It's been a busy Arab Spring, but were/are the continuing protests about democracy around the globe the product of social media phenomenon like Twitter or Facebook? Perhaps it is just that the internet and other new media products have given the audiences increased awareness, allowing them to challenge the hegemonic discourse dictated to them through state media?
Other topical debates - How can you regulate something like Twitter in the UK with regards to privacy laws and super-injunctions. Only the other day one user attracted over 12,000 followers in a day with the sole purpose to expose celebrities who wish to remain anonymous. How does this clash with the ideologies of the West and freedom of speech?
The images above are just a snippet of what has happened as a result of audiences using technology to make important social, cultural and political changes. The following materials, case studies and links were studied by Year 13 in preparation for an exam question on WeMedia in June 2010:
The issues covered by We Media are:
censorship and media regulation
the democratisation of the media
You can use the google bar at the bottom of this page at any time or refer to other links on this page.
We first studied the importance of news and how wemedia has changed the way we think about and consume news. There has been a steady increase in the number of citizen journalism websites recruiting citizen journalists or netizens. The overall aim of these organisations is to challenge the dominant hegemony pumped out by large media organisations and conglomerates like news international, which includes uk media platforms like The Sun, to American TV channels like FoxNews 'fair and balanced'.
One of the first organisations to pilot citizen journalism was Ohmynews which origninated in South Korea (note: South Korea is also a great case study focus for anything to do with video games and online gaming, it's a very big thing!)
The above buzztracker map is a real time link to where the biggest news stories are coming from at the moment. Factors you, as media students, need to consider is why does it only concentrate on the wealthiest nations? Consider things like broadband access, technology, poverty, dictatorships and you've only considered a few. This features on the ohmynews webpage also has some great links, but remember that it is not your staple source of news, just another alternative.
The BBC is probably one of the most trusted institutions that people rely on for their source of news, reasons being that it is not directly controlled by the government, nor profit making and is funded by private license fees. Adhering to a strict ideology handed down from Lord Reith, the BBC prides itself on its reputation and has a very successful global reach with its world service. It is, however, also despised by certain countries. China is one example, to name but one.
The story runs deeper with Murdoch eager to ensure that his Star TV network maintains a stronghold over the Chinese viewing public. You cannot get BBC World news on their satelite service. Indeed, China is a good case study in itself to use with media regulation or WeMedia, check out this page cfr.org for an upto date examination of media regulation in China. You can also find a wealth of material on Youtube and Google relating to China: 'democracy riots', 'censorship in China' and 'great firewall of China'.
The BBC covered the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, watch it on google and contrast it to recent footage in Burma and Iran from 2007-2009 also on youtube. Contrast this against the recent Thai demonstrations in Bangkok, May 2010, and you will have historical and current evidence to draw your own assumptions. Remember to keep looking ahead to the future and how governments might fight back against protests and block interational media and examine new ways in which news is being gathered and shared by journalists.
You should also examine some of the hilarious footage of demonstrations during the 2008 build up to the Beijing Olympics in London that were linked to Tibet, especially the torch being stolen from an athlete (a great exposure on a world platform but unlikely to reach those people in China). Podcast on China's information firewall.
To learn the ins and outs of wemedia, click on the link. To explore some of the communities that have come about with the development of web 2.0, click wemedia.com
This pdf file is on a link from the American Press Institute and gives great insight into the role that wemedia plays in modern news gathering/consumption.