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.
11th–15th March 2011