After attending this week’s lecture and doing the readings, I realised I jumped the gun a little and actually discussed much of this week’s content in my previous blog. I found it really interesting anyway so I’m happy to further explore it this week
Resistance versus control:
When considering certain issues, governments tend to view divergent thinking as a threat to their political, financial and national interests. As I illustrated in my previous blog, I believe the government use the media to manipulate people’s thinking and behaviours when considering such matters. The increase in government surveillance has birthed concerns surrounding government transparency and has triggered a desire for a more open government. Certain individuals and groups who desire this open government use ‘new media’ to ‘participate (Hill 2012) in political issues and consequently challenge government control and power.
This participation, or challenge to government control is a form of ‘sousveillance’ – the practice of “watching from below” (Bollier 2013). The term alters the power structures between society and government to include the surveillance of individuals and groups on the government, with Bollier stating that is “the few watching the many (surveillance) and the many watching the few (sousveillance).” While the advent of new media technologies and mediated communication has allowed the government to increase its surveillance on the public, it has also allowed citizens to adopt a form of surveillance on their governments (Pesce 2014). The decentralised nature of new media has allowed certain groups to ‘participate’ in government surveillance practices and expose secrets and scandals.
I want to reiterate the question posed by Andrew Murphie in the lecture when he asked:
“What is the fate of ‘big politics’ when confronted by this desire for participation?”
Wikileaks: A need for whistleblowers?
Wikileaks acts as a ‘fourth estate’ in society and adopts the role of a watchdog with the aim to improve government transparency and to ultimately reduce corruption (Wikileaks 2011).
Whistleblower, Edward Snowden recently exposed copious amounts of secret government documents in an act of promulgating government transparency. I believe, as illustrated in my blog last week that the government takes advantage of the media and that there is a need for exposure of lies and scandals to be used for political and financial gain. However, when considering issues of national security and the military, this poses a difficult question. Some still advocate for a totally open government (Styles 2009). The government should have the right to keep certain matters confidential but where do we draw the line around government transparency? Who will determine which information is kept hidden and which should be exposed?
Wikipedia (n.d.) ‘Edward Snowden’, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden>
Styles, Catherine (2009) “A Government 2.0 idea – first, make all the functions visible’, <http://catherinestyles.com/2009/06/28/a-government-2-0-idea/>
Hill, David J. (2012) ‘Finland’s Next Laws To Come From Online Proposals By Citizens’, Singularity Hub, October 11, <http://singularityhub.com/2012/10/24/finlands-next-laws-to-emerge-from-online-crowdsourced-proposals/>
Pesce, Mark (2014), ‘Finding freedom in a sousveillance society’, The Drum <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-17/pesce-finding-freedom-in-a-sousveillance-society/5395592>.
Bollier, D., 2013, ‘Sousveillance as a Responce to Surveillance’, David Bollier: news and perspectives on the commons, November 24, 2013. Accessed on 27th April, 2014 on: <http://bollier.org/blog/sousveillance-response-surveillance>>
Metzger, M. J. The study of media effects in the era of internet communication. In Nabi, R. & Oliver, M.B., 2009, ‘The SAGE handbook of media processes and effects’ (pp. 561-576). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.