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Presentation for Journalism, Globalization and Development: New Media Activism and the Digital Divide

Devina Divecha

on 29 April 2010

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Transcript of JNL6027

New media activism and the Digital Divide “The mature social networking sites supporting self-publishing and conversation bring online audience a valuable sense of organic community that traditional news platform cannot provide” (Kinsey and Chapman, 2009) "Web Analytics: An Hour A Day" author Avinash Kaushik, currently employed as Google's analytics evangelist, posted this on his Twitter account: QUESTIONS
The freedom of SMS and internet technology leaves room for unprofessional and unethical practices. Even if benevolent messages are spread, will they be enough to counter the prejudices spread, ethnic stereotypes made, and fear created by radio stations?
The new technologies make it easier for people to get information, but does this mean they are really better informed? How can people filter the quality of the flow of information that the new technologies facilitate?
Have journalists and/or news organizations been able to tap the full potential of social media when reporting stories? Or have they just skimmed the surface? How do you think they can utilize social media in a better way? MIDDLE EAST KENYA ZIMBABWE CHINA PROS
-Immediacy of information
-Interactive and participatory form of media
-User-generated content enables the people to have a bigger say in issues that affect them.
- The use of pseudonyms has to some extent eroded the credibility of information
- Some of the websites are edited by their owners, who happen to have vested interests, has raised questions about the independence, professional And ethical conduct of these websites.
- The potential threat of state censorship
-Young and inexperienced journalists using new media who don’t double-check and take information online at face value.
Can new media technologies contribute to a more participatory and democratic form of journalism, or do they pose a threat to responsible journalism in the developing world? Can new media technologies really help grassroots movements to achieve their aims of social change, or do they create a false sense of optimism? How Do New Media Technologies Influence China’s Social Change? Secret Dubai is a blog that was launched in 2002 by an unidentified female expatriate in the country of U.A.E. It attracted a lot of controversy for posting links to stories and reporting on news that the local media in the UAE could not cover for fear of repercussions from the royal family. It is currently blocked in the U.A.E. by both telecom providers.

The March 18 Movement came about when Omid Reza Mir Sayafi, an Iranian blogger and journalist was jailed and became the first blogger to die in prison. The March 18 movement uses its blog, Twitter and Facebook to spread news and event information.
http://www.march18.org/ Wajeha Al-Huwaider, a female activist in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, campaigns for female rights in the country by posting videos on YouTube. Women in KSA are not allowed to drive; instead they have to be driven everywhere by a male – only a relative. “Alternative Media”-The rapidly growing section of the Zimbarbwean media.
“ Alternative media as those media that function in counter-position to state-controlled media systems by offering the means for democratic communication to groups and individuals who are otherwise excluded from the media production processes.”
-Dumisani Moyo
Background: State monopoly of the mass media
The control of mainstream media
-national dailies: The Herald, The Chronicle
-national weeklies: The Sunday Mail, The Sunday News.
-the only existing television station and four radio station, Central Intelligence Organization (CIO)
-Taking over the already decimated independent press running online publications to influence political developments in the country. Passing of law- Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act(2002) :
- Punish any journalist or organization that speaks ill of the government and its policies.
- Requires all media outlets to be licensed under this law and registered as an accredited journalist.
The closure of newspapers:
- The closure of The Daily News on 12 September,2003-the only private daily newspaper.
- The closure of three other newspapers
- The closure of Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)-a self-serving re-organization of the state broadcaster. “The closure of the Daily News, Zimbabwe's first independent daily, has redefined the future of press freedom in a country widely known for its intolerance of free speech and its abuse of human rights. “ -Worldpress.org

Lost voice "Suspension of all live broadcasts"

“We have to claim back what rightfully belongs to us. It has come to an eye for an eye, a fist for a fist,”
urging ethnic Kalenjins to fight the Kikuyu. SMS v Radio

In 1994 in Rwanda radio was used to mobilise the genocide, and moderate voices were unable to respond.

In Kenya, these messages were implicit, not explicit, and such views gained power and currency from the fact that they were broadcast. According to Caesar Handa, from Strategic Public Relations and Research: “There were no clear messages that we should kill or burn these people or chase these people away, there were rather coded messages that were being presented and most of them from people who were calling [in through the talk shows] and saying very clearly that we want to liberate ourselves from certain positions and certain communities…in this way the local language stations played a role in my opinion in the escalation of the violence.” The Kenyan 2007 elections and their aftermath: the role of the media and communication, p.4.
"...instead to allow SMS providers to send out messages of peace and calm, which Safaricom did to all 9 million of its customers." “one possible response to destructive speech online is to encourage constructive speech.” New media used to crowd source human rights in Kenya Advantages of New Media Technologies in Kenya – as demonstrated during the media ban
•New media tools allow people to share their views in public and discuss the situation with other citizens and people globally.
(In Kenya, as in the rest of Africa, SMS is the most widely used digital application). SMS Uprising: Mobile Activism in Africa, p.128
•New media forms a channel of expression that can't be controlled by the government. This is illustrated by a journalist from Irin news who says that:
“Mobile journalism makes it easier to independently broadcast, without the fear of the government confiscating the mobile phone.” www.irinnews.org Kenya does not have a liberal media; journalists and broadcasters face immense commercial and political constraints. BBC World Service Policy Briefing April 2008.The Kenyan 2007 elections and their aftermath: the role of the media and communication, p.2.
•Opportunity for people to respond with benevolent messages to counter ethnic hate inciting messages, unlike on radio or on talk shows. “Talk shows have provided the greatest opportunities for hate speech and talk show hosts are not trained in conflict reporting or moderation.” BBC World Service Policy Briefing April 2008. The Kenyan 2007 elections and their aftermath: the role of the media and communication, p.2.
•“African journalists are using texting to overcome significant obstacles – including poor or non- existent landlines, roads and computer access that would prevent them from interviewing people , collecting information, filing stories, or just passing notes along to colleagues.” Tom Rhodes. Disadvantages
•Although blogging became a notable part of the national conversation during the media ban, for most Kenyans using the internet to find out about the latest news crisis is not an option. (Only 3.2% of the population has internet access, and cyber cafes are available mainly only in urban areas).
•SMS users spread hate and threats to intimidate reporters.
•Technology allows people to diffuse information easily and quickly, but this has led to unethical and unprofessional practices. “The mere dissemination of information and opinion is not in itself journalism.” Tom Rhodes In 2006, TIME magazine named "you", i.e. the people
who use the internet as the "Person of the Year" in an
effort to explain how social media was starting to
become an all-important part of the world.

In our presentation today we're going to talk about Twitter, Facebook, blogs, SMS's, radio and how these forms of social media are affecting social change. Internet Users: 384 million
Penetration rate: 28.7%
Users Feature: more young, dynamic, entertainment, higher user-generated content.
Exposing Official Lies: 2007 South China Tiger Snapper
Civil situation in 2007 Exposing Social Scandal
2007 Chinese Slave Scandal
Social Problem

Pressure on Regime
2003 SARS; 2007 Toxic Milk Powder
2009 Sichuan Earthquake
Raising Awareness
Human Flesh Search Engine; Deng Yujiao Stab Officials Case “To the extent that officials do sometimes cave in to online sentiment, change is already happening. The danger now, as an article on a Chinese legal website argued, is of trials by the media.”The Economist, Jun 4th 2009 http://www.newzimbabwe.com/
"Breaking news, as it happens" "Some of these websites can no longer be referred to as ‘small media’ in terms of their reach and scale of operation, and they are now’ mainstream alternative media’. the number of hits per day, with some averaging as much as 400,000 is compelling evidence to show that these websites have also grown into becoming ’big’ media almost comparable to the mass media."
"Overall, they have considerably reduced the traditional gate-keeping role that the mainstream state controlled media have enjoyed over the past two decades. This is evidenced by the unearthing stories about corruption, abuse of power and human rights violations, which could otherwise have remained concealed." - Dumisani Moyo In March 2010, Sheikh Ahmed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, member of the royal family of Abu Dhabi, one of the emirates of the UAE, passed away in a plane crash. As is the norm, a 3-day mourning period was set aside. A popular lounge/club, Barasti, has scheduled a concert by Vanilla Ice that week. They went ahead with sending SMS’s to people about how the concert will go ahead. It, quite insensitively read: “NORMAL OPERATION. WE ARE NOT DRY! NICE, NICE BABY! 5PM-3AM C U ON THE SAND” People on Twitter community objected, and made the hashtag #Barasti a trending topic in the UAE and eventually Barasti cancelled the concert because of the public outcry and media attention it was getting. http://www.arabianbusiness.com/584992-barasti-bar-scraps-concert-after-twitter-outrage
"As a parallel information universe, Twitter enables the dissemination of information, mobilization of public opinion and evasion of governmental censors."
"Women’s advocacy groups make good use of Twitter: for example, the Egyptian group 'All of Us are Laila' has fought against the inequality in women’s daily lives, in Egypt and the Arab world in general, for the last three years."

- The Power of 140 Characters: Twitter in the Middle East
http://www.dayan.org/Twitter_pav.pdf "For example, the Dubai government partially blocked the use of the highly popular social networking Facebook website and the internet voice and video Skype program, claiming that their action was justified by "content that was not concurrent with the religious, cultural, political, and moral values of the United Arab Emirates." Devina Divecha Vicky Chu Harriet Hernando Fiona Fang http://v.ku6.com/show/y8mytwt8n7V1hLPq.html http://www.youtube.com/user/torisefromashes#p/a/u/0/Pv8JA4mmi_A http://www.spotonpr.com/tweet-in-time-saves-nine/ http://www.zimdaily.com/
"Zimbabwe’s biggest daily online newspaper" http://www.zimonline.co.za/
"Your independent news service"
"a voice to those rendered voiceless" http://bit.ly/9g8GDb
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