Access the Unfreedom Monitor database

Image courtesy Ivan Sigal.

The Unfreedom Monitor is an Advox initiative to deepen our understanding of the relationship between technology and authoritarian power.

In the first phase of this project, researchers working in 11 countries and four key themes conducted analysis of incidents, narratives, and media items, to explain acts of digital authoritarianism and the discourse around them. This research accompanied and supported a briefing paper, case studies by country and theme, and a series of stories.

The analysis is based on Global Voices’ Civic Media Observatory methodology. Researchers identify and track key themes and narrative frames that emerge around events, trends and other phenomena. By using the same method of analysis across countries and thematic contexts, researchers are able to bring comparative power to their work.

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Advox is pleased to share the dataset that underpins this research on technology and authoritarianism. The dataset illuminates the connections between technologies of control used to bolster authoritarian governance and the claims that governments use to influence and manipulate the opinions and attitudes of populations.

The dataset is hosted on Airtable and offers numerous points of entry for curious readers and researchers interested in exploring relationships within the data. For more details on how to navigate the dataset, click here.

The dataset illuminates the relationships between incidents, media items, media sources, narratives, themes, technologies of control, people and entities of interest, and locations. For instance, exploring the impact of a narrative frame, readers can click to see which people/entities espouse this frame and then continue to see what other narratives they have expressed. It is possible to see whether narrative frames are applicable to more than one country, and, if so, which media items express them.

This phase of Unfreedom Monitor research was conducted between January and March 2022. We documented incidents about the use of technology that controlled or harmed rights in Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, India, Morocco, Myanmar, Russia, Sudan, Tanzania, Turkey, and Zimbabwe. We also explored four cross-cutting themes: data governance, speech, access, and information.

Phase II launched in June 2022, with the addition of new countries: Ecuador, Tanzania, Venezuela, El Salvador, and Hungary. We will continue to update the public dataset throughout the course of the research.

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Please visit the project page for more pieces from the Unfreedom Monitor.

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