Addressing the Herd
Herdict Web is a project with global appeal and global reach. Ideally, our hope is for Herdict to be available to folks all over the world, with translation into many languages and dialects.
Of course, we can’t reach everyone…not yet, anyway! Thus, the Herdict team (which includes the OpenNet Initiative team) has thought long and hard about how to best serve the global population and determined that we’ll start with two languages: Chinese and Arabic.
Why Chinese and Arabic?
There are two main reasons for choosing these languages to start. The first is Internet penetration, and the second is the prevalence of filtering. China alone has approximately 253 million Internet users. The Arabic-speaking Middle East and North Africa follow with approximately 64 million (comparatively, Russia has 32 million, and thus Russian would make a great third choice!). In addition, both the Chinese and Arabic-speaking online populations contain significant activist communities, making them prime users for Herdict Web!
In addition to the Internet penetration rates for both regions, the high prevalence of Internet filtering as discovered by the OpenNet Initiative, makes the input of users in the regions invaluable. China’s practices are well-known, making headlines as recently as August for filtering the Internet during the Olympics. And although filtering practices vary as widely as customs from Morocco to Saudi Arabia, one thing is certain: filtering in the Arab world is on the rise.
What do you think?
Of course, as always, the Herdict team wants to hear from you! What do you think about our choices? What other languages should we consider for the future? Let us know!
-Jillian C. York