Tag Archives: Freedom of speech

Report: Social Media and News

Report: Social Media and NewsLast year I was commissioned to write a report on ‘Social Media and News’ for the Open Society Media Program, as part of the ‘Mapping Digital Media’ series. The report is now available here (PDF).

As I say in the introduction, I focused on “the areas that are most strongly contested and hold the most importance for the development of news reporting”, namely:

  • competition over copyright between individuals, news organisations, and social media platforms;
  • the move to hyperlocal and international-scope publishing;
  • the tensions between privacy and freedom of speech; and
  • attempts by governments and corporations to control what happens online.

These and other developments (such as the growth of APIs which “connect the information that we consume with the information we increasingly embody”) are then explored with specific reference to issues of editorial independence, public interest and public service, pluralism and diversity, accountability, and freedom of expression.

That’s quite a lot to cover in 4,000 words. So for those who want to explore some of the issues or cases in more detail – or follow recent updates (and a lot has happened even since finishing the report) – I’ve been collecting related links at this Delicious ‘stack’, and on an ongoing basis at this tag.

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Mugging the lawyers

If the famous media gaggers, the libel law firm Carter-Ruck, scourge of Private Eye, thought they’d scored another famous victory suppressing news (these guys are big on bragging) they hadn’t reckoned with social media.

#trafigura is as I type the #1 trending topic on Twitter (that’s in the whole world). The Spectator has already broken the wall between what the blogs will say and what the print media thinks it can get away with … and many, many more people are now aware of the very story a very rich set of people running a polluting company is paying them – presumably – many millions to kill.

In a few hours American bloggers will start picking up on the story enmasse. What’s Carter-Ruck going to do then? As @ElrikMerlin just pointed out to me ‘this is Streisand Effect in action’ – something which I have blogged about before.

When Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov tried the same trick, and created the same effect, it generated this quote from Boris Johnson (one of those inadvertently whacked by Usmanov’s ‘take-down’ action):

We live in a world where internet communication is increasingly vital, and this is a serious erosion of free speech.

This is what Carter-Ruck did: Continue reading