Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have been utilizing in diverse sectors such as business, government, media, institutions and individual activities since it has emerged in the last decades. ICT has become popular because it is convenient, flexible and relatively cheap for people to utilize. It also provides global connection where people from around the world can build a network and work for their common interests. The purpose of this report is to investigate how ICT has been utilized as an intervened instrument in the western and eastern countries such as the democratic and the authoritarian countries. The advancement of new media has played central role in the economic, political and ideological intervention and it has been utilized as a tool to influence one country to another and even within in the community such as powerful and powerless, rich and poor, have used widely. In this report, I will investigate in the area of how new media plays major role in intervention and I will discuss the finding from the investigation on media intervention.
In the investigation and discussion, it is found that the traditional media has been intervened by new media and the new media has also intervened in the workplace. In this report, the United States plays central role in the intervention and several countries have responded differently to the US. The intervention between the policymakers from the United States, the Burmese military regime and the Burmese pro-democracy activists are also the major investigation and discussion in this report. The term and definition of the media intervention has been defined in this report as the term of using information and communication technologies to influence the other groups to make change.
Media intervention in economy and workplace
New media has become popularity tool to foster economic development and it has challenged the traditional media where the consumers of traditional media such as print, newspapers and magazine have rapidly decreased in the last years. According to Car and Turgeon (2006), media consumer particularly younger generation has shifted toward the digital media such as electric broadcasting channel and online media. Hence, new media, online channels and social network sites such as News websites, Amazon, MySpace, Facebook, Ebay, iTunes and many more, are becoming the channel of marketing, advertising, trading and sharing the information. This evidence shows that the emergence of new media has eradicated the traditional form of media and new media has intervened the existing of what we read and write on the papers. This signifies that people are shifting from the paper to electric and electric will completely overtaking the rest of marketplace. As Car and Turgeon (2006) have argued that online news content become popular because it provides opportunities for the consumers to interrupt and engage in news and information what they read while the traditional media does not have a space for audience to participate because it takes time to publish, it is costly and it cannot immediately responds to the audience. Therefore, traditional media audiences have declined due to it does not have the ability to resist the intervention of new media. However, Car and Turgeon (2006) suggest that the traditional media can be sustained if it provides a space for audience to be given a voice and create it as a tool to communicate and produce media content.
Information Technology has also intervened in the sector of employment. With the rapid development of IT, many workplace sectors such as Call Centre, Banking and others have been declining because of the outsourcing have rapidly increased. DiRomualdo and Gurbaxani (1998) have reported that many western companies have turned their industries to outsourcing due to the outsourcing has increased the profits. The intervention of IT has affected many jobs in developed countries and developing country such as India has taken those jobs with their cheap labours. IT has changed the traditional workplace, for example, many Call Centre and Banking in Australia, who are servicing for Australian community are operating from other country. Similarly, the advancement of IT has intervened in the workplace standards. Wooden (2000) has studied that IT has created a big gap between skilled and unskilled workers and workers have to update their skills regularly because the IT is changing every year. Moreover, Lowe (1991) has argued that computer has replaced the human and because of the rapid development of new media and technology, manual workers have lost their jobs. As it has mentioned that the new media has contributed to the development of economy and at the mean time it has intervened in many workplaces and it has replaced human. However, IT has also contributed positive change for human. As DiRomualdo and Gurbaxani (1998) has revealed that IT is the main factor of global economic development. It has brought global connection and build business network for the people around the world and people are more connected than before.
Media intervention in political power
The rapid development of new media and information technology play a major role in the power expansion from the powerful countries to powerless countries and the political and ideological conflict have emerged between the democratic and authoritarian countries. Kalathil (2002) reveals that United State where the original birthplace of the Internet, has used the information and communication technologies (ICT) to spread the democratic values to across borders, even the information has reached around the world. American use ICT to disseminate the greatness of American country and its people as a world powerful and incomputable nation. For example, media productions such as news, movies, psychological warfare to condemn authoritarian nations, supporting and assisting aid to developing countries are the major disseminating information to beyond the boundary of the United States. With the benefit of using ICT tool to spread American’s agendas, the world population from top to down and rich to poor knows American as a great and powerful nation on earth. This is how the ICT has intervened from one country to another by spreading political agenda and within a short period time the information has reached to the people in different country and different political system. However, the ICT intervention also has substantial benefits as (Leaning & Averweg, 2007) have pointed out that people from around the world exchanged knowledge and ideology through ICT. It provides opportunities for different people to learn different political system without costing substantial money. People will choose what is right for them once they have broader knowledge by learning via global information.
Information and communication technologies have not only intervened in the authoritarian countries but also a great nation such as the United States itself has been intervened by ICT and it has been confronted internal threat. As US utilizes ICT to expand its political and ideology power worldwide, the substantial consequences have been emerged where many countries particularly the authoritarian countries including middle east have reacted psychological warfare to US through ICT. Kalathil (2002) has pointed out that anti-Americanism has been spreading worldwide via ICT such as online website, internet email and satellite television. For example, 11 September attack was the major affect on US. With the result of this attack, physical and psychological war such as suicide bombing and threatening on ICT has emerged around the world. ICT has helped empower all kinds of political actors, whether they comprise individuals, civil society organizations, terrorist cells, or even states and their various institutional components (Kalathil, 2002). This argument reveals that ICT is the major player of all positive and negative actions. For example, any groups can utilize the ICT to intervene the others but powerful country such as US has more resources to utilize ICT. However, Kalathil (2002, p.348) argues that that the “information revolution has has helped create a multicentric, fragmented world, in which the concept of sovereignty has retreated in favor of an a-territorial, neo-medieval system of overlapping jurisdictions and loyalties and loyalties”. Which mean the great nation such as US also can be threaten and in other word US is not totally secured from the other threat and the diplomacy approach is more essential.
The emergence of new technology has become vital challenge for the elite group who dominate the political and economic power such as the government and corporations. The ICT is difficult to control and identify the user. However, it creates a platform for all level of people whether rice, poor and powerful or powerless. A powerful nation such as US, have utilized the ICT to monitor the information that could potential threat to US. US have also utilized the ICT to spread its political and cultural value with the intentional of expanding political and economic power (Kalathil, 2002). However, Bennett (2003) has argued that the ICT cannot be completely controlled and it allows opposite groups to build network particularly people who are powerless. The network groups could be linked within and outside the country. Some organisations have expanded its members beyond the border and they have become a virtual village of people who have common interests. This virtual network starts building its own power and later it becomes challenge for the political and economic dominators. For example, network group will share information and products within their network without having to rely on the news and information that produces from the mainstream media, and they have dramatically increased the numbers of members who can afford the time and money to distribute information translocally to large numbers of other people. In short, it allows individuals and community groups to reduce the influence gap between themselves and wealthier organizations. Some network group also organise the protest events. For instance, global demonstration against G8 meeting, World Bank and anti-globalization are the major factor of the new media emergence (Van and Walgrave, 2002). More importantly, as Bennett (2003, p.7) has argued that the ICT is a “decentralized, distributed network currently makes it hard for any elite to control online activities. It allows one-to-one, one-to-many and even many-to-many communication in web conferencing forums”.
Media intervention in the democratic and authoritarian countries
Authoritarian regime such as Burma has faced a great challenge by the ICT’s intervention. Even thought the Burmese military regime has tried to control everything in Burma, the government could not resist the ICT’s intervention. According to Zarni (2000) as the new technologies has emerged the Burmese dissidents and their supporters have utilize the ICT to form coalitions and share strategies in their efforts to weaken the grip of the military rulers of Burma. The internet is a crucial tool for the Burmese dissidents in exile and it has provided a vital voice that the military government has controlled the free speech and the Burmese people are not allowed to raise their voice to international, and even their voice have been silenced in their own country. However, despite the tightly control by the Burmese government, the voice of Burmese people have flown through new media. The news and information about the military’s activities have disseminated to the international community. The military government has greatly been disturbed by the intervention of new media as Zarni (2000) has pointed out that the utility of ICT has brought Burma issues on the world community’s attentions where the issues of human rights, the junta’s troop movements, economic conditions, public opinion, politics, and foreign investment have become the newsworthy events for the international media groups. Without new media it was impossible for the Burmese dissidents in exile to continue their struggle for democracy in Burma because most Burmese activists live different countries and the costs of activities would be unaffordable without ICT.
The ICT intervention in Burma has become a critical issue for the Burmese government. The traditional media can be easily controlled by the regime but not the ICT. The ICT is a tool of uncontrollable to the military regime where the military power has been delegitimized in the eye of international community. Kalathil (2002) has found that the Burmese pro-democracy movement in exile who actively opposed the military regime have utilized the ICT to inform the world community that the regime is an illegitimate government where the country was coup by the regime and the regime have denied the result of General Election in 1990 and have refused to hand over power to the democratically elected parties such as National League for Democracy (NLD), Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) and other ethnic political parties. Kalathil (2002, p.349) has studied that the “Internet-based Free Burma Movement has rapidly expanded to include people who had never been to the country, many of them college students”. This shows that the power of ICT intervention has brought non-Burmese community to involve in activities that against the military regime because people have been informed that the military government is brutal and illegitimated government. As Kalathil (2002) has argued that without the ICT, Burmese activists’ movements would not be able to pressure the Burmese government and the US policymakers to take actions. The activities through the use of listservs, web pages, and email petitions that augment traditional lobbying, various campaigns have linked together to form a transnational movement. With the result this combined action US government has to pressure the Burmese government and the Burmese government has to confront the US including the international pressures.
The power of information and communication technologies as has been mentioned in the above arguments. It has intervened not only the authoritarian countries but also powerful nation such as US. ICT intervention has become a great challenge for transnational corporations which owned by developed countries. Giant companies are powerful as they can play major role in political sphere in democratic countries but they have been challenged by the development of new media. US corporations such as PepsiCo and Apple Computer have to pulling out of Burma because of the Burmese campaigners’ pressures (Kalathil, 2002). For example, Burmese dissidents in exile including their non-Burmese colleagues and the online movements utilize ICT to inform the international community that the corporations are involving in crime, because of their investment in Burma which is strengthening the military government to sustain long term power and as a result the regime is killing the Burmese innocent people. This has shamed the US corporations and forced them change. Moreover, corporations cannot resist the ICT intervention because the ICT tool can deliver information to citizens with a short period time without costing considerable money, and as a result of this online campaign, corporations have to withdraw their investment in Burma because there is potential consequence of losing their existing customers if they continue to deal business with the military regime. Therefore, the effectiveness of utilizing ICT has become a vital tool for Burmese dissidents, as Kalathil (2002) has argued that even though Burma political condition does not result in totally overthrown the regime, it has certainly affected to the all policymakers and political actors.
The Burmese regime had been disturbed by the ICT intervention in the emergence of Monks protest in September 2007 and when the Cyclone Nargis hit in the country on May, 2008. ICT played vital role on disseminating information where international community have witnessed the brutality of the regime activities. Williams (2008) has studied that despite internet has been tightly controlled by the military government, many videos and photos from the demonstration in Rangoon have been posted online. More importantly, the images of people who have been killed and beaten by the regime have disseminated on Televisions, online and print media on all over the world. Although the regime could tightly control the country, they could not control the information flows. The video and photo footage of Mr Kenji Nagai, a Japanese journalist was a crucial challenge as it has impacted the relationship between Japan and the Burmese regime and it has finally resulted financial assistance cut from Japanese government. ICT intervention has revealed the brutal character of Burmese government that they have tortured and killed their own people in the eye of the international community. The event of Cyclone Nargis was also another example of how the global community have witnessed the brutality and heartlessness of the regime treated to their own people. Burmese dissidents in exile and inside Burma including their international supporters utilized the ICT to spread information to people around the world and as a result, the Burmese government has confronted the global condemnation and many western countries have increased the economic sanctions on Burma. These are how the Burmese government have been negatively impacted by ICT interventions.
The traditional media has been intervened by new media and the readership and media consumers have rapidly increased on the online based media circulation. The rapid increase of audience in new media has created a popular online marketplace. Moreover, Jobs and workplaces have been affected by the new media where the outsourcing and changing workers conditions have been taken place. The US has used new media to expand its political and economic power. However, several countries have responded differently to US policy and the terrorism and anti-Americanism activities have dramatically increased. Furthermore, Burmese pro-democracy movement in exile and their international colleagues have utilized new media to intervene the US policymakers and the Burmese military regime. The investigation and discussion have found that media intervention have decentralised the mainstream media and it has provided opportunity for powerless group. Burmese pro-democracy activists and the international colleagues have effectively convinced the US policymakers and corporations to change their policies. New media also have revealed the brutal character of the Burmese regime and even though media is tightly controlled in Burma, it has effectively informed the international community about the human right violation in Burma. It is recommended that new media should be utilized as a tool to make positive change and solve the gap between powerful and powerless, and rich and poor, rather than utilize it as a tool of exploitation and destruction.
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