3: Who is represented? CONFLICT OF INTERESTS:THE DIFFERENT FACETS OF NEW MEDIAS

When we have decided to write about community media on this blog,we have overviewed different topics and theme within Community Media.What is Community media,what can be the purposes of Community media,we have seen different facets of the them.Last week Isaac had mentionned the digital divide which I think is one of the inequality within which layed Community Media.

New technologies offer wider options for communicating but is also restricting because not everyone can access it.Technology is expensive and sometimes requirment of licences make it difficult to some countries to access technology légaliy,which I think is part of the digital divide.Now except for the technical/financial innequalities,I would like to focus my post on the reason why community Media is not always a way for smaller groups or individuals to express themselves.

First and foremost,as a summary of last weeks posts,we discussed how Community Media could be helpful to raise a voice,share opinions,we agreed more or less that Community Media can be a factor and a way of self expression.Now impleting the role of journalism even what I would call fast food journalism including blogs,pages on social network ,I would like to brings some litarature which discuss the role of globalisation/technical progress and social networks within our modern democracies and eocnomies.

 

According to Anu Kantola (Reclaiming the Media Communication Rights and Democratic Media Roles,chapter 9,page 192),journalism is the balance which hold democracy in a globalised system where economy and politic is mixed.I quote:

“Journalism offers information on political issues, gives an opportunity to bring
up new political issues, creates opportunities for an ongoing dialogue and acts
as a watchdog of the decision-makers.”

I think it is an interesting and true point of view,however if we take the exemple of internet and all the social platforms it offers ,it is difficult to imagine that it can be the case all the time.Now professional journalism and personal initiatives with blog and social network interractions are mixed on the internet.

I wonder how a corporation,can perfectly represents the opinions of it’s members,employees and how an idea can reflect the individual thoughts of a social group,maybe the idea of a group is to be one voiced,but when a group ,even a corporation use new media to represent the ideas of it’s members,I doubt that all ideas,thoughs and opinions are well expressed.

 

I think also about social network group,like groups on facebook which defend causes.Their title is often appealling and people would virtually participate to the debates,but the whole idea,though crucial and interesting have something superficial within as well.

Last week Isaac mentionned manipulation through media (mass media and new media) and I agree that it can be the case often with new media because it seems more liebrated while it has the exact same risks than mass media.The only difference is that old media are known and that people have a tendency to fear them while new media are more exciting and people ar enot always aware of how to check or welcome the many informations of social platforms.

I also think about a case read in the Intercommunicado paper about a computer development launched in a university in Cuba (UCI university),in which students and staff working for this programme seemed to lack of liberty of experession,also the programme was not independant since the cuban ministry of information and communication (then the State) was supervising it and controlling it completely according to the intercommunicado.

 

To me it seemed interesting that internet,an important element of freedom could be used to even increase a secular system of politic.

Sophie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 comments

  1. In my view, conceptualising conflict of interest in new media entails locating the various points at which conflict occurs. The conflict of interest need not be limited to within new media itself but related conflicts which impinge on new media need be considered. The latter being because new media does not operate in some vacuum but is intricately linked to and dependent on corporate interests, government legislation and other group interests.
    Sophie you make an interesting point on Cuba and I agree with you. I can also add that institutionalised mainstream media especially where it is state controlled seeks to reach out to a wide receptive audience and while expanding on this reach using the internet is ideal it is usually seen as presenting a threat. That conflict of interest and indeed a dilemma is exemplified in the Cuban case study in Incommunicado. Now, with the reliance of new media on internet technologies this affects both the artefacts (what computer and software can be used), practices (how and who the students can email) and the institutional arrangements (the rules set by the Cuban University).A related conflict of interest occurs when the digital corporate world is interested in expanding influence but is also interested in making profit. As Pieterse (2005) points out “digital capitalism does not go where margins are low such as in rural areas and developing countries”.
    Within new media proper, the hybridity and recombinancy of new media technologies is good in as much as it is designed and shaped by society and users. While this is positive, the rapidity with which media technology changes is not always benevolent but again driven by profit motives which makes it hard for poorer and late-comer users to catch up or maintain the pace of change. So the logic in new media to include as many people as possible in information exchanges runs contrary to reliance on a fast change in technologies which makes profits for the designers but leaves out the elderly, less educated and poor.

  2. I think your point about the differences and similarities of journalism and new media activism are very interesting, and they lead to even more questions in my mind. For example, if journalism is supposed to be the fourth estate, what happens when more and more space is offered up to citizen journalists? Are we improving journalism by allowing more voices to be heard?

    Secondly, I wish to talk about representation of women in both mainstream and alternative media. In an excellent article examining the FIRE (Feminist International Radio Endeavour) network, Thompson et all (2005) refers to a UNESCO study showing that only 3% of media companies are run by women, and even though many networks chose to have female anchors, they are vastly underrepresented in the news stories themselves, and when they appear they are more likely to be objects or play stereotypical gender roles (217).

    (And I am aware of the fact that we might be venturing out, away from the definition of community media, since this is a community that is not local. Isaac, I know it might not be a perfect fit, but stay with me – I promise it is interesting!)

    As for the digital divide and women, Thompson et al recognize that even though the research might be unclear about to what extent women have access to ICT (ranging from 3%- 38% of all users are said to be female), the network uses a combination of old and new media to make sure they cover also those who only have access to radios.

    The paper discussed the notion of “gendered space” in radio, and claims that women are overrepresented as users of radio but are not producers and do not usually have program content tailored to their needs and wants. They determine that “FIRE’s approach to producing media is an example of how such a transversal feminist approach can embrace communication as a human right. /…/ And through its feminist interactive communication processes, FIRE is contributing to build a more democratic world in which women’s voices are heard and integrated into social and political movements, and their human right to communicate is exercised and respected.”.

    I would recommend that you read it if you are interested in radio, women, alternative media or any of the other issues of representation that we have talked about.

    Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14680770500124306

    Margaret E. Thompson , Katerina Anfossi Gómez & María Suárez Toro (2005) Women’s Alternative Internet. Radio and Feminist Interactive Communications, Feminist Media Studies, 5:2, 215-236,

    • Isaac,

      I agree with you that sometimes,the way technology progress too fast make it impossible for some to follow it and it also participate to the degital devide you discussed in your previous post.

      I’m not sure that poor population are the most disadvantage by technology.I have the feeling than in countries where the development still occuring,sometimes the priorities are no the same and often these countries which rebuilding from war,social difficulties,need to improve many of their infrastructures in order to have a stable city/rural life life.I’m not sure that technology,thought it can benefit the population with nex jobs and openess to the world,I’m not sure ithe lack of technology is always relevant in the eraly economic development in some countries.

      Regarding the elderly,do you mean the elderly of the entire planet? In many developped countries,now some isolated population have access to social programm to get in touch with technology.
      They can contact the town hall often,or community service and find some courses adapted to their need.

      As I said earlier,I think the situation really depends on the ocntext,because in “rich ” countries nowadays,internet has become very present,to find a sjob to remain active,it is very important to have internet,but in other countries the priorities are others,often.

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