Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Afstan: More interactive Canadian government website

The updated website ("Canada's Engagement in Afghanistan") is well worth exploring; the map is quite something. The official news release:
Minister Cannon Showcases Afghanistan Mission E-Media Tools

Interactive Map



March 25, 2009 - The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today presented a suite of e-media tools designed to give Canadians more information about Canada’s mission in Afghanistan. The e-tools include downloadable videos and photos, an interactive map and social media sites. They are available at

“This government is committed to providing Canadians with accurate, up-to-date information on the country’s important work in Afghanistan,” said Minister Cannon. “Iinvite all Canadians to visit the website and learn about how Canada is improving the lives of Afghans and, alongside our international partners, contributing to strengthened global peace and security.

“With these new e-tools, and through interactive technology, Canadians can better understand Canada’s role and priorities in Afghanistan,” said Minister Cannon. “This is an important step in fulfilling one of the key recommendations of the Independent Panel on Canada’s Future Role in Afghanistan: to provide the public with franker and more frequent reporting on events in Afghanistan and Canadian efforts there.”

Since the release of the Independent Panel’s report in January 2008, the website has gone through a major overhaul, and its reach has expanded into the realm of new social media. Canadians are increasingly turning to the website for information on the mission. The multimedia products were developed to help inform Canadians on the country’s military, diplomatic and development activities in Afghanistan, and to provide specific information on Canada’s six priorities, as well as stories from the field, progress statistics and information on upcoming events.

The government’s quarterly reports to Parliament on Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan, the principal tool for reporting to Canadians on the mission’s progress, are also available on the website.

In addition, the Focus Afghanistan e-newsletter, published by the Government of Canada, is available to Canadians by email subscription on the website.

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CTV story:
Ottawa expands Afghan website in bid to sell mission

The federal government is taking new steps to better sell the mission in Afghanistan to Canadians.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon announced on Wednesday a number of new online tools to provide information about the work Canada is doing there.

Downloadable videos and photos and an interactive map are among the "e-tools" the government has added to the main mission website

Cannon said the move is intended to fulfill one of the recommendations of John Manley's report on Afghanistan. That report recommended the government provide the public with "franker and more frequent reporting on events in Afghanistan and Canadian efforts there."

Cannon, who recently returned from a visit to Afghanistan, said that is the goal of the updated website.

"We're committed to giving as much information as possible to Canadians about the Afghan mission," he told CTV's Canada AM on Wednesday [March 25--video here].

The goal of the website, he said, is to keep Canadians informed not just on military progress in Afghanistan, but also on diplomatic and development work funded by Ottawa, such as the signature Dahla Dam project, polio eradication efforts and education initiatives.

"You can go to the different projects, bring them up, see that the benchmark is there but also at the same time witness the progress that is being made not only by our troops but by our civilians that are on-site," Cannon said.

The site will also provide updates on Canada's six priorities:

* security, especially strengthening the Afghan National Army
* improving basic services such as education and healthcare
* meeting humanitarian needs ath the most critical times
* improved border management and co-operation with Pakistan
* helping develop a more-capable, self reliant government
* supporting Afghan-led reconciliation initiatives
Update: A pertinent comment at
Cool - pretty slick. Kudos to the techies and content developers who made this happen.

Now, how do we:
1) get taxpayers to read it, and
2) get MSM to cover more than just deaths and bad news?

Tony Prudori - Military News for Canadians
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"There's no pleasure on earth that's worth sacrificing for the sake of an extra five years in the geriatric ward of the Sunset Old People's Home." - Horace Rumpole


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