Michael Buerk talks to bloggers and critics from Sri Lanka, Iran, Burma, and Iraq on BBC World Service.
‘Authenticity’ is what citizen journalists believe they are about, seeing themselves as Davids fighting against Goliaths. But critics point to problems of fakery, manipulation, partisanship, bias, and lack of accountability. Why it should be assumed that ‘the little man’ is necessarily morally superior to ‘the big organisation’?
Yet in countries where freedom of expression is repressed, it is bloggers who are challenging authoritarian regimes in ways traditional journalists cannot. Citizen journalists are enabling the rest of us to read stories and to see pictures that repressive regimes would rather stayed secret.
The critics remain vocal. What has really been achieved? Small victories, perhaps, but no Watergates as yet. And will this phenomenon extend democracy or end in chaos?
‘What is going on,’ he reports, ‘is a struggle between old power and new technology for the control of cyberspace itself.’”
Listen to part one of the broadcast here:
BBC World Service – Documentaries – Citizen journalism – democracy or chaos?