The Knight News Challenge Information Blog

Where Innovative Ideas Get Funded at NewsChallenge.org

Citizen Journalism in Myanmar/Burma: Tales of Conflict Writ Large and Live on the Web

Posted by Jacqueline on September 26, 2007

It’s tough for any news organization to report on remote corners of the globe, particularly one that tends to be fairly closed off to outsiders.  Especially when it is a place like Myanmar, where the political situation is deteriorating and the threats of violence are escalating (A quick summary – an increasing number of protests and marches have beeing taking place, and the current military junta government has used deadly force against a peaceful protest that consisted of thousands of people, including local monks.  The U.S. and the European Union have condemned the attacks).  You can check out the country’s Wikipedia, which has been kept updated as to the current state of the nation, for more background on this story.

Enter brave citizen journalists like the ones who are posting photos on Flickr, videos on YouTube, updating Wikipedia, and generally giving the international community with an insider’s view on what’s happening.  This kind of ear-to-the-ground preporting is especially vital in places where the country’s leaders are not exactly known being forthcoming to foreign press corps, to say the least. 

You can view pictures of the protests on Flickr, here, here, and here.  And if a picture’s worth a thousand words, video has to worth at least a million; therefore, you can check out clips on Youtube.  Maybe this time, as Khengze from the Webs at Work blog says, the revolution will be YouTubed.  He also writes about how the Burmese uprising is becoming a textbook example for future citizen journalists in Asia and elsewhere, particularly the developing world (for instance, cell phones with cameras are becoming fairly ubiquitous globally, allowing virtually anyone to document history as it happens and upload it to the web).  In addition, he mentions Burmese born, London based blogger ko htike’s site, which has become a repository of images and breaking news gathered from a variety of sources. 

Obviously the situation isn’t exactly rosy, (as freedom of speech is still curtailed – bloggers in the country have been arrested for posting images of the protests and related stories).  However, intrepid citizens have been overcoming this block by emailing people like the aforemention ko htike or tipping off news services.  They also use proxy websites like YouTube and Flickr, which have the additional benefits of bypassing the language barrier – the images of the protests hold universal meaning.

Kudos to the brave bloggers, photographers, and videographers who are working to make that there will be instant global ramifications of the current military government’s actions.  Although there are indeed stringent censorship laws, Myanmar has slowly become more open to the outside world, and these people are definitely taking advantage of it by making sure that their government’s actions are depicted honestly on the international stage.

Have an idea or method to compile all this into one hard-hitting citizen news site or some kind of massive “report from the scene: Myanmar” newsfeed?  Maybe you should enter the news challenge yourself. 

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Citizen Journalism in Myanmar/Burma: Tales of Conflict Writ Large and Live on the Web”

  1. Even mainstream Myanmar blogs are carrying their parts of the story.

    http://him.civiblog.org

    [him] moderator

  2. […] by Jacqueline on September 28th, 2007 Two days ago I wrote about how citizen journalists were taking advantage of technology to report what the real situation on the gro…, and although the current military junta regime has been trying to staunch the flow of […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: