We Stopped This Law (for a month)

The picture says it all, but the post must go on. (Follow the conversation on Twitter.)

Yesterday was a busy day. And now we wait. While you scan your Tweetdecks and iPhones, we want to report back to you on what’s happened so far, how you’ve responded, and what we might have achieved.

The Background

On Sunday 10 people met to discuss what, if anything, we would or could do about a new E-Transactions Law that was in the first 69 articles attempting to bring Lebanon into the present of online payments and privacy law, and in the second 22 articles threatening to catapult the country back, as Gabriel Deek said in an interview on LBC last week, “10, 20, or 30 years.”

After a briefing on the worrisome parts of the law by Gabriel Deek, those present decided to launch a 36-hour email/phone campaign asking MPs to postpone the vote, pending public review.

The Action and the Message

The following day, Monday, we emailed everyone we knew asking them to take action, either by calling their MP; forwarding the email to friends, families, and colleagues; posting on the Facebook pages of MPs and on the Stop This Law Facebook Page, and writing articles and blogposts.

As the online activity developed, we also worked offline, with Mr. Deek, the initiator of the campaign, and others, canvassing deputies and bringing to their attention the potential detrimental parts of the law. By the end of the day, members of the StopThisLaw campaign had met with deputies from all political stripes.

The Tactics Used to Implement the Action and Spread the Message

A yellow and orange tinted image that says Postpone the Vote

Graphic designer Naeema Zarif created a visual call to action as part of the #stopthisvote campaign.

1. Drafted a blog post bring together all links for easy access to the essential information. The Stop This Law Facebook page and Gabriel Deek’s blog and Twitter account started us all off. But Mr. Deek didn’t have the online reach he needed or the time to develop it since the vote would be in less than a week. That’s where established online networks came in (more later about what this achieved).

2. Drafted an email and send it to our networks. Also distribute it via email newsletter and Twitter. Give clear calls to actions. Note: So far we see two mistakes we made: 1)We should have also asked people to report back on the actions they took, by posting on the Facebook page or the blog. Some of this happened anyway. If you took some action, please let us know. 2) We should have named from the beginning all the organizations supporting this effort. They are, in no particular order:

  • Professional Computer Association (PCA)
  • Association of Lebanese Software Industry (ALSI)
  • Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture of Mount Lebanon
  • RootSpace / Hibr.me
  • Social Media Exchange (SMEX)
  • Women in Information Technology (WIT)
  • Lebanese Broadband Stakeholders Group
  • Internet Society-Lebanon Chapter
  • Lebanon Creative Cluster
  • Individual Activists from the Online Community

3. Make and receive phone calls to and from the deputies and journalists to whom we have access. Be prepared to explain the potentially detrimental articles of the law and ask for postponement pending review and comment.

4. Begin aggregating activity on Twitter and the blogs. Link to the document with all the posts, and ask people to update it.

5. Respond to questions and comments on online media.

6. Repeat.

The Analytics So Far

Here’s what we’ve counted so far:

Number of blogposts: 20

Number of newspaper articles, print and online: 4

Number of inquiries for future TV stories: 3

Number of inquiries from international press: 4

Total number of tweets using the #stopthislaw hashtag: 594
  • Number of tweets from yesterday till now using the #stopthislaw hashtag: 447 (according to search.twitter.com, advanced search)
Total number of Likes on Stop This Law Facebook page: 625 and growing fast
  • Growth since yesterday at 8 p.m.: 350
  • Growth since I started writing this post: 45

The Results

Way to bury the lead, I know. But we’re hearing now via @abbzzy via @lamias27 that the vote on the E-Transactions Law was postponed for one month, sent back to committee for revision. Congratulations, everyone! Now, let’s get to work on making it a law we’re comfortable with. Stay tuned for a call for comment…

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