17.6.11

In Damascus?

Yesterday, I spent the morning in a group discussion on the theme “The media’s role in social change.” The premise of the seminar was that the mass media can be used not only in development education but of course as a tool in more dramatic change – such as the oft repeated example of Facebook in the Egyptian revolution.

New media, social media or whatever other distinctions or euphemisms can be employed (I essentially mean blogs and Facebook) have seemingly been legitimised and have become a hot topic in the wake of the Arab and African crises. Wherever international development specialists gather, seminars, discussions and workshops are organised to analyse and critique the use of new media as a means to development.

However as the antics of Tom McMaster prove blogs and Facebook are vast and unregulated territory. Therefore are they really the best public spheres for development education? For instance, Facebook pages are as likely to be endorsing good causes as they are to be promoting violence and violation of human rights. Additionally a random survey of blogs shows the majority of them to be personal diaries or concerned with making money.

The fact of the internet is; as a blogger I may not be the facade that I exhibit, also I do not answer to any code of ethics other than my own and I do not have any responsibility to promoting good or morality. Does this make me unreliable? 

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