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Archive for the ‘New Media and Democracy’ Category

“YouTubers comment that the site exists as a democratic place for everyday talk of the average person with computer, a webcam, and a broadband connection.”(Hess, 2009) As a famous web 2.0 forum, YouTube is expected to play an important medium in today’s world, especially in a democratic society. We should express ourselves freely on this platform and let the so called spirit of “democracy” been carried on. I think this is one of the functions that presented by the media, the fourth estate. Just as Hess’s article “Resistance Up in Smoke: Analyzing the Limitation of Deliberation on YouTube” trying to seek for, I’m going to provide my own perspective on whether democratic deliberation exists at those Web 2.0 forum, take YouTube for example.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnjx6KETmi4

I found that the issues about environment have been discussed frequently in recent years. The global warming is the most important of them. The link is the trailer of movie “The Inconvenient Truth” that presented by US former vice president, Mr. Al Gore. The movie received great attention but now a controversial issue because of some reasons. First, Mr. Gore was considered a fraud due to the incorrect information include in this film. Second, because his former political position, the film somehow is regarded as a propaganda of his own. The film talks about the causes for the global warming, how does it work and what we human should do to reduce this effect. We can say that this is a good movie (if we are regardless the authenticity of some scientific information), it do raise the attention of human society toward this global issue. Let’s take a look at it’s comments. Different with the ONDCP case in Hess’s article, the comments of this video did some discussions about the issue itself at first. Some of the comments state the global warming is a natural process, some of them do provide they way they think might led to resolutions. It’s really optimistic to see these kinds of discourses. Despite of some comments that include subjective opinion toward Al Gore, to some extent, I don’t think YouTube is not as inefficient toward democratic deliberation as Hess claimed in his article. But everything has two aspects, in the link below, the same issue that concerning about global warming but the issues that comments discussed have almost the same atmosphere as the case in Hess’s article.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iuXFvh6CXI&feature=related

This is a parody about Al Gore and his film on one of the talk show. After seeing this film, I think that people post or produce it seem to express their ironic feeling toward this US vice president that he might know less about global warming and blame every normal phenomenon on global warming. In my opinion, a politician who transfers his career to non-political one seems make no difference for some people. Still we can sense some political related feeling in some of this video’s comments. Hess (2009) said in his article, the parody is mean to challenge the mainstream, here is Al Gore, to emphasize on the differences and “might be subversive or transgressive”(Hutcheon, 1995). I have seen some comments of not only this video but also some related to Al Gore and his film show that politics takes part in this issue. Although a real science should be without any political force, it seems inevitable that most of issue will end with politics if we want a “democratic deliberation”. This makes me think of a comment that Hess (2009) used in his article, the member of YouTube called the war on drugs the “war on the people with different politics.” 

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Internet and democracy have been combined as an important issue through the coming of Internet era. The use of this new media expands rapidly. Although the internet is still unable to reach some remote areas, the number of using it soared.  As a new thing, the Internet brings us benefits as well as disadvantages. Also, the controversial questions are raised with it. Does the information from Internet is trustworthy? I did an activity before. The professor asked us to value the websites he provide through some criteria- the domain, the contact information, the format of the website, the citing resources and so on- and see if they are credible. I have to say that some of them are easily to tell whether they are authentic or not but some of them aren’t. The appearance of those sites are organized, the information they provide seems professional. But if you take a detailed look at them, you’ll find out that the knowledge and information they posted on the website are without trusty resources and full of bias. The cyberspace is extensive and most everybody (I mean in most countries) shares ideas and reports there. How do we verify the validity of this internet knowledge? Who will be the gate keeper for the internet audience? The best resolutions I have seen so far is requiring more personal information just like SSN, birth date, telephone number and a non- commercial email address (the domains are edu, org or gov). I know there still are some questions to be answered.

The questions I have mentioned base on the open-minded countries, which regime authorities are not trying to block out or filter the information to their citizen. According to the reading, I found there are much more regime authorities trying to put sensors on their regional internet system because they don’t want the facts or data to be known by their people. And vice versa, they don’t want their secret national events to be acknowledged by the world so they don’t let citizens speak out loud. All these processes can be done by sensors and cyber police. With trend of democracy and open-minded society, there must be new challenges toward these governments and this is the important thing they need to consider. I believe that new problems and questions will appear as time goes by, but just as the author of this week’s reading “The Internet: A room of our own” (Morozov, 2010), I’m optimistic toward the future of Internet era.

Here is a famous example about controversial issue toward Internet: Google and Chinese government. Shows the different challenges with different gonernment systems. Which side Google should chose?http://money.cnn.com/2010/03/22/technology/google_china/
http://www.cnn.com/2010/BUSINESS/03/18/china

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