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This panel provides a unique perspective to the development and impact of social media tools in Mexico today. This panel features journalists from Mexico who will discuss how they use social media tools in their news organizations on a daily basis. In addition, they will discuss how Mexican citizens are using Twitter as a way to respond the lack of information in the newspapers that are under threat of drug traffickers. As news organizations have been forced to practice self-censorship after so many assassinations and kidnappings of journalists, citizens and even journalists have been using social media as the last resort to spread the news. In addition, Twitter has been used by the local Mexican government to inform the citizenry about dangerous areas because of drug trafficking. The journalists in this panel will discuss their own experience and use of social media, but also how society is using it.
In 2009 the Iranian government expelled most foreign media organisations and jammed international broadcasts. For the BBC's Persian TV emails, video, Twitter and facebook postings from Iran became the main source of news. Groundbreaking stories were complied using material from viewers and listeners - often sent in with great personal risk to themselves.
The current protests in Egypt, seem to have begun on Facebook. In the Xingjian province of China government censors were defeated by a tweet - news of a popular uprising amongst the regions Uighurs in this remote province leaked out to the world's media. A military clampdown ensued, but not before foreign media got to the region and heard the Uighurs grievances. Conversely the oppressors use the same social media tools, partly to spread disinformation about their activities, but also in the cases of groups such as the Taliban, to push their beliefs.
The panel will discuss how censorship and suppression is made more and more difficult to hide by the social media revolution, and the impact of this for traditional media organisations.
Julian Siddle the inventor of the BBC's technology programme Digital Planet leads the panel with journalists from the BBC Chinese and Persian services who were actively involved in these stories. Examples of UGC - user generated content; videos produced by the public in places with repressive regimes, will be shown during the panel.
by Bill James
Who and what can we now trust in social media? The promise of a new trust and authenticity from the democratization of content was seductive. Is it still credible? The blogosphere seems crammed with trolls, affiliate marketing spammers, cobbled content for viral and book marking campaigns, bogus personas working as intelligence and information hackers and salesmen masquerading as customer servants. Even the evangelists have retreated into a mantra of mere disclosure. Has the new hope for trust and openness been hijacked by the same commercial amorality that dominated traditional media? Will everything new get old again? Both brands and media owners have turned to different methods of censorship. Does censorship offer a real solution to the death of trust in social media content and brand reputation?
11th–15th March 2011