Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Citizen Journalism, Power, Responsibility and ISIS

Empowerment and Responsibility

"I can do anything but with it comes responsibility".  So says Brian Conly in his introduction to his controversial video telling the world about the rise of Citizen Journalism

I wish other people knew that.  Here in Zim we are always hearing about ‘empowering’ people.  Everyone wants to be empowered but very few people seem to realise that by empowering people you are also giving them responsibility.  Instead we see that 70% of loans provided to young farmers are not repaid.  They have been empowered but they have not assumed any responsibility for what they do.  It is reflected sometimes at work where people are given jobs to do, but don’t take responsibility for doing it well.  At one of my consulting jobs management took on some casuals to phone customers and obtain data such as telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.  Later they discovered that 75% of the e-mail addresses had been incorrectly recorded.  By then the contract workers had been and gone with their money! 

Clearly the Open Knowledge and other forms of openness now available on the Internet come with abundant opportunities but equally, with it comes responsibility and many people worldwide, particularly the young and inexperienced are probably less aware of this than others.

The reluctant Revolutionary-Journalist

Back to Brian Conly and his story on how citizen journalism is re-shaping the world.  He talks about Iraq, Libya and then his experiences in Tunis.  How people who don’t want to be journalists and don’t want to be revolutionaries have become both through their life circumstances and the availability of the Internet and You-Tube and how people want to tell their stories and his life-work is to help them do that.  The video is December 2012.  

ISIS and the Internet

I wonder how he feels about things today after the beheading of Americans and British people by ISIS and how ISIS are using the internet and You-Tube to show the most bizarre scenes of the people they behead.  Brian Conly says that everything changes and it does.  This is today’s citizen journalism at its worst.  Power without responsibility.

Brain Conly's video can be found at

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