mrivera.jpgMilagros Rivera is the chair of the Communications and New Media Program at the National University of Singapore. Dr. Rivera obtained a SGD$1.6 million grant to add a stream in communication management (public relations) and another in interactive media (games & visual design and human-computer interaction) to CNM. Dr. Rivera led an interdisciplinary team of researchers pursuing a SGD$10 million grant proposal for the creation of a Center for Social Media, granted by The Media Development Authority of Singapore February 2009. She regularly conducts research in regulatory efficiency, ICT comparative policy, online privacy, e-government and information, and communication technologies and development (ICT&D). Her work has been published in Science Technology and Society, Communications of the AMC, New Media and Society, Journalism and Mass Communication Monographs, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Journalism History, The Urban Lawyer, Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal, Federal Communications Law Journal, World Internet Law Report, Communications and the Law, Cuadernos de InformaciĆ³n (a Chilean academic journal), Asian Pacific Law and Policy Journal, Media Asia and Asian Journal of Communication. From 1999 to 2003, she was the author of the broadcast regulation chapter in Communication and the Law, a media law book published by Vision Press, U.S.A.

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"Language policies are often completely imbued with politics. For example, Urdu is spoken as the official language in Pakistan but less than 10 % of the population speaks Urdu. And so these decisions are made on the basis of religion and politics and power struggles that have nothing to do with the language that the majority of people speak."

"You can set up certain things but people are going to do what they want to do and that's the beauty of social media, that if people don't think that you're providing the platform for them to express themselves in the way they choose, they'll go elsewhere."

"I think part of it has to do with the fact that when people are able to access content in their own language, then you probably will have more diversity of content."

Culture of Sharing

"I wonder about the culture of sharing. In some countries people have this desire to share and I think that's more common in western countries or countries where people have a certain level of education."

Reliable Sources

"Overall, people prefer to find sources in Wikipedia in English or some other language that they would know and they consider those more reliable than any sources done by people in their own language. There's the language issue and the choice of language for them but also because of some deep rooted suspicions. I know that's the case in countries here. In Vietnam, the government has control and those major searches for example have filters to control certain types of political content."

"It may not really be that they monitor those things but if there is a culture of that then they might seek info through channels that they think are out of the reach of the government."

"Facebook is not easily available and you have to be quite resourceful to get it. So overall people don't go to those sources. They find other avenues where they want info to be more neutral."

Tertiary Institutions

"I really think that Wikipedia could do a better job if they hooked up with tertiary institutions or even high schools - but especially universities and try to incentivize people to talk about certain issues or areas. That seems to me a more reasonable way of bringing not only diversity but quality to the content."

Talk to Local People

"I would do some research, focus groups, some attempts to see who are the people who are contributing; to talk to them. What compels them to participate and contribute? And then talk to the ones who don't and why don't they? Understand what are the differences between the contributors and the non-contributors and what are the factors that are keeping people from becoming involved and collaborating."

"It would be really cool if they could just have a series of general small gatherings at various places where youth hangs out, especially cyber cafes. What do they do when they go to cyber cafes? What are the things that get them interested?Just some focus groups to understand ways that motivate them to participate or collaborate in some kind of online community."

"Unless you talk to the local people and truly understand what keeps them from contributing, getting info from someone (non local) who lives there and knows the locals doesn't really give you insight into the reality of what's happening with the local people - especially the young people."

"You can create all these things on the basis of what people want to tell you, but unless you really talk to people you're not going to know the truth."


"Teachers could actually collaborate on a project and begin to create this content and I think once people begin to contribute things online, it may create a sense of pride in what their contributing and they may become incentivized themselves and encourage others to do it."

"In some cultures, interaction -the sociality aspect - is tremendously important, so if you allow for that kind of oral history, visual oral combined, it would be fun for them to create these things and they would enjoy doing it."


"The moment that you begin to demand that the citations are links, you're precluding people in places where access is limited or difficult from contributing."

"The truth is that if you could develop a little application that allows people to easily upload short videos, photographs, those kinds of things or even just speech - you then will have opportunities for people to do it without having to go out of their way."

"I definitely think there's something interesting to be done there and it doesn't have to be text, but it could be a combination of text, video and photographs. It could be a combination of things, it doesn't have to be only one way or the other.

Funneling Content

"Allowing people to submit text messages or all kinds of other sources would provide access and content that otherwise would not be available. And if they don't want to do that, down the line other resources will come up that will accept that. Wikipedia may simply evolve or if they insist on staying a particular way, some other service will provide the content in some other form."

Types of Content

I think the question that they need to ask is which content do they want to increase? What are the limitations that those people have? And what are the potential avenues to provide ways for these limitations to be removed?

"If you already preclude some forms of content versus others then you expect that people in countries where access is limited to submit in the same way in other paces where people have 24 hour online connections, then it is obviously not going to work. So they're going to have to change the way that they're looking at this."

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This research was done by Corey Boling, a graduate student at Columbia University. Email him at

This is a page under The Use of Video a sub-topic of Wikimedia in the Arab World.
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