Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Citizen journalists and the new media

A interesting post in reflects how Internet has made injustices and abuses from authorities more difficult to hide.

In three videos, posted in YouTube, it exemplifies that we have all become in witnesses: simply with our phone camera and knowing a little about the Web we can unveil things that would have remained silent.

For instance, a New York City cop arrested a bicyclist in a protest of various cyclists against the use of cars (worried about climate change). The cop claimed (in a sworn statement) that the bicyclist ride directly into him, but in the video there's no evidence of that.

But this Internet 'citizen journalists' some times gives wrongdoers a harsh punishment, like the case of a Korean girl who refused to clean the poop left by his dog in the subway. Somebody took pictures of her, post them in the Internet and soon people searched information about the girl, found who she was and stalked her, criticizing her and she had to drop college and go into hide.

One of the advantages of the traditional media is they have to first check a news story before publishing it. Citizen journalist aren't required to do this and in fact they can post any 'evidence' in the Web anonymously.

In Mexico there's some effort to give 'power to the people', in sites like or the site of a TV station, TVAzteca, you can upload videos of things you consider newsworthy, and if the owners of Televisa (owner of or TV Azteca (both TV stations), consider something important or interesting, they show it in their newscasts.

It is still a new way to give people voice over injustices (real or perceived), and sometimes you have to browse through a lot of non important stuff, but the Internet is gaining power in Mexico.

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