Oct 26

A citizen uses his mobile phone to capture events during a demonstration on June 22nd in Tehran Iran. As foreign correspondents, traditional media and local reporters were restricted on their ability to report news during the Iranian presidential election demonstrations; social media and the use of ICTs such as mobile phones played a key role in bridging the information gap. (Photo credit: Reuters via Your View)

 

The Revolution of Social Media has transformed the way citizen media is functioning by increasing the speed and accessibility of information across borders, escalating the amount of information produced independently, and providing audiences with opportunities to interact and share their opinions. In places where foreign corresponds have been expelled, Syria being a perfect example, and local reporters and traditional media have faced abuse and imprisonment, social media and citizens have played a huge role in bridging the information gap. However, this new form of communication is not short of criticisms. Social media is still criticised for its ability to offer journalistic (investigated) content, peer review, or professional credibility.  It is feared that social media may also have no way to identify and filter biasness.

While social media remains in its infancy there are some indications to how it will evolve in the future. This can be seen in the broadcasts of major news organizations, which have tapped in to social media sites and use its contents in its reporting.  Take the capture and killing of Moammar Gaddafi in Libya as example.  A soldier had recorded and uploaded a video of the event an soon after major media houses, including Al Jazeera and CNN, were playing the footage.  The reporters were clear to state that the information was unconfirmed.  As more and more videos were uploaded the major news channels were busy piecing all the stories together to create a clearer picture of the events on the ground.  This indicates that major media organizations are finding their niche in new world of social media, quilting together all the bits of information. In all, social media has exploded on the scene and already has an impressive resume of revolutions and social change that it has inspired and/or facilitated.  Basically, anyone with a smart phone and a Twitter account produce content that makes news globally and do so almost instantly.

What is needed to strengthen to role and credibility of citizen journalism and social media in the communication field?

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