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Web censorship will fail, Huffington says

ISTANBUL | 10/13/2011 12:00:00 AM |

Efforts by governments, including the Turkish government, to censor Internet media and websites are hopeless, according to Arianna Huffington.

Efforts by governments, including the Turkish government, to censor Internet media and websites are hopeless, according to Arianna Huffington, co-founder of the news website and current president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group.

“We have seen how many efforts by governments, including the Turkish government, to censor websites like YouTube and blogspot.com are utterly hopeless,” Huffington said yesterday in a speech at the Digital Age Conference 2011 in Istanbul. When blogspot.com was closed in Turkey, people found other ways around to access it, she said. “There isn’t just one way to communicate with each other now.”

Governments realize now that social media is a bigger threat than individual journalists, which explains their efforts to censure online media, she said. “Governments can spin individual journalists very easily, but it is much harder to spin millions of Twitterers,” Huffington said, replying to a Hürriyet Daily News question on censorship.

What governments, marketers and businesses need to understand now is that digital-age media is the brave new media and it cannot be avoided any longer, she said.

Comparing traditional to new digital media, she said while traditional digital media suffered from “attention deficit disorder (ADD),” new digital media suffers from “obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD),” adding that there is a kind of relentlessness in the new media world.

Huffington’s main criticism of the new media order was the lack of storytelling. “We can find all sort of data, figures and opinions, but storytelling, the element need to explain the data and facts, is largely missing,” she said, adding that this would be journalism’s biggest responsibility in the future.

Commenting on the role social networking played in the Arab Spring, Huffington said revolutions did not lack in the past, but now they occur in a much faster way, thanks to online social networking. “Technology accelerates change,” she said, noting that both organization online and offline were necessary to bring about changes.

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