Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Media: The Rise of the People's News

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Media: The Rise of the People's News

Article excerpt

After the Hutton inquiry had finally done for Andrew Gilligan and his bosses, Noam Chomsky made the only point that mattered: "The idea that the state--whether hiding itself beyond a judge's robes or not--should even have a voice in whether a journalist's report was 'unfounded' is utterly shocking." Now, we see another journalist, the editor of the Daily Mirror, hounded out of his job by big business shareholders, mostly based in the US.

Yet as mainstream journalism succumbs to this corporate Stalinism, so the high-tech products of the same empire threaten to liberate the non-corporate media as never before.

The public got to see both US military caskets and torture inside Abu Ghraib prison through digital photographs, made not by journalists, but by participants in both stories. At the internet site First Draft, the journalist Tim Porter comments: "Imagine how quickly the slaughter of innocents at My Lai would have become known had it been captured by a palm-sized digital camera (or phone) instead of reported by letter."

Digital and internet-based technologies make participants in any event potentially irrefutable witnesses to what really happened. Backed up by websites and bloggers around the world, these "citizen reporters" now represent a significant challenge to the compromised intermediaries of corporate journalism.

Niccolo Machiavelli recommended princes to make a person a puppet by "dignifying him, enriching him, binding him to himself by benefits, and sharing with him the honours as well as the burthens of the State". …

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