The brave citizen journalists, photographers, bloggers, and videographers on the ground in Burma may be partially silenced by the military junta government’s stringent censorship, but they are not totally quiet. Instead, they’ve been forced to utilize more complicated methods to get the word out, like smuggling images in cell phones and breaking down files in order to send out them out undetected.
“It is not clear how much longer the generals can hold back the future. Technology is making it harder for dictators and juntas to draw a curtain of secrecy.
“There are always ways people find of getting information out, and authorities always have to struggle with them,” said Mitchell Stephens, a professor of journalism at New York University and the author of “A History of News.”
“There are fewer and fewer events that we don’t have film images of: the world is filled with Zapruders,” he said, referring to Abraham Zapruder, the onlooker who recorded the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
Before Friday’s blackout, Myanmar’s hit-and-run journalists were staging a virtuoso demonstration of the power of the Internet to outmaneuver a repressive government. A guerrilla army of citizen reporters was smuggling out pictures even as events were unfolding, and the world was watching.”
Hopefully, the continued efforts of the citizen journalists and reporters in Burma will manage to keep the world’s eyes on their corrupt government – and that other nations will draw positive lessons from this situation.
Do you have ideas for citizen journalists in places where the technological reach is small and freedom of the press is but a pipe dream? Any projects that could help them achieve their goals? Enter the Knight News Challenge and you could win a grant and make your innovations a reality.
The Human Rights Watch’s Burma section – here’s a lot more information on the current government and the country’s recent history.
The NY Times’ The Lede Blog’s latest post on Burma – be sure to check out the comments and the reactions from Burmese peoples and other reporters who have been there in the past few months.