A Googlezon Future?

George has quite fairly concluded in this previous post that the Internet has been unable to uphold regulation and maintain freedom of expression. The battle between these two powerful, opposing entities seems near-impossible to resolve.

Search engine giant, Google, has featured heavily in my blog posts throughout this exercise, particularly in relation to recent legal cases in China and Italy. I questioned whether this marked the demise of Google –  but being a multi-billionaire at just twelve years of age, this vast enterprise doesn’t look like it will be struggling anytime soon.

Future

What does this mean for the future of the World Wide Web? A beast that appears to able to roam free in the wild for much of the day before being captured by a noose and reigned back in whenever we choose.

It’s worth spending nine minutes of your life pondering this very subject with the following short film. EPIC 2015 describes a frightening ‘Googlezon’ future, constructed of a living, breathing media-scape, where journalists are a thing of the past.

And if all that’s too heavy for a Sunday evening, you could always take some advice from David Brent …

BBC Learns to live with New Media…

http://preview.tinyurl.com/ybajozo

 

Here are the BBC COJO guidelines on how to handle court cases with the rise of Facebook etc. 

It’s great to see that the internet is now being acknowledged and accounted for in Journalism training schemes – broadcasting company’s accepting that: “you can’t reverse the digital age,” is perhaps the first step to a fully functional multi-platform form of journalism. 

Some mediums may still have more precedence over others – but it’s certainly a step in the right direction, don’t you think?  

The Answer

As this exercise is about to draw to a close, and my first post was The Question, I thought I’d conclude my part in the exercise with The Answer (well, a round up of what we’ve discussed and a few of my own conclusions – so please forgive the length).

We set out to discuss the question: In what way can media regulation be extended to news and current affairs output on the Internet? And answering the question theoretically was fairly straightforward. Media regulation is extended to news and current affairs on the Internet as it’s subject to the same laws.

The question that subsequently arose from this is whether the theory translates into practice. And the conclusion was simple – it’s virtually impossible to uphold such regulations and maintain the right to freedom of expression.

It appears we’re between a rock and a hard place. In countries where the Internet is regulated a whole range of human rights and freedom of expression issues come to the surface, as Chris and Rosie have highlighted with reference to China in particular. As Rosie says, China demonstrates “censorship and repression at the detriment of it’s own people.”

Positives

In countries such as our own, regulation’s difficult to uphold, and this raises ethical issues. The great thing about the freedom we currently enjoy is that we’re free to publish anything we want. And it’s up to each individual as to whether they’re willing to take the risk of breaking the law as highlighted in the Trafigura case.

This is all well and good, but are we considering the implications of our actions with regards to others? True or false statements on the Internet could lead to a number of problems including inciting hatred and prejudicing court cases as highlighted in The Case of Khyra Ishaq, Jon Venables and Islam4UK. Many of these examples are a result of citizen journalism – which raises the question of how journalism is being affected and how it’s adapting.

The increase of social media in particular is key to this recent development in the world of journalism. It offers us many positives in the shape of breaking news, no impartiality and first hand accounts including pictures and video.  But it also has its negatives – in particular, reliability, as well as the potential problems highlighted above.

This links in neatly to the question of the media audience and how it’s changing – as Giles discussed in his post Vids. Children are growing up in a faster world with the Internet at their fingertips. Their sites of choice are Twitter and Facebook, and with them comes news.  This has led us to question media literacy and where people choose to get their news from – with so much “free” news available to us on the Internet we no longer expect to have to pay for it.

Happy medium

So where does that leave those making a living out of journalism – and how do journalists need to adapt in the digital age? As Tasha discussed, the BBC self regulate their web site, so they can maintain their broadcasting principles across all platforms.  But does this leave their journalists at a disadvantage when freelancers on the Internet can go all out to express their opinions?

We could see examples of this during the forthcoming election – people may move away from impartial broadcasters in search of hardened opinions. On the other hand, some academics seem to think the overload of choice will guide people back into the hands of “professional journalists”, knowing them to be a reliable source.

On a personal note, in an ideal world I’d like to see a happy medium found – regulation enforced to protect us from injustices and ensuring that the facts of news and current affairs accessed on the Internet are reliable, whilst still being able to enjoy the freedom of expression that we’re so lucky to be entrusted with.

I’ll finish by repeating a phrase a I used in response to one of Rosie’s posts on China: censorship in itself isn’t a bad thing – it’s the extent to which it’s enforced and the reasons behind it that are important.

We don’t find the news, the news finds us!!

Surely the biggest thing since sliced bread- social media has brought news to us (even when we didn’t need to know it).

The internet is emerging as the single most important accessory for tens of millions of people around the world- should we regulate it??

It’s not the end…!

While our project draws to a dramatic finally, with what looks to be the busiest day all term (although term finished two days ago!!!) – it really is worth noting that this subject is almost as diverse and controversial as the Internet itself.

Do we or don’t we regulate the internet? If we do, then how do we do it? Self regulated or state regulated? What is the point in self-regulation when we know all to well that only a small fraction of people will abide by this…. and is state regulated Internet too hard-line for a proud democracy such as the UK – there are so many questions – we have attempted to cover all of them, but little solution is available- just a mixture of ideas, drawn from so many sources with so many outcomes….

So should media be regulated on the internet?

Godfrey Bloom, a UK IP MEP thinks laws outlined by the EU for internet regulation as a whole, should not come into force:

But why? Well a lot of material gets posted on the internet that could be wrong or illegal. But if we used the internet accurately this problem wouldn’t exist and regulation wouldn’t be a topic for discussion.

Taming the beast set up a twitter account, defaming celebrities across the world for about a month. As has been mentioned on a previous post, comments about David Milliband, to terrorism, John Terry and Angelina Jolie were tweeted.  We obstructed the real course of micro-blogging and the social media element it is meant to have. Here is what we should have used Twitter.com for:

I wish we had found this guy earlier…

http://www.rogerdarlington.me.uk/regulation.html

Just a quick link, not entirely sure who this guy is, but he is very VERY concise on the pro’s and con’s of internet regulation. Might be worth having a quick read over to put the articles below into some form of context…

Internet Regulation in Practice

Hi all,

As you ‘taming the beast’ gang know I’ve been away on work experience in London for the past two weeks.

While there, I noticed a few issues that I thought I would bring up on here for general discussion…

While working in a busy newsroom I spent some time with the radio station’s web editor. We started talking about article content and what they can / can’t say…

Basically, he was very keen to check and double check any claims I put in any artical for fear of reprisal. I found this funny because I could put the exact same information I had gained (mainly about BA strikes) on their AM radio station which consisted of entirely rolling news and travel – nobody checked the status or legality of what I was saying (which of course – thanks to a pretty heafty law exam, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have landed them in trouble… but still!)

My point is, as soon as any information was transcribed and put online – it became an issue.

My theory is, as soon as it is placed online, ‘the beast’ that is the world wide web, can run off into the sunset with your article and you no longer own your own work. There are always ways for people to access what you have written, even if you have tried to destroy all links to its existence!

Radio is very much ‘here and now’ so it would be difficult to prove at a later date that something you broadcast was incorrect (although,amittedly, not entirely impossible)…    With the internet you can be sure someone, somewhere will catch up with you.

In terms of interent regulation I think this is interesting:

Although we’ve discussed that there are no set regulations on internet output; there still seems to be something to fear in the world of broadcasting – maybe it’s the unknown. The fact that there are no set regulations is perhaps making mainstream media more cautious of breaching rules which they believe exist.

It could however, also be down to a pre-conceived notion of ‘standards’ which have had to been adhered to by the company long before the birth of the internet – but that doesn’t explain the laissez-faire attitude to the legal implications of the AM station.

Anyway, these are my own musings – I genuinely couldn’t figure this out – any ideas are more than welcome…

Tasha