Thursday, 18 June 2009

protesting technology

i've been only vaguely been keeping up with the news of protests in iran against the outcome of the recent elections. i've seen the protests, felt very sad at the number of deaths and am disappointed that there has been election fraud.

one of the most interesting things about modern protests in any countries is the role of technology. with mobile phones that allow txts, photos, video, and tweets to be sent from right in the middle of the action. then there's the internet with blogs, email etc to provide yet more information. if it's not censored that is.

but one issue that arises from all of this is whose voice we hear are those from the upper class, or middle class, or at least not the really poor - since most people in most countries can afford a mobile phone, though not possibly ones that can be sending video images. but computers are usually not so accessible to the really poor. and in non-english-speaking countries, the poor generally don't speak english.

the result is that the voices we predominantly hear are those of the relatively wealthy. in fact this is common to any country. poor people here have less of a media voice than those with more money. it's the lack of education and writing skills, along with a lack of knowledge of how to use the media, and not being as articulate in terms of putting their points of view forward.

which means that we tend to get a one-sided view. this is more likely to be the case when it comes to another country. and it can become dangerous if those with a greater voice are advocating positions that will adversely effect those who don't have that same access to technology.

i'm not saying that i support mr ahmadinejad, nor do i support rigged elections or political suppression. but i'd like to see more balance in the people we get to hear from. on any issue, in any country.


Raf said...

I'd say the opposite. Mobile phones have become the biggest empowerment tool for poor people the world over.

I could give you many stories: farmers in niger, fisherman in india, villagers in bangladesh homeless people in the us etc.

here's some others:

as a tool of spreading democracy it's hard to beat.

Raf said...

Another example of the empowering possibility of technology for the poor