ITvism-IT venue living up to its social responsibility
Because of their work in the capital involving their actively roaming Beirut’s neighborhoods and streets, it was only natural for those activists to deplore the countless traffic violations committed every day, deliberately or accidentally, with open impunity and without any respect for or recognition of the rights and freedoms of others. Contrary to the majority of Lebanese who bemoan rampant violations yet do not move a muscle to prevent them, this group decided that it was high time to speak up and make their grievances heard. Thus, they designed an unorthodox campaign, combining, wit and humor, to express their annoyance at the encroachments and exercise their legitimate right to report violations, thereby encouraging citizens to follow suit and practice accountability in a country where law enforcement has become a seasonal flurry. 
Traffic offences, greeted with social apathy, constituted the trigger signaling the start of the zealous Kamashtak outbreak. The campaign was launched by ITvism 
(, a non-profit initiative established in 2011 with the aim to foster IT awareness, train the civil society sector in the latest social media developments and create and manage digital platforms that function at the service of social causes. Incubated within KAZAMEDIA, ITvism was the result of merger and harmonization between three core units: the 2010 WEDIA campaign launched by IT geeks to promote the NGOs’ online presence and professionalize their social and digital venues, the technical expertise and know-how of ITvism, and the Kamashtak campaign which avowed to mainstream the culture of accountability and the rule of law.

In a bid to promote civic engagement and persuade citizens and stakeholders to be catalysts for social change and active players in vetoing unethical practices and breaking social apathy, the campaign came up with an original approach to expose the violators’ wrongdoing, without subjecting them to traffic penalties or tickets. The gist is simple. A team of volunteers takes to the streets and puts the Kamashtak stickers on those cars parked in unauthorized spaces such as the sidewalks or on-street restricted second-lane spots. Then, the team takes a picture of the car in question and uploads it to Kamashtak website, making sure to expose its plate number to the public.

“Kamashtak has surfaced to give a helping hand to both the traffic police and the citizens and to try to decongest the bottlenecks, while at the same time, promoting the rule of law and addressing the passiveness infiltrating our social ranks“

“The number of traffic policemen assigned for Beirut is too small to be able to detect all violations. Kamashtak has surfaced to give a helping hand to both the traffic police and the citizens and to try to decongest the bottlenecks, while at the same time, promoting the rule of law and addressing the passiveness infiltrating our social ranks and leaving us well behind other civilized countries,” says the president of ITvism, Ahmad Karout. 

The campaign quickly gained traction and its influence has manifested itself in the state’s rapid responsiveness to the complaints posted on the social networking sites of the Internal Security Forces and the Traffic Management Center. Negotiations are also under way to link the Kamashtak platform to the website of Ministry of Public Works and Transport. According to Karout, the campaign has fulfilled its objective in the sense that it has exposed the violations, and they have been referred to the relevant authorities to deal with them. 

Having sensed positive feedback towards their initiative, Kamashtak campaigners decided to expand their scope of activity so as to expose all the violations contributing to severe bottlenecks at the entrances to Beirut. From unauthorized parking, they moved to highlight poor road conditions, such as unlit highways and pot holes, and the rights of pedestrians to sidewalks. 

In order to earn further credibility, Kamshtak was keen to continue its pursuits for public awareness and reformative. It has recently added to its list of activities a new initiative that stands unparalleled in a society riddled with censorship measures branded, to put it mildly, as “selective”. This time, Kamashtak campaigners shifted their scrutiny from the roads to the media. Their new platform, Fitni-Meter (, singles out inciting rhetoric in the Lebanese media by dissecting political talk shows and news bulletins and allowing the public to assess the degree of incitement and hatred provoked by journalists and interlocutors in local media. Knowing that Lebanon’s steep political and sectarian queues can jeopardize the objectivity of judgments, the campaigners subjected media materials not only to the public vote but also to that of a neutral panel of media experts, allowing them to have their say on media performance. According to Karout, this method hopes to maintain the autonomy and professional edge of local media by making those journalists or TV shows that add fuel to the fire to reconsider their media performance. 

Regarding his position on traditional media, Karout asserts that the television remains Lebanon’s most popular source of news while the public sees newspapers as more credible than any other media outlet.  Conversely, he argues that alternative media is a reality that needs to be embraced and harnessed in today’s digitally charged world, urging people to make the best use of what it has to offer in backing civil society causes. 


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