It seems that through current research on user empowerment, access and participation, one could not get through an article without a mention of China. Therefore this blog will further delve into china’s involvement and participation (or lack of it) in citizen journalism, its regulations through gatekeepers and the overall effect on the audience.
Clay Shirky once said, “china is the most managed and censored internet in the world” and I completely agree with this statement! From personal experience, one’s ability to access the internet ‘freely’ in China is in complete juxtaposition to the access gained by Western World. Facebook is inaccessible in China, and for me it wasn’t until my attempted access that I fully understood the full implications of social networking and the large scale of dependency I had for the site….I digress….
Now you are probably wondering why I titled this post ‘Tiananmen, Tibet and Taiwan’. Whilst listening to a radio program named ‘The media report’ on the ABC (available as a downloadable podcast on iTunes) the reporter announced that it is a typical saying used in China to emphasise its regulated media, as the ‘three t’s’ are not to be mentioned in any form of media in China. Furthermore the ‘golden shield’ of china constantly prevents a free flow of unregulated content known as ‘citizen journailsim’. There is no such thing as unregulated media in China! When we also consider the ‘China coup’, that has recently occurred involving citizen journalist and state media. One can determine that there is a counter intuitive effect ricocheting through the Chinese mainstream media, as there was no government coverage of the event, which led to large-scale speculation and rumors. This would not be possible in a dialogic environment.
The constant fight for free speech is further emphasised in the Media Report as Zha Jianying announces that “journalist must play guerilla war with the language police which involves a tenacious effort to push the boundaries for freer speech”. She further states that “journalists must constantly make concessions and compromises to be in the field and that the public must learn to listen between the lines or just tune off ”, therefore these indirect messages do not reach the wider audience and often involve misleading or misinterpreted information, thus there is no honesty in Chinese journalism, as they fear they will break the ‘golden shield’ and commit a crime.
If we are to consider the reliability and credibility of the media, an example of this would be the SARS outbreak in China, where it was discovered that some material was deliberately “inaccurate, misleading or had been removed”. It is also frightening to think that it is easier to spread “rumors then accurate figures”
Overall, what I’m trying to say, is that gatekeepers fully influence our society and constantly manipulate the way we consume. And when we decide to act, as in ‘prosume’, we are constantly effected by the regulations and gatekeepers trumping the ability of ‘citizen journalism’. However the amount of regulation is dependent on the context, as Australian gatekeepers are extremely different to those of China.
In Australia, the internet is now less regulated with fewer gatekeepers allowing for a free flow of information without mediated criteria allowing for full reliability. As prosumers we have the power to actively participate just by commenting, liking or removing content on our Facebook page and it is sad to think that in the 21st century we still have mediated content like that in China.
Feel free to do your bit as a prosumer by commenting on this blog!