targeting and jailing female social media influencers. Charged with “inciting debauchery,” some have been given jail sentences of two years just for dancing on TikTok.

The “TikTok girls,” as they’re widely known, come from poorer social classes than the women involved in the Zaki or Fairmont cases — meaning they have fewer tools at their disposal to defend themselves.

“I think we have to see it within the context of how this regime is trying to control everything,” Hassan said, referring to a relatively new cyber-crime law being employed by the government aimed at the abuse of “Egyptian family values.”

Hassan herself has been subject to a travel ban since 2016, a form of harassment regularly employed by the Egyptian government.

Nehad Abul Komsan said it’s important not to divide women experiencing oppression and abuse into different categories, such as rich and poor.

“Being economically empowered doesn’t mean you’re not afraid from social stigma or condemning. All the families, they feel there is a problem that would affect their [daughters’ futures] and their chances of marriage and all this stuff. There is no difference of being poor or rich on this issue.”

It makes it clear just how deep societal change will have to be for real progress to arrive in a country where women still make up only 24.7 per cent of the workforce.

 

Women chant slogans as they protest against sexual assault and rape in front of the opera house in Cairo in June 2014, after a woman was sexually assaulted by a mob during celebrations marking the inauguration of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Tahrir Square. (Asmaa Waguih/Reuters)

 

Raguia Mostafa said she will not return to Egypt, unwilling to accept the limits it would place upon her.

“Instead of protect your daughters and tell your daughters not to go out at night or tell them to dress a certain way, I would much rather for the dialogue to form into like, teach your men, teach your sons to respect women,” she said.

Sabah Khodir said she would like to return from the U.S. one day but is unsure if she can. It’s one reason why she’s uneasy labelling what’s happening in Egypt as the country’s #MeToo movement, saying the consequences are different in Egypt.

“The consequences aren’t that I tell my story, and the worst thing that’s going to happen is that somebody is going to say I’m a liar. The consequences [are] that I’m going to tell my story and there’s a very good chance I might not see my family again,” she said.

“Or there’s a very good chance that someone’s going to try to hurt me and harm me into being quiet. And there’s a very good chance that I’m going to walk out of this with absolutely nothing.”

Source: – CBC.ca

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ImagineAR Announces Andrew Beranbom, CEO & Founder of First Tube Media, as Advisor to CEO to Launch Immersive AR Live Music Streaming Activations – Canada NewsWire

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VANCOUVER, BC and ERIE, Pa., Oct. 26, 2020 /CNW/ – ImagineAR (CSE: IP) (OTCQB: IPNFF) an Augmented Reality Company that enables sports teams, brands and businesses to instantly create their own mobile phone AR campaigns, is pleased to announce that Andrew Beranbom has joined the Company as an Advisor to the CEO for the purpose of launching Immersive AR Engagement during Live Streaming Branded Music Concerts.  Mr. Beranbom is the CEO & Founder of First Tube Media with current clients including GrubHub, St. Jude’s Hospital and Tito’s Vodka.  ImagineAR believes Mr. Beranbom will significantly accelerate the Company’s presence and revenue in Live Streaming Branded Music Concerts.

Andrew Beranbom said; “ImagineAR is the most advanced AR platform in the market today and I am excited to have the opportunity to dig in deeper into their innovative capabilities and leverage the platform to bring next gen engagement experiences for brands.  With the explosion of livestream creation and consumer behavior it is an exciting time to think through the next phase of innovation around consumer engagement and how to bring in the 2nd screen to live media experiences and create demonstrable ROI.

Since the pandemic started, First Tube Media has executed over 50+ brand owned exclusive livestreams with companies including Grubhub, Northwell Health, MasterCard, Chase, CDW, Tito’s Vodka creating must watch “tune in moments” that have engaged over 60 million fans via a variety of premier artists from Camila Cabello, Questlove, Meghan Trainor and just over the past 6 weeks most recently 3 #1 Billboard artists Morgan Wallen, Ian Diorr and 24kGolden.

“Andrew is a forward-thinking entrepreneur and truly understands the enormous potential of integrating Augmented Reality for Brand Sponsored Live Streaming Events to drive engagement,” said Alen Paul Silverrstieen, CEO and President of Imagine AR. “With today’s paradigm shift in digital live experiences, Mobile Augmented Reality is a perfect engagement technology to compliment First Tube Media’s innovative digital live experiences and drive revenue.”

This press release is available on the Company’s AGORACOM Discussion Forum, a moderated social media platform that enables civilized discussion and Q&A between Management and Shareholders.

About First Tube Media

First Tube Media brings the live industry together to create must-watch live cultural moments. Its platform enables talent, event creators and sponsors to find each other and connect via a full-service approach operating premium live stream creation and proprietary distribution services that deliver endless online exposure and clear ROI. The company is a full-service team of music industry experts, film makers, digital marketing experts, and software developers creating Tune-In worthy branded live content distributed and optimized for ROI. Clients Include GrubHub, Tito’s Vodka, MasterCard, Northwell Health and St. Jude’s Hospital. www.firsttubemedia.com

About ImagineAR

ImagineAR Inc. (CSE: IP) (OTC: IPNFF) is an augmented reality (AR) platform, ImagineAR.com, that enables businesses of any size to create and implement their own AR campaigns with no programming or technology experience. Every organization, from professional sports franchises to small retailers, can develop interactive AR campaigns that blend the real and digital worlds. Customers simply point their mobile device at logos, signs, buildings, products, landmarks and more to instantly engage videos, information, advertisements, coupons, 3D holograms and any interactive content all hosted in the cloud and managed using a menu-driven portal. Integrated real-time analytics means that all customer interaction is tracked and measured in real-time. The AR Enterprise platform supports both IOS and Android mobile devices and upcoming wearable technologies.

All trademarks of the property of respective owners.

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD

Alen Paul Silverrstieen
President & CEO

(818) 850-2490
https://twitter.com/IPtechAR
https://www.facebook.com/imaginationparktechnologies
https://www.instagram.com/iptechar
https://www.linkedin.com/company/imagination-park-technologies-inc

We encourage you to do your own due diligence and ask your broker if Imagine AR Inc. (cse: IP) is suitable for your particular investment portfolio*.

The Canadian Securities Exchange has neither approved nor disapproved the contents of this press release. This press release may include ‘forward-looking information’ within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation, concerning the business of the Company. The forward- looking information is based on certain key expectations and assumptions made by Imagination Park’s management. Although Imagine AR believes that the expectations and assumptions on which such forward- looking information is based are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on the forward-looking information because Imagine AR can give no assurance that it will prove to be correct. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this press release, and Imagine AR disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise, other than as required by applicable securities laws.

SOURCE ImagineAR

For further information: or to explore working with Imagination Park, please email [email protected], or visit www.imagineAR.com.

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Media Beat: October 26, 2020 | FYIMusicNews – FYI Music News

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However blue you may feel, just thank the bejesus you aren’t living in the madness that is the UK today

Jonathan Pie explains

[embedded content]

Rogers tops forecasts as wireless, media units rebound from pandemic impact

Rogers Communications kicked off its industry’s fall earnings season Thursday by reporting a healthy recovery from the early months of the pandemic, although the results remained lower than last year as its advertisers and consumers continued to grapple with the virus’s economic fallout.

The Toronto-based wireless, cable and media company said Thursday it earned $512 million or $1.01 per diluted share for the quarter ended Sept. 30. – The Canadian Press

Corus Q4 profit rises, revenues down

On an adjusted basis, Corus earned $33.2 million or 16 cents per share in its Q4, up from an adjusted profit of $27.9 million or 13 cents per share a year ago.

Corus Entertainment revenue totalled $318.4 million, down from $377.5 million, as the disruptions caused by the pandemic depressed advertising revenue — especially in radio.

The television segment, which includes the Nelvana animation and merchandising business and Corus Studios, saw revenue fall to $299.1 million from nearly $343.8 million.

The Corus radio segment, which owns 39 stations that sell advertising time, saw revenue drop 43 percent from a year earlier to $19.3 million from $33.7 million. – David Paddon, The Canadian Press

Tommy Schnurmacher: My parents survived the Holocaust — I can get through a pandemic

I am a child of Holocaust survivors. I know how to catastrophize. With my mother’s milk, I ingested the panic and anxiety of impending disaster and not knowing if there will be enough food to eat. Within hours of our plane landing back in Montreal, I prevailed on a tsk-tsking Harold to indulge me in shopping for a food order big enough for a family of six.

Some of it is still in the freezer.

My family has not been short of food since we arrived in Canada from Hungary more than half a century ago. But never mind that. I can tell you the anxiety never disappears. There was an unstated reason why we all ate so quickly.

I only managed to calm down when I saw the pink towers of Rio tuna cans piled side by side in the pantry. – The Montreal Gazette

Terence Corcoran weighs in on the Big Tech debate

The only form of censorship that should be feared and opposed is that imposed by governments — a risk that could materialize if the U.S. Congress and the president have their way with their attacks on Twitter and Facebook and on Big Tech in general.

The objective of all the attacks has been clearly articulated in general terms, both by Democrats and Republicans. They want to revise or even scrap a section of the U.S. Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996, a revolutionary piece of legislation that has allowed America to become the global heartland of internet innovation and development — and a global force for free speech. – Financial Post

Netflix Q3 numbers

Netflix has just announced its Q3 results, showing that the streamer added 2.2 million subscribers for the quarter and reaching 195.15 million global subscribers in total by September 30. This quarter’s addition was slightly lower than the company’s estimated 2.6 million growth.

The company noted that the slowdown in growth was due to an incredibly strong first half of the year. – Jess Barnes, Cord Cutters News

Penske Media & MRC announce data joint venture

Penske Media Corporation, the media company behind publications such as Billboard, Variety, and Rolling Stone has announced a joint venture with MRC, to align their data businesses.

The newly formed company will combine MRC Data, formerly known as Nielsen Music, Alpha Data, formerly known as BuzzAngle, and Variety Business Intelligence, with control and ownership over the combined entity shared by MRC and PMC. – Ian Courtney, Celebrity Access

The problem with tech monopolies: from both sides of the political aisle

Both Democrats and Republicans don’t like tech companies right now. They both use the same words. They talk about antitrust, they talk about monopoly, but they both want different outcomes.

In the end, what’s happening is the companies are in the middle of a political fight over their ability to change the conversation. And two sides want very, very different things out of their ability to shape and to control speech. There’s not really a process here that is democratic or open. These decisions are being made in private rooms based upon external political pressure. – The Wall Street Journal

Woke-washing: How fast fashion brands use social issues for sales

When Channel 4’s Inside Missguided documentary aired this summer, critics were quick to highlight the disparity between the “boss babe” culture it presented and the reality of the fast-fashion brand’s operations.

The show placed female empowerment at the heart of the Missguided ethos, with no mention of the anti-feminist issues within the company – from the exploitation of female garment workers in their global supply chain to the 46 percent pay gap in favour of men.

This is just one example of what is being coined ‘woke-washing’. – Kavita Ashton, Euronews

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QYOU Media: At The Forefront Of The Influencer Marketing Trend – The Deep Dive

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The influencer marketplace is something to behold. On Instagram alone, the market size, as per a recent Statista report, is estimated as being US$2.3 billion in 2020, which is a significant gain from the $0.7 billion figure from 2017. A Business Insider Intelligence report published last December meanwhile estimates that the market will grow to US$15 billion across all social media platforms by just 2022.

The rise in demand from such marketing has lead to the inevitable – publicly traded companies are now becoming involved. The latest being that of BroadbandTV, operating under BBTV Holdings (TSX: BBTV) whom just this past week announced the pricing of their IPO with the the company aiming to raise $172.4 million through the sale of just 12.4% of the company. While they own one of the largest creator networks currently, they are not to be the only publicly traded firm operating in this niche.

Although BroadbandTV will be the latest to market, they are certainly not the first. Canadian small cap company QYOU Media (TSXV: QYOU) has actually been slugging it out in the space for quite some time, with the company also focused on developing its India-based entertainment platform known as The Q India through the use of influencers and social media stars.

QYOU’s approach to influencers is actually two-fold. The first method in which influencers are utilized is for its entertainment brand, The Q India. Here, the company utilizes influencers and digital creators to create original content in which it distributes on its platform in the form of both traditional (linear) television, and that of video on demand, as well as “over-the-top” (think Roku) and mobile platforms.

The second method, is that the company utilizes its network of influencers to conduct social media marketing. In this arena, the company will assist its clients with creative strategy, influencer deals, in-house production, media amplification and channel management.

With the influencer marketing division predominantly focused on the US market, the company largely provides marketing services for third party brands. The company traditionally has been primarily engaged with major studios to promote theatrical releases for motion pictures.

With the advent of COVID-19, that has now changed slightly.

Given the lack of operational theatres, the company has had to slightly refocus on its target market for this influencer marketing. As a result, the company announced this past week that it has begun focusing on a slightly different market for motion pictures. Rather than solely focus on theatrical releases, the company has now found demand for its influencer marketing services in three segments for motion picture markets.

  • Theatrical and Premium Video On Demand – Major motion pictures slated to be released directly to consumers at high purchase prices.
  • Subscription On Demand – Direct to consumer content that is consumed by platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc.
  • Advertiser Video On Demand – Free to consumer offerings that are supported by advertisements on platforms such as Roku, Pluto, Tubi and Peacock.

And with this, the company announced that is has secured US$710,000 in new contracts for influencer marketing services over the course of September and October.

To get a sense of how effective QYOU is at influencer marketing, lets look at a project the company took on earlier this year. As a result of the pandemic, Dreamworks Universal decided to release Trolls World Tour via direct to consumer, rather than taking the theatrical release approach. While unusual for a film of this magnitude, the company was left with little option due to the state of theatres across North America.

The Q influencer team had initially been hired by Dreamworks to promote the theatrical release, but was asked to pivot the campaign as a result of the change in release plans. QYOU worked with 19 influencers for the project, generating over 57 million organic video views and achieving a 17% engagement rate. The custom TikTok channel created for the film also managed to acquire 314,000 subscribers as well.

The end result is that Trols World Tour became the largest direct to video success in history, with the film generating over $100 million in revenue. It also proved just how effective influencer marketing campaigns can be.

Looking forward, QYOU has identified a number of new potential growth areas that can aide in further scaling the influencer marketing division. Opportunities such as media placements, merchandising, talent management, channel management for brands, production services, and original IP development present new avenues for further growth for the firm.

Audiences have changed the way in which they consume their content. Rather than the traditional methods of television, consumers now utilize a number of sources such as YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and more to obtain their entertainment. From this, valuable opportunities exist for marketing, branding, and more as businesses look to sell their products to the world. Naturally, agencies at the forefront of this trend will ultimately benefit the most.

QYOU Media last traded at $0.065 on the TSX Venture.


FULL DISCLOSURE: QYOU Media is a client of Canacom Group, the parent company of The Deep Dive. The author has been compensated to cover QYOU Media on The Deep Dive, with The Deep Dive having full editorial control. Additionally, the author personally holds shares of the company. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security.

As the founder of The Deep Dive, Jay is focused on all aspects of the firm. This includes operations, as well as acting as the primary writer for The Deep Dive’s stock analysis. In addition to The Deep Dive, Jay performs freelance writing for a number of firms and has been published on Stockhouse.com and CannaInvestor Magazine among others.

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