One Child Policy Censorship

This semester I have become intrigued by the controversial one-child policy that exists in China. For nearly half a century, the policy has been in effect and limited the number of children that Chinese citizens can have in order to support population control. This subject relates directly to our classroom study of International Media because it reflects China’s lacking state of media due to political restraints.

Currently, online media outlets have been used to communicate developments to the law in the 21st century. However, these media outlets are regulated by their authoritarian government and are not independent. For example, last week, the Xinhua news agency published an article online that stated that Beijing would allow couples to have a second child if the mother or father was raised as an only child. The fact that this is a state media outlet indicates that opinions on controversial laws such as this are not explored within the country’s media. Instead, it is a very one-sided media landscape where the government presents the laws to its people and does not seek feedback or responses from them.  For example, Chinese citizens cannot create a blog or tweet their thoughts about this policy because of the internet censorship imposed by China’s President, Xi Jinping. The penalty for discussing these issues publicly is jail time.

Chinese Propoganda Screen shot 2014-02-27 at 12.17.52 PM

A media example of the one child policy can be seen in a recent documentary, It’s A Girl. The film focuses on how the policy has affected today’s families in China and the negative repercussions they face when they exceed the government’s child limits. The film’s director, Evan Grae Davis, said in an interview that he found it worthwhile to create media about this topic because in recent years the number of men in China has skyrocketed and surpassed the number on women in the country since men are seen as more favorable children to have. Davis wanted to educate film viewers on this global issue. This in itself indicates that there is a not an even flow of media from China into the United States because prior to this film, there was not extensive information available about the policy. Additionally, the reason behind why media attention has been given to China is because of the disproportionate male to female ratio that is present today.  Overall, this topic is essential for reflecting upon Chinese media because awareness has been raised about the policy in recent years not only within China but also abroad in the United States.

Sources:

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-02/21/c_133134342.htm

https://www.pedestrian.tv/news/home/china-to-loosen-one-child-policy-but-tighten-inter/2005f4ca-c803-4de1-86d9-897d8b7d0563.htm

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American Fetishism in popular Punjabi music

It seems that American media influence in India has surpassed just Bollywood. I was in a store run by Indian women the other day and this music video came on on their version of MTV (I suppose). Almost none of the girls in the video are Indian or south Asian, the artist uses English cliche phrases, and American-made dances like break-dance-esque moves. I found it interesting and had to share!

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TIME is one of the top magazines in the United States and it circulates around the globe. On multiple occasions the magazine produces a different cover for the United States and the rest of the world, often times negating international issues and focusing on homeland concerns. Hypothetically speaking, if TIME was one of the only sources of international media into the US, international media would not exist. Take a look at the examples i found on Buzzfeed.com and i challenge you to ask why is this allowed?

Jan. 21st, 2013
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Dec.5th, 2011

 

 

 

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Jan. 16th, 2012

 

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July 2nd, 2012

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June 4th, 2012

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It seems that TIME magazine is aware of international issues and deems them important enough for the cover of their magazine, but seems to purposely avoid printing that version in the US. There is a number of possible reasons including an effort to increase nationalism, to avoid public support for outside issues, and to simply reassert American dominance on a global scale. TIME magazine is not read by everyone but it is an important reflection on an issue in American journalism and is important to address in this class.

American TIME Magazine Covers vs. International TIME Magazine Covers

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Turkish Protesters Fight Internet Censorship

Turkish President Abdulla Gül signed into law a significant amendment to a pre-existing internet censorship law last week that granted Turkey’s telecommunications authority the power to block any website without a court order. The new law also forces Internet service providers to store information of web users’ activities for two years and make them available for authorities if requested, without the knowledge or consent of the individual in question. The law’s presence and signing has been met with an surge in aggressive protest demonstration.  President Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ignited the very flame they had attempted to suppress.

Turkey is a nation with a large online presence. President Gül says this new bill will protect online privacy, but protestors are facing police armed with tear gas because they say the law means to suppress the flow of information from a corruption investigation that emerged last December. Most notably blocked following implementation of this law were Vimeo, YouTube and WordPress. That’s right, people in Turkey won’t be able to read about their protests on our little blog.

According to a 2013 transparency report, Turkey makes more requests to have information taken down than any other nation surveyed. The report also says that in the first 6 months of 2013, Google received 1,489 requests from executive and police officials to have information removed, in violation of law no. 5816.

Turkey is, for the second year in a row, world leader in imprisoned journalists, according to a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists. 40 Turkish journalists are currently in jail amid ongoing hostility from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been vocal in his hostility toward internet freedom. Erdogan called social media “the worst menace to society” following last year’s Gezi Park protests, which, as you could guess, were organized through social media.

Protesters aren’t just using social media as a means to assemble, however. As one act of online protest, dissidents began a Twitter campaign, #UnfollowAbdullahGul. Consequently, the Turkish president lost 96,000 followers this week and counting. Still, Gül has 4.2 million followers on his official Twitter profile.

A lot is at stake in Turkey. A country with already restricted press and Internet freedom is about to lose a lot more. The new law allows ISPs to provide information to assist the government in investigating any activity it deems criminal. The ISPs are required to give over this information without the consent of the person in question. According to Kerem Altiparmak, a professor of political science at Ankara University, “If the administration asks for a record of your use, you will have no knowledge of this. Since you don’t know that it happened it will be difficult to defend. Three years later there might be a case against you. You might learn that you visited a Web page or sent an e-mail two or three years ago. You no longer even have that computer.”

Additional Sources:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2014/02/the-last-chance-to-stop-turkeys-harsh-new-internet-law.html

http://revolution-news.com/turkish-citizens-say-internet-censorship-take-streets-protest/

http://rt.com/news/turkey-internet-censorship-bill-861/

https://vine.co/u/923022605424930816

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Media in the Motherland

It may seem like ages ago, but just last week this image went viral during a malfunction during the opening ceremonies at the Winter Olympics currently taking place in Sochi, Russia. We all recognize the image well now, and the internet definitely ran with it, using every photo-shop opportunity to edit the picture into something even more humorous.

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This image, however infamous we think it may be, is not what the Russian people saw during the broadcast of the celebration. Instead, during the malfunction, Russian broadcasts were switched to a previously recorded rehearsal in which everything worked out perfectly.

fakerings

To the Russian media, it was very important to uphold a solid reputation, especially at the very beginning of the games. Coming off of a week with the internet had being filled with constant updates and criticisms by international media  of the conditions in Sochi. It is interesting to consider why Russia made this decision.

Vladimir Putin

For my Final Project I want to take a deeper look at the Winter Olympics, and how they are being documented in countries with varying freedoms when it comes to their media. We have always experienced the prime time American broadcast of these events, and I think it will be intriguing to compare methods like ours, or Canada’s, with those of Russia. Social media is really taking a toll on the “standard” practice of media, even for Americans, so I think this is an interesting time to observe and compare how it is affecting other countries.

 

 

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Technological Determinism & The Effects of Media on our Brains

As we learned from the Murphie and Potts reading, technological determinism is the belief that technology is the agent of social change. This suggests technology is an independent influence, and this new civilization known as the “information age” is the result of a successful technological advancement. The technological determinist, McLuhan emphasized his belief that all technologies are extensions of human capacity. He claims that these technologies alter our perception of the world.

The shift from the print-media to this “perceptual field” of mass media, where there is an incredibly rapid flow of information coming to us in every direction has changed the way we exercise our minds. He supports his argument with our brain using vision over sound, and individual readership over a more shared way of learning.

This perspective of the impact of technology on society can be strengthened even further and backed up with scientific research. Nicholas Carr, the author of the 2008 Wall Street Journal bestseller “The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google,” explains how technology changes the way our brains work. Experimentation has proved that our brains have experienced neuro-chemical adaptions and physical transformations from this technological revolution.

In the attached video of Carr, he highlights on the positive and negative effects of how we adapt to this information environment. He teaches viewers how we gain certain skills, and lose other ones.

Nicholas Carr

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The positive effects are our brain now has stronger electro-chemical signals being processed. In addition, we also have new neurons that strengthen the activity of new pathways that are being used.

Now the downside to this is the “old” ways in which we are not exercising our brains anymore are now being weakened. This is because the brain’s response to this inactivity is the loss of the facilities that it is not exercising.

Online media has enhanced our visual cognitive abilities, as McLuhan was stressing. As we adapt to this new information environment, we gain certain skills and lose other ones. Ultimately, the main downfall is losing the ability to pay deep attention to one thing for a certain amount of time. The ability to pay attention is important to build memories. It is how we transform from short-term memory to long-term memory.

The Murphie and Potts reading states that people claims that “we have no choice but to adopt to this technology”. This question it then comes down to is: Is this an upside-down ideology? Is this a transition that is natural, and citizens in this culture have to adapt no matter what? Or can we control how this revolution will impact us? I think Carr has the answer.

As humans a part of this changing society, we must sustain this long-term memory. In my opinion, the long-term memory can be associated with wisdom. We must not lose this wisdom. There is a magnificent difference in the education with just acquiring information and absorbing wisdom. True rich intellect is ever lasting.

Carr states that “the thinker concentrates deeply and doesn’t multi-task.” The answer to all of this is balance. The Internet leads to us wanting answers fast, skimming and multi-tasking. This is keeping us from engaging in concentrated study. The fundamental way to fight this loss of wisdom is to find stability and set aside time to take yourself away from all mediated communication. Carr points how it is difficult, especially for young people because it requires a great sense of discipline. Technology has come into every aspect of our lives. Our social lives and work lives revolve around this mediated communication. Feelings of becoming socially isolated have become the main insecurity from this effect. We must try our best to find the strength and ability to exercise the parts of the brain that seem to be decaying away from technology.

http://bigthink.com/videos/the-neuroscience-of-internet-addiction

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Censorship in Iran

For my project this semester I have decided to focus on Iran and its current internal deliberations regarding the Internet and censorship.  In the beginning of the twentieth century, Internet use was relatively open to the public, but after the rigged 2009 elections, students turned to Internet activism to arrange protests and riots.  It is important to mention that this was student led, because ninety-five percent of the Iranian population is under the age of sixty-five and the median age is only twenty-five.  Once the protests erupted, it was the first time western media had access to live footage from inside the Iranian borders.  Students were uploading amateur videos and pictures to YouTube, blogs, Facebook, and most importantly and specifically, Twitter.  Hardliners of course, were furious that the Iranian people were giving information about the protests to the west and instantly shut down Twitter in the country.  Twitter is now only one of five million websites banned in Iran!

TwitterIran   irantwitter

People around the world were completely transfixed by the press Iran was receiving.  The Internet community around the world began showing its support with millions of retweets and the hashtag #Iran Elections.  I think the most important event to come out the protests was the innocent killing, now considered martyrdom, of Neda Agha-Soltan.  She was a bystander shot in the heart by the militia and the video drew international attention.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/06/23/iran.neda.profile/

I think there have been trends of both technological determinism and cultural materialism in Iran.  On one hand, the emergence of social networks paved the way for new methods of communication among the people.  But on the other hand, because of the actions and culture of social media, the government is now in charge of exactly what kinds of media and technology will be introduced next.  I believe the ongoing negotiations among government officials regarding censorship contributes to the study of International Media because it will not be long that the laws in Iran are going to change, and as a result impact how media is translated from this mysterious country in the Middle East.

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