The Power and Limitations of Media in Global Activism

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The invisible revolution is online

Computer geeks turned activists? The idea might seem a little strange. However, as author Jamie Crawford explains, the U.S. government is employing technologically educated individuals to create programs that will help worldwide activists access media that is currently censored by their governments. Through these efforts, activists can gather and share information with each other more effectively. Why is the U.S. government becoming involved? According to this article, the American government has come to the conclusion that communicating is a “fundamental human right.” Activists all over the world should be given the right to communicate without government censorship.

Crawford, Jamie. “The invisible revolution is online.” CNN. 30 January 2012. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/265/the-unseen-global-revolution/>.

 

Chinese try out food activism

Wu Heng, a Shanghai graduate student, realized he was paying high prices for food advertised as being fresh, but was in fact chemically treated and prepared against food safety regulations. He was not the first to be disgusted by the lack of regulation in the Chinese food industry, but, unlike many Chinese, he took a unique course of action. He used blogs and iPhone apps to create awareness. As author Alexa Olesen explains, China does not embrace open activism. However, through Heng and others’ use of new media, consumers have been able to receive accurate food information. Through this, they also put subtle pressure on the government to respect their right to safe food. This article shows how media and technology can spark a much-needed movement.

Olesen, Alexa. “Chinese try out food activism.” Salon. 15 June 2012. Web. 3 July 2012. <http://www.salon.com/2012/06/15/chinese_try_out_food_activism/singleton/>.

 

Digital Activism 101: The 6 Activist Functions of Technology

In this article, Mary C. Joyce describes digital media and its capabilities and limitations, openly entwining her opinion throughout. According to Joyce, digital media can help activists in six ways: shape public opinion, plan an event or action, protect an activist’s identity, spread a call to action, take action digitally (i.e. donating, signing online petitions) and transfer resources. As she gives a brief explanation of each, she talks about some of the most popular cases around that world that have used or are in the process of using new digital media to advocate their causes. This blog entry, along with the whole series, is a great way to begin formulating your own opinion about the extent to which media can serve as medium for activism.

Joyce, Mary C. “Digital Activism 101: The 6 Activist Functions of Technology.” The Meta-Activism Project. 24 June 2012. Web. 5 July 2012. <http://www.meta-activism.org/2012/02/digital-activism-101-the-5-activist-functions-of-technology/>.

 

Group behind ‘Kony 2012’ wins new respect

Many of us are familiar with the controversial “Kony 2012” video produced by the human rights group Invisible Children. The controversy behind the video seems to be fueled by the inaccuracies and misrepresentations shown in the short film, which then exploded into an investigation of the organization itself. Whether the video’s campaign strategy was appropriate or not, the video captured worldwide attention and, as this article explains, this attention might finally be turning into action. The United Nations Security Council recently announced that it would fund a plan to capture Joseph Kony and to help reintegrate the victims affected by his actions. In addition to this, the U.S. government announced that it would offer a ransom for whoever helped capture Kony. This article predicts a promising outcome, but author James Rainey also points out that the capture of Kony is only part of the solution. Invisible Children’s work is far from finished. Real progress will take place when the survivors receive the resources they require and deserve.

Rainey, James. “Group behind ‘Kony 2012’ wins new respect.” Los Angeles Times. 30 June 2012. Web. 12 July 2012. <http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-invisible-children-20120701,0,6682423.story>.

 

The Reality of Virtual Reality: The Internet and Gender Equality Advocacy in Latin America

For many years, women in Latin America were oppressed by their countries and culture’s gender inequalities. However, in recent decades, many Latin American countries have become increasingly democratic, which has encouraged women to advocate for greater equality by forming non-governmental organizations and women rights movements. Although many analysts believe the Internet to be the primary mobilization tool for Latin American women, this article discusses the exact extent of the Internet’s role. This article also emphasizes that advocacy for gender equality extends beyond parity in politics. With the growth of new media and technologies like the Internet, it is vital to implant gender equality into all aspects of traditionally patriarchal societies.

Friedman, Elizabeth Jay. “The Reality of Virtual Reality: The Internet and Gender Equality Advocacy in Latin America.” Latin American Politics and Society. Vol. 47. Issue 3. 19 December 2008. Web. 18 July 2012. <http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1548-2456.2005.tb00317.x/pdf>

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