I Got 99 Problems, But Statistical Triangulation Ain’t One

I often have conversations with people about Internet penetration rates.

The point I’d like to make is that these statistics are complicated and it is hard to get at the “right” number. That’s why we try to triangulate — look at different sources of data to see if things seem right. We also should always assess the credibility of the source of the data.

For this example I chose mobile phone penetration.

Data sources:

ITU is the UN’s official statistics and these numbers come from the governments themselves who usually get the numbers from the telecommunications companies. These companies count number of SIM cards sold and it is not unusual for people to have multiple SIM cards. This is data to be highly skeptical about.

Caucasus Barometer, Gallup, and EBRD are surveys taken face-to-face in households. All use different sampling techniques and are collected by different organizations. None are perfect, but they’re as good as we’ve got. Of the three, I trust Gallup the least.

Noteworthy:
All of these were collected at different times of the year.

Margin of error varies in all of these.

A ~4-6 point difference is within the margin of error and shouldn’t be looked at with too much suspicion.

So what do we see?

– Look at the huge difference between the ITU and the Caucasus Barometer in all three countries in 2004.
– 2006 is a little better, but Georgia’s a little too far off to be left to chance.
– 2007 is a little questionable in both Armenia and Azerbaijan.
– 2008 is really off in Armenia and not great in Azerbaijan.
– 2009 isn’t bad.
– 2010 is all over the place. My thought is that by the time you’d are at more than three-quarters of households having phones, the ones that don’t are also probably the ones that are less likely be be surveyed – the poorest of the poor, for example.
– The 2011 difference between the CB and the ITU is likely due to SIM counting. While a household may own a phone, they may have a lot of SIMs too.

Let’s talk about sex baby (in Azerbaijan)

I’m writing about gender inequality in Azerbaijan (as usual) and was reminded about attitudes toward sex in the Caucasus.

I had read some reports a few years back that looked at adolescent sex in the Caucasus countries, but thought that I’d summarize some of the interesting findings here and contextualize with my own observations.

The NGO ASTRA Youth did a study of Eurasia overall, but the Azerbaijan report starts on page 9.

This report notes how adolescents in Azerbaijan are heavily monitored by family and their social environment.

The report doesn’t mention, but it should be obvious, that multi-generational households present another “challenge” to sexual privacy for Azerbaijani youth. The opportunities for them to be alone or alone with a partner in a household are seldom. This leads to some youth finding makeout spots in semi-public places.

The ASTRA report finds that a little over a half of Azerbaijani adolescence used any form of contraception during their first sexual experience. (And of those that did, nearly all used a condom.)

The ASTRA report drew a lot of its findings from the most comprehensive study of adolescent sexual behavior in Azerbaijan – a 2006 study by the UNFPA (page 31 is where the sex report is). While the sampling wasn’t fantastic, this is a glimpse into reality. Moreover, asking adolescents about their sexual activity, in particular in a society where it is frowned upon, is challenging. I would love to see something more in-depth done.

YOUNG MARRIAGE

Women ages 20-24 were asked when they first got married. 9.6% of urban respondents and 15.2% of rural respondents were married by age 18. (I wish they had separated Baku, regional cities, and rural, but alas.) Only 0.4% of urban and 1.1% of these women were married by age 15. (Table 10 shows breakdowns by region.)

In my observations, there is a strong expectation that new Azerbaijani wives begin having children. (Especially male children). Of the 15-19 year old married women, almost half (46.3%) of urban brides and two-thirds (65.7%) of rural brides have been pregnant or had a child.

SEXUAL ACTIVITY

In Azerbaijan there is a strong expectation for girls to remain virgins until they are married. (This is not the same case for boys.)

The UN survey asked 15-19 year old girls about their sexual activity (defined as sexually active in the last 4 weeks).

* 4.1% of Baku 15-19 year old girls reported being sexually active.
* 5.4% of urban 15-19 year old girls reported being sexually active (but a large number of those girls are married).
* 11.7% of rural 15-19 year old girls reported being sexually active (but again, a large number of those girls are married.)

With regard to virginity, 20-24 year old women were asked when they first had sex.

* 0.3% of Baku girls had sex by age 15, 9.2% had sex by age 18. 35.7% of Baku 20-24 year old girls had their first sexual experience at marriage.
* 0.4% of urban girls had sex by age 15, 9.3% had sex by age 18. 35.6% of urban 20-24 year old girls had their first sexual experience at marriage.
* 0.9% of rural girls had sex by age 15, 14.2% had sex by age 18. 46.0% of rural 20-24 year old girls had their first sexual experience at marriage.
* National average (although I strongly believe in separating rural and urban in these cases): 0.7% of girls had sex by age 15, 11.5% had sex by age 18. 39.3% of 20-24 year old girls had their first sexual experience at marriage.

FORCE

Sadly there are some notable results with regard to forced sex.

* 3% of married 15-25 year old women in Baku experienced spousal rape.
* 1.2% of all 15-24 year old women in Baku experienced rape as their first sexual experience.
* Nationally, 2.2% of married 15-25 year old women experienced spousal rape.
* Nationally, 2.2% of all 15-24 year old women experienced rape as their first sexual experience.

AGE

In my observations, it is not uncommon for Azerbaijani grooms to be older than brides. The data shows this as well. (See Tables 15 and 16 in the report.)

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

I’ve written on domestic violence in the region before, and it is fairly prevalent in Azerbaijan as well. See the last chapter of the UN report for more on this.

Summarizing all of this was interesting, but my next step will to do my own analysis of the DHS 2006 data on these issues. Stay tuned.

Tech inequality in Georgia

Link to full document.

While politicians love to cite percentage of Internet users as a meaningful metric for Internet development, this may not be the case. In this example from late 2011 in Georgia, we use that the sociodemographic differences between those that do not know what the Internet is, those who never use the Internet, and those that use the Internet daily are stark.
Moreover, there are tremendous differences between what daily Internet users are doing online and what those that infrequently access are doing.
Capital-enhancing activities like reading blogs, reading news, or searching for information are much more likely when the user is online daily.
So what are these weekly and monthly Internet users doing? NOT MUCH.

Thus, be skeptical when you read or hear about X% of people in a country are online. That may include the old man who got online at an Internet cafe once 4 years ago. It might include the woman who only uses the Internet when her son opens Skype for her on a holiday to speak with distant family.
These individuals are not experiencing the benefits of the Internet that the daily users are. And given that those with daily access tend to be those already advantaged in Georgian society, the Internet may contribute to greater inequality as those with resources continue to gain access to more resources: a Matthew Effect.

Technology Inequality in Azerbaijan

Link to full document.

While politicians love to cite percentage of Internet users as a meaningful metric for Internet development, this may not be the case. In this example from late 2011 in Azerbaijan, we use that the sociodemographic differences between those that do not know what the Internet is, those who never use the Internet, and those that use the Internet daily are stark.
What are Azerbaijani Internet users doing? If around half of daily users are noting these popular activities, where are the other half going?

Thus, be skeptical when you read or hear about X% of people in a country are online. That may include the old man who got online at an Internet cafe once 4 years ago. It might include the woman who only uses the Internet when her son opens Skype for her on a holiday to speak with distant family.

Azerbaijan is still in the early adopter stage of Internet diffusion. Thus it is unsurprising that elites are doing elite things online. As time goes on and more Azerbaijanis get online, it will be interesting to see what activities they engage in. If Azerbaijani later adopters are anything like those in Armenia and Georgia, we’ll see a tremendous gap between what elites are doing online and what everyone else does.

Technology Inequality in Armenia

Link to full version.

While politicians love to cite percentage of Internet users as a meaningful metric for Internet development, this may not be the case. In this example from late 2011 in Armenia, we use that the sociodemographic differences between those that do not know what the Internet is, those who never use the Internet, and those that use the Internet daily are stark.
Moreover, there are tremendous differences between what daily Internet users are doing online and what those that infrequently access are doing.
Capital-enhancing activities like reading blogs, reading news, or searching for information are much more likely when the user is online daily.
So what are these weekly and monthly Internet users doing? NOT MUCH.

Thus, be skeptical when you read or hear about X% of people in a country are online. That may include the old man who got online at an Internet cafe once 4 years ago. It might include the woman who only uses the Internet when her son opens Skype for her on a holiday to speak with distant family.
These individuals are not experiencing the benefits of the Internet that the daily users are. And given that those with daily access tend to be those already advantaged in Armenian society, the Internet may contribute to greater inequality as those with resources continue to gain access to more resources: a Matthew Effect.

Azerbaijan enjoys internet freedom, president says

Azerbaijan enjoys internet freedom, president says
BBC Monitoring International Reports – Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Excerpt from report by private Azerbaijani news agency Turan

6 November: President Ilham Aliyev has welcomed the participants in the Seventh Annual Internet Governance Forum under way in Baku [where the statement was apparently read out]. The forum has been organized by the UN and the Azerbaijani government.

[Passage omitted: General comments on the internet contained in Aliyev's welcoming address]

Aliyev believes that Azerbaijan pays special attention to development of information and communications technologies and the internet . About 65 per cent of the country’s population have internet access, and the country has already started to use the latest technology – 4G.

Aliyev believes that there is internet freedom in Azerbaijan . Thus, online radio and online TV, electronic newspapers and magazines, and foreign and domestic social networking websites are widespread in Azerbaijan . Thousands of bloggers act freely on the internet in Azerbaijan .

In conclusion, Aliyev expresses support for any well-intentioned online activities that aim to build friendly ties between people and nations and to form equal relations based on mutual respect.

[Passage omitted: Turan news agency quotes unnamed international organizations as criticizing the situation with online freedom of expression in Azerbaijan and as saying that despite the lack of a practice of filtering and blocking websites in this country, some online dissidents are still persecuted.]

[BBCM note: On 6 November, APA news agency quoted Azerbaijani Communications and Information Technologies Minister Ali Abbasov as saying in a speech at the forum that there is a need for joint fight to ensure online security and prevent cyber crime. The report also quoted Abbasov as saying that use of social networking websites is widespread in Azerbaijan and these activities are not controlled by any agency. “Online TV, newspapers and websites have been developing in this country in the past few years, and no interference or pressure is applied to their activities.”

In a separate report on 6 November, Turan quoted Ali Hasanov, chief of the public and political department of the Presidential Administration, as telling journalists on the sidelines of the forum that no blogger is persecuted or is in jail in this country. “They [blogggers] can express their thoughts very freely, which is evidence to the freedom of the internet in the country,” he said.]
Original Language: Russian
Section: Azerbaijan , Armenia and Georgia
Index Terms: AZERI ; INTERNET ; AZERBAIJAN ; MEDIA ; TECHNOLOGY ; LEADER ; DOMESTIC POLITICAL
Original Source: Turan news agency, Baku
Record Number: 14269435839FD370
Sources: Turan news agency, Baku, in Russian 0739 gmt 6 Nov 12; APA news agency, Baku, in Azeri 1018 gmt 6 Nov 12; Turan news agency, Baku, in Russian 0959 gmt 6 Nov 12/

Journalist mulls challenges of developing internet media in Azerbaijan

Journalist mulls challenges of developing internet media in Azerbaijan
BBC Monitoring International Reports – Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Azerbaijan is following the example of influential international media agencies and is increasingly moving its news content to the Internet , the Day.az website quoted Aynur Qasimova, head of the English service of the Trend news agency, as saying at a media forum in Baku. She said that the Internet has become a major source of information in Azerbaijan , where 65 per cent of the population uses the net. She went on to say that while many countries in the world adopted laws to regulate Internet content, no such laws exist in Azerbaijan . She added that media censorship is non-existent in Azerbaijan . Qasimova also deplored “irresponsible” behaviour of some new media reporters, which she said often “plays into the hands” of the opposing Armenia. The following is an excerpt from an unattributed report by Day.az website on 5 November headlined “Head of the English service of Trend news agency: Azerbaijani media rush to the Internet “. Subheadings inserted editorially:

“Azerbaijani media are developing in line with global developments. Similar to influential international media agencies, Azerbaijani media are also increasingly moving their news content on to the Internet ,” head of the English service of the Trend news agency, Aynur Qasimova, has said.

This is an absolutely symptomatic process for Azerbaijan , an economically viable country following global tendencies, Qasimova said as she addressed the seventh international Internet Governance Forum in Baku on Monday [5 November].

She said that the point is not quality of information in traditional and electronic media, but the fact that a modern person simply has no time to receive information through traditional media. In terms of electronic media, Azerbaijan is now using experience of developed countries, which is a significant step towards understanding the future of Azerbaijani journalism, Qasimova said.

Internet major source of information in Azerbaijan

“Today internet portals have become major sources of information. The total circulation of newspapers in Azerbaijan is 5,000-10,000 copies at a time when about 50,000 people visit the websites of these facilities on a daily basis. The state cannot ignore such an important tendency – recently it became obvious that there is a necessity to boost interest in the development of online media,” she said.

Qasimova argued that increasingly many readers receive information from the Internet . “According to the Press Council statistics, in our country about 100,000 people give preference predominantly to this source of information. At the moment, 65 per cent of Azerbaijani population use the Internet and 35 of the population are regular users of the net. About one million people use Facebook. In addition, at the moment, 23 out of 50 most visited sites in the country are Azerbaijani websites – of these16 are news sites. Over 15,000 websites are registered under the AZ domain. Over 4,700 media outlets are registered at the Justice Ministry. These figures point to active development of media in Azerbaijan in the context of the challenges any developing country is facing at the moment. Over the past years internet media has been shaping and developing at an extremely rapid pace. These projects justify themselves in Azerbaijan not only in terms of demand but also in terms of economic profitability,” she said.

No media censorship in Azerbaijan

Speaking about the development of electronic media, Qasimova focused on the possibility to restrict dissemination of information on the Internet . “In reality, there are many countries, including developed and democratic ones, where freedom of speech is restricted on the Internet either through a direct ban or through special laws. A number of post-Soviet countries also adopted laws regulating Internet content. No such laws operate in Azerbaijan . Media censorship was removed as early as in 1998 and today neither traditional, nor internet media are subject to censorship. Moreover, according to experts, the law “On Sources of Mass Media” operating in Azerbaijan at the moment, is one of the most liberal in Europe. In due time, this document was prepared within the frames of the cooperation with international organizations and it completely draws on the modern tendency according to which freedom of speech and plurality of opinions are fundamental principles that need to be upheld on the Internet . To be more precise, there are no specific laws regulating internet content in Azerbaijan . These issues are regulated by laws on media, fight against terrorism, cyber crime, etc. At the same time, it is important to appreciate that the need to regulate the Internet in terms of [dissemination] of scenes of violence or pornography, as well as blatantly false or unverified information, constitute social demand from the public,” Qasimova said.

Azerbaijan should continue its cooperation with the EU, the Council of Europe and the OSCE is terms of international institutions facilitating the development of information and communication technologies and the shaping of the online media in this country. At the moment, the OSCE’s Baku office is hosting regular online-TV courses to raise the awareness of the youth in this aspect, Qasimova said.

In addition, issues of accountability, professionalism and training of journalists are significant factors in the development of internet media. Qasimova said that absence of a law regulating the Internet should not encourage journalists to act irresponsibly. “For some media, numerous lawsuits filed against them have become a matter of prestige. In addition, many journalists use their time spent in police departments to shape their image which then they successfully use to further their interests. It is inadmissible when interests of separate individuals are used to the detriment of the image of the country,” Qasimova said.

Journalists’ unprofessionalism plays into Armenia’s hands

She stressed that for Azerbaijan this is a significant issue, not least due to the fact that the country is in a state of perpetuated conflict with the neighbouring Armenia. “At a time when 20 per cent of the territory of the country is occupied, journalists’ professionalism is not only an issue of morals. Unprofessionalism of journalists or anyone else who circulates information in new media may play into the hands of the opposing side. It is important to bear in mind that progress in the development of information technologies has led to the emergence of new forms and styles of information publication. And this means that reporters of new media are not always prepared to observe professional standards, which have been elaborated and tested throughout the history of journalism. When it comes to the publication of information, issues of attracting readers and the speed of the new media are often placed above professionalism today. In addition, information that appears in the new media is less accurate because it might not be checked as thoroughly as reporter materials are checked with editors in newspapers and TV companies,” she said.

In addition, it is very important to organize large-scale discussions on issues of internet media with due consideration of all nuances. To this end, regular meetings and discussions are being held alongside international institutions in Baku and this tendency should be preserved, she said.

[Passage omitted: Qasimova speaks about Trend]
Original Language: Russian
Section: Azerbaijan , Armenia and Georgia
Index Terms: AZERI ; INTERNET ; MEDIA ; AZERBAIJAN INTERNATIONAL ORGS ; MEDIA ; DOMESTIC POLITICAL ; INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL
Original Source: Day.az website, Baku
Record Number: 14269434B5912280
Source: Day.az website, Baku, in Russian 0805 gmt 5 Nov 12/B

Ali Abbasov: There is need for joint struggle to prevent cyber crime

Azeri-Press News Agency ( Azerbaijan ) – Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Nijat Mustafayev – APA-ECONOMICS. There is need for joint struggle to provide security in internet space and prevent cyber crime, Minister of Communications and IT Ali Abbasov said during his speech at VII Internet Governance Forum in Baku.

The Minister spoke about rapid development of ICT sector in Azerbaijan and noted that the country’s government pays great attention to this sector: ‘At present, 3G service is used in the entire country and application of 4G service has already been started’.

Touching upon special role of private sector in ICT sphere, Abbasov also spoke about the projects, realized in this sphere in Azerbaijan : ‘These projects, as well as the forum will stimulate the region’s development’.

Abbasov noted that currently, Azerbaijani population widely uses social networks and this activity is not controlled by any organization: ‘During the recent years, online TVs, newspapers and websites develop in the country and their activities are out of any interference or pressure’.