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Ch02 Part 3-2 - Conversation and Democracy (Research)

Page history last edited by ym@... 12 years, 10 months ago

Chapter 02 Part 3-2 - Conversation and Democracy







# Western governments engaging online


  • Downing Street



o Petition on Downing Street website calling for an early general election Oct 2007 - http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Election-year/


12 Oct 2007 - apparently, in response to David Cameron pushing him to call an early election this week, Gordon Brown in PM's Question Time said that only 26 people had signed an e-petition callling for an early election in 2007. People heard that remark and went online to sign the petition. As at today there are now over 11,000 signatories.



o Downing Street accepts online petition by email in 2001 re stamp duty on shares - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/1203765.stm


o BBC report on the Downing Street website e-petition page - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6314117.stm


o Downing st website - http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/page1.asp; YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/10DowningStreet; virtual tour - http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page11941.asp; podcasts - http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page10617.asp


o David Ruffley MP - http://www.davidruffleymp.com/type1.asp?id=43&type=1 - youtube videos, facebook, podcasts


Also http://www.telldavidruffley.com/ - "I have set up this special website – which is not paid for by taxpayers or Parliament – because I want to be able to keep in touch with my constituents and listen to what they have to say."



  • Political bloggers


o Guido Fawkes - http://www.order-order.com/ - satirical commentary on Westminster/ UK politics


o US - article on political bloggers - http://www.internetnews.com/infra/article.php/3430061 on Internet News, Nov 02, 2004


o list of political blogs around the world, plus link to discussions on significance of political blogs - http://www.psr.keele.ac.uk/blogindex.htm - Political Science Resources, Keele University, UK


o The Power and Politics of Blogs by Daniel W. Drezner & Henry Farrell - http://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/~farrell/blogpaperfinal.pdf - 2004 academic paper


"Abstract - Weblogs occupy an increasingly important place in American politics. Their

influence presents a puzzle: given the disparity in resources and organization vis-à-vis

other actors, how can a collection of decentralized, nonprofit, contrarian, and discordant

websites exercise any influence over political and policy outputs? This paper answers

that question by focusing on two important aspects of the “blogosphere”: the distribution

of readers across the array of blogs, and the interactions between significant blogs and

traditional media outlets. Under specific circumstances – when key weblogs focus on a

new or neglected issue – blogs can socially construct an agenda or interpretive frame that

acts as a focal point for mainstream media, shaping and constraining the larger political



  • Tactics and manipulation in online political engagement


o Although Western governments engage online, tactics and manipulation are still part of the game - Online Journalism Review article "Viral politics 2008: how social media is changing the presidential debate" 07 Oct 07 - http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/071004Barron/


- not truly open source; still top down; questions etc still pre-selected and filtered in Hillary's so-called online debate


- Obama's campaign missed chance to keep influential MySpace webmaster on their side by refusing him a salary


- importance of fact checking when info is obtained from blogs and social media sites which have no requirements to adhere to professional journalistic standards. See Factcheck.org - http://www.factcheck.org/ : "We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics." Example article = how to spot if an ad is "powered only by hot air" -http://www.factcheck.org/99_fact-free.html



- could be the digital equivalent of neighbourhood door-knocking to get voters to vote?

  •  Social media changing politics

o 2008 US presidential election is the first where social media will play a significant role. See http://techpresident.com/node/8 :  "TechPresident was started by Andrew Rasiej and Micah Sifry as a new group blog that covers how the 2008 presidential candidates are using the web, and vice versa, how content generated by voters is affecting the campaign."
o "Democracy in America is changing./// new force, rooted in new tools and practices built on and around the Internet, is rising alongside the old system of capital-intensive broadcast politics./// Today, for almost no money, anyone can be a reporter, a community organizer, an ad-maker, a publisher, a money-raiser, or a leader." http://www.personaldemocracy.com/about


o Grass roots campaigning online - http://www.moveon.org/about.html  "The MoveOn family of organizations brings real Americans back into the political process. With over 3.3 million members across America – from carpenters to stay-at-home moms to business leaders – we work together to realize the progressive promise of our country. MoveOn is a service – a way for busy but concerned citizens to find their political voice in a system dominated by big money and big media."
- "Voting Rights Act: Helped renew landmark civil rights legislation

When MoveOn members got word that southern Republicans were attempting to derail the re-authorization of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, we sprung into action. After hundreds of thousands signed a petition we rushed to Congress and flooded the capital with phone calls the law was renewed" See SF Chronicle story on the issue - http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/07/14/MNGPGJV3N11.DTL. May not in itself have been the saviour of this act but  Moveon campaign was one of a range of national campaigns including marching in streets of Atlanta - http://www.demos.org/democracydispatches/dispatches60.html#nation1 - ie another avenue for people to make their voices heard.


o James Koteki - blogger/ video-blogger on US politics - http://jameskotecki.com/about/ "According to The Economist, James is “probably the world’s foremost expert on YouTube videos posted by Presidential candidates.”/// "James began posting videos to YouTube from his Georgetown University dorm room in late January, 2007. Three months later, he hosted Congressman Ron Paul in the first-ever dorm room interview with a Presidential candidate. He has since interviewed a total of six Presidential candidates including Senator John Edwards, Senator Chris Dodd, and Governor Mike Huckabee."


o PrezVid by Jeff Jarvis - http://prezvid.com/about/ - presidential candidates are using YouTube to convey their message; voters are taping candidates on YouTube "So PrezVid will track the course of the YouTube campaign through video everywhere. We will show you the videos we think that matter — from candidates, from citizens, and from remixers. We will look at how internet video affects the campaign and the country. We will offer criticism and commentary. And we’ll have some fun. And we’ll do that both in blog posts and in vlog shows."


o Political commentators review David Cameron's webcameron videos compared to US presidential campaign videos: "Picture this: Every day, a major candidate for the highest office in the land spends a few minutes talking into a video camera held by an aide. Then the recordings are posted, with very minor editing, to the his Web site. On some days, they show him on the street, talking casually about the visit he's making to a local business or a day care center. On other days, he's sitting in his office, giving candid responses to the top five questions that have been posted to his blog, as chosen by visitors to his site.///The videos are all generally unscripted; the settings are unencumbered by props; and the camera work is about as good as any tourist's visiting the zoo.///  If you think this is a fantasy, don't. This, in a nutshell, is how David Cameron, the youthful leader of Britain's opposition Conservative Party, has been taking advantage of online video since he launched his "Webcameron" site last fall. His casual and extended videos have not hurt his popularity; right now, Cameron's Conservatives are leading the ruling Labor Party by 13 percentage points in a recent poll." http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0207/2945.html and also  http://techpresident.com/node/116#comment-140 


o NY Times on the YouTube presidential debate - http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/13/us/politics/13cnd-youtube.html?pagewanted=2  13 June 2007


o http://youtube.com/youchoose - election platform on YouTube; debates on youtube - http://youtube.com/debates; http://youtube.com/democraticdebate#qa_gOqefRu4Owk - democrats; Transcripts Part 1 - http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/07/23/debate.transcript/index.html;


# Asian governments less inclined to engage; anxiety about blogosphere and open debate


  • Asian political and business cultures different from the West




o greater respect and comfort with authoritarian model


o saving face


o democracy but generally, no free press


o bloggers have stepped in to void left by an un-free press in Malaysia and are facing arrest etc for speaking out.



Invite input from expert(s)  on Asian political / business culture re:


# what are the cultural/ ideological roots to Asian political culture that has led to a greater number of authoritarian regimes and where there is democracy, it's an Asian-style democracy ie democracy with a paternalistic/ authoritarian flavour? (In contrast to the Western political culture which has been moving ever more towards a conversation of peers - see discussion in previous section on Ch02 Part 3-1 - Authenticity, Openness and Trust (Research ) re the American Declaration of Independence emphasising government by consent of the people and the European Commission emphasising openness)


# A general overview would really help to set the context re what is the business culture of Asia like? Still hierarchical? First names with the boss? "open door policy"? Does the boss make tea? Position of women?


  • Asian governments and bloggers


o Singapore bans political blogs during elections -  http://internetinasia.typepad.com/blog/2006/04/will_singapores.html - Singapre Internet Research Centre blog  13  Apr 2006  "As TV, radio and other print media is highly regulated here, observers were interested in seeing the role of blogs in these elections. However, these hopes were dashed when Singapore banned political discussions on blogs and podcasts during the election period"


  • Asian political bloggers


o Jeff Ooi, Malaysia - http://www.jeffooi.com/


joins opposition party  http://blog.limkitsiang.com/2007/07/31/welcome-jeff-ooi-to-dap-let-it-be-a-catalyst-for-more-bloggers-to-take-political-stand/ 


http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/internet/0,39044908,62030111,00.htm "


Asked if he thought blogs were effective in reaching out to the grassroots, Ooi said recent criticisms of the blogging community by incumbent politicians who do not understand the nature of the new media, made blogs and online publications to look more like mainstream media.

"I think that blogs have built quite a lot of power over the years. I'm very positive about how they are going to play a role [in politics] in the years to come," he said. Ooi is also a blogger for ZDNet Asia's sister site CNET Asia."




o Anonymous Filipino blog  - http://www.tingog.com/


"Can one website change the course of a nation?

Tingog is the Visayan word for Voice. And in that respect, our main goal is to give voice and a platform for Filipinos to give their viewpoints on Philippine issues, people, the country, basically anything and everything to do with the Philippines"



o Anonymous West Bank Blogger - http://westbankblogger.blogspot.com/



"I am a Zionist, emphatically, but see the occupation as an unjust betrayal of the egalitarian Zionist vision, contrary to Jewish values, damaging and dangerous to the existence of the Israeli nation."


"These posts arise from personal trips to various places in the West Bank. Most of these are done with Israeli organizations, particularly Yesh Din or Rabbis for Human Rights. Many of them will go towards forming a chapter in an upcoming book by Professor Yehudah Shenhav of Tel-Aviv University. Yesh Din is an NGO made up of Israeli lawyers who seek to ensure the enforcement of the law in the West Bank. Rabbis for Human Rights is a religious organization which works across Israel and the Palestinian Territories to promote the consideration of human rights and to counteract their violation."




# Citizen journalism


o Canada based citizen journalism site - http://www.nowpublic.com/


"NowPublic is a participatory news network which mobilizes an army of reporters to cover the events that define our world. In twelve short months, the company has become one of the fastest growing news organizations with thousands of reporters in over 140 countries. During Hurricane Katrina, NowPublic had more reporters in the affected area than most news organizations have on their entire staff."


o http://www.orato.com/about - another Canada based site


"Orato comes from the Latin and it means "I speak." That is exactly what you will find in this pioneering grassroots citizen journalism Web site: people. We put a human face on the news by showcasing vivid, first person stories from individuals involved in current events or living extraordinary lives. Whether it is politics, sports, entertainment, science, love or war, we are capturing news and stories in their rawest form. We are a celebration of every person's right to be heard in their own words.

Orato features both famous and ordinary people and uses the power of the Internet to make readers part of every story. They join discussions, share their own stories and take sides on issues through online polls and by commenting at the end of stories."


o a view from Brazil on OhMyNews - http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?article_class=8&no=350766&rel_no=1 - Antonio Carlos Rix (carlosrix)   


"For me, only citizen journalism can enable the people of emerging nations to make their diverse voices heard by the more privileged directly from the people themselves, providing a more authentic, composite picture of reality, one that can be checked against established sources."



o OhMyNews - background to founding of the site - http://www.prwatch.org/node/6407 - PR Watch 04 Sept 07


"I asked why OMN started in Korea when it did -- was there a special set of circumstances that produced it? Min said that Mr. Oh felt strongly that there were citizen needs in the media that weren't being met. There was a distinct lack of reporting from a progressive perspective. Young people especially felt that they were not being represented in the traditional media outlets and were looking for a way to express themselves. Coupled with high Internet penetration in the early years of the decade, and many early adopters among the young Koreans, the stage was set for a project like OMN.

But Oh didn't rely on a Field of Dreams model -- if you build it, they will come. Instead, before the public launch of the site, he targeted journalism classes at the university level to introduce the concept and recruit a starting roster of reporters. He was able to line up 720 citizen journalists to be in place at the time of the public launch.

Since then, Min feels that word of mouth has been the most successful way to recruit new reporters. OMN has also become a social networking site, where writers and readers interact continuously in a virtual community. This was not an original intent of OMN, but as is often the case, the project has evolved well beyond what the originators imagined. Most contributors today are aged between 20 and 40, with the majority in their thirties. They are fairly progressive politically, which has helped OMN "maintain a creative and distinctive editorial policy."


o http://www.ojr.org/ojr/workplace/1060217106.php - Online Journalism Review on Participatory Journalism 07 Aug 2003 - differences between blogging and citizen journalism.


"3) Full-fledged participatory news sites.

At such sites, citizen-reporters contribute a significant amount of material. South Korea's OhmyNews is the crown jewel of this breed. A similar citizen-reported news site called JanJan in Japan is modeling itself after OhmyNews.  Indymedia offers first-person reporting of political news with a subjective slant."



o role of bloggers where no free press - YM article on blogging in Malaysia


o Burma - http://www.fusionview.co.uk/2007/10/bloggers-declare-04-oct-free-burma-day/



# Censorship


o Facebook banned in Iran - Civil Rights in the Middle East report - around Oct 2007? - http://www.hamsaweb.org/crime/4.html#1 -


"But Iran’s censors block the most popular online networking sites, fearing that virtual organizing could help opposition movements. So if you are a student in Iran, your web browser cannot access Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and popular blogging sites like PersianBlog. Still, enterprising Iranians have figured out ways around the web filters and access various networking sites via web proxies.


One young woman – who accesses Facebook.com via a proxy server – explains the power of the site: “In these networks you can express yourself however you like…Whereas outside your home in the streets it is necessary to present yourself in such a way that nobody will hassle you.”"


o Tunisian blogger banned from college because of being a blogger - Civil Rights in the Middle East report - around Oct 2007? - http://www.hamsaweb.org/crime/4.html#small 


  "Officials at Ariana University in Tunisia have prevented student Soufiane Chourabi from registering for his final semester of classes. Chourabi, 25, is a blogger and contributor to opposition newspapers and Internet forums. As punishment for his opinions and affiliations, the state-run Ariana University has rejected his registration. But Chourabi is responding with a novel protest: issuing an online video appeal to university officials and launching a petition for re-admittance. Fellow blogger-activists from the region are signing on. Follow the cyber-protest (in Arabic) via Chourabi's blog."


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