Civil resistance and new media

Om någon råkar befinna sig i Bonn på Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum, kommer jag att prata om nedanstående panelen Information technology: provoking or preventing conflict?

Civil resistance and new media
The current Internet regulation in Europe has stirred up waves of criticism from various groups in the civil society. For example, in FranceLa Quadrature du Net is opposing efforts to restrict access on the Internet (hadopi), in Germany the Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung is working to prevent extensive data retention, and the Swedish Pirate Party have mobilized more than fourteen thousand members as they now run for the European Parliament. Only recently, the trial againstThe Pirate Bay, the worlds largest bittorrent-tracker, inspired thousands of Twitter updates, generated live portals and live translation into several languages.

Common to these initiatives is they use the Internet as a platform for social organization, and this presentation will elaborate on the consequences, possibilities and problems inherent to such mobilizations.

These organizations are not only very efficient in terms of swift communication strategies, but also allow for members to produce user-generated materials, such as wikis, blogs, information feeds, posters and offline meetings and demonstrations. This highly decentralized mode of operation is promoted by the architecture of the internet, something which has sometimes been referred to as a computer-inspired world view.

Moreover, we may expect these trends to affect how traditional media have covered conflicts. The internet allows for distributed correspondence, which sometimes leads to unique media situations, for example when bloggers reported from inside Gaza, a place where journalists were not allowed. In Egypt, Facebook is the third largest site, and has become an important hub for political mobilization.

This presentation will draw on an analysis of the actors involved, their mode of organization, and the possible contributions to a democratic civil society promoted by new technologies.