Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Twitter or How Citizens Have Spoken

Social media has yet again given proof it enhances democratic participation. Twitter users have cracked the mystery behind the gagging order silencing the Guardian’s reporting of a parliamentary question. Twitter investigators published the details of the entire affair late Monday night and ended up in various blogs and in the press starting with The Private Eye. The subject was mentioned in no less than 3,000 tweets in 15 min on Tuesday.

The breach of freedom of press was orchestrated by Carter-Ruck, the law firm representing Trafigura, a multinational oil company. It obtained an injunction preventing the Guardian from reporting on a question tabled this Monday by Labour MP Paul Farrelly. The ‘super-injunction’ prevented disclosures about toxic oil waste, Trafigura arranged to dump in the Ivory Coast, where inhabitants of the capital, Abidjan suffered from “flu-like symptoms" they might have gotten following the dumping”.

This whole story raises debate on several issues: the questions of oil dumping and ‘super-injunctions’ under which “commercial corporations claim the right to keep secret the fact they have been to court”, and the growing power of social media and the different ways it can be used to serve democracy.

Doesn’t it confirm, once again, that London is the social media capital of the world?



kathryn said...

but also how it can quickly connect people globally and create groundswell in a way previously unknown.

a great example of the evolving role of twitter, similar to the iran activity. beware the hashtag!

Nimi said...

beware the hashtage indeed..
Does Twitter just speed up the inevitable groundswell?

Anonymous said...

yeah, or facilitate it