Where is the true voice of the People?

One of the great things about blogging (a regular online journal that anyone can post – in English a Weblog ) is that creativity and production is down to the individual. However, interestingly in last week’s Financial Times it was reported that China has released its own version of Wikipedia – (http://www.wikipedia.org the free online encyclopaedia that anyone can edit but is moderated by online volunteers).

This gave chase to a question that came to mind: How free is the media today? Recently a viewer suggested that TV talk shows, new shows, news programmes, political commenting and newspapers in general have their favourites. The implication was that the same guests and self declared political spokespersons are repeatedly relied on to perform endless ‘chit chat’ between themselves – enjoying jokes and satirical narrative. Suddenly, we find the same experts and view-points emerging. The viewer suggested that a member of the public should be representative at such sessions. He also went as far as to suggest that when a member of the public is involved in asking direct questions it results in the most engaging television – citing examples such as UK BBC1’s Question Time when a lady asked about Doctor’s appointments. Or, back in the 1980s when a member of the public asked Margaret Thatcher about the exact nature of the situation when a British vessel sank the Argentinean Belgrano during the Falklands war – with regard to the latter the debate about the exact situation at the time continues.

However, the media does need a wake-up call. Although the profession is demanding in terms of working to deadlines and the challenge of producing engaging quality content – In my view some aspects of the media are spoilt by favoritism, targeting, sensationalism and crudeness. Maybe media ownership, political siding or simply stereotyping has a lot to do with the problem. Take for example the January 2004 Kilroy-Silk incident.

We have to admit that it is difficult for journalists and editors to balance the complexity of the world and how people’s values vary. However, a breach of human rights is wrong no matter where it occurs and often not enough rallying takes place to condemn it to ‘drive’ change.Or, maybe the problem is much deeper. I note that in some articles political Bloggers are beginning to emerge – it’s almost as if the media needs to encircle this movement and call it ‘its own’.Press freedom is not the same as contributing effective / knowledgeable content. There is still a need to control blasphemous comments and insensitive commentary.

Interesting, Bono (the lead singer of U2) will be editing the Independent Newspaper on Tuesday 16th May. In addition, 50 percent of all sales on the day will be given to helping those in Africa that are suffering from HIV/AIDS. It will be fascinating to see the impact on emphasis and style on the overall paper.

Maybe there is an opportunity to innovate in a world where the media have a structured route to broadcast on their megaphones.

Categories: 2006

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