The Truth Will Bubble Up

Posted: February 9, 2011 by Adam Hodnett in Uncategorized

While the organizing power of social media and the so-called “facebook revolution” is interesting, I think the biggest thing happening in Egypt in connection with new media is the fear it strikes in those of power.

Everything I know on Egypt is coming from and—which is devoting the majority of their daily shows to Egypt. For the last couple days they’ve been focusing on the “systematic targeting of journalists.”

“The world is watching” was the chant at the G20 protests in Toronto and that is certainly the case in Egypt. No one will ever try to cover up another Tienanmen Square, and anyone who thinks they can control information is severely confused about how the Internet works.

One of my favorite images (even though I couldn’t find it for this post) is a line of fully armed riot cops facing a crowd of protesters with camera phones above their heads.

People are nervous about the overload of information available online, but I’m convinced that if enough people record an event then the truth has to rise to the top. And for whatever reason, this scares people in power.

From what I understand, journalists are in the most danger in Egypt right now. A journalists was shot and killed and Ahmed Mohammed Mahmoud, the Cario bureau chief for Al Jazeera English was detained.  On Monday Sharif Abdel Kouddous, the senior producer at Democracy Now, reported on the systematic targeting of journalists and how they’re continuing to do their job despite the threats.  There’s a media center set up in Tahrir Square that is collecting photos and videos, putting it on cds and flash-drives, and getting them out of the country so they can be uploaded while the internet is down in Egypt.

I really am a believer in the fact that if you’re not doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to hide. While I still don’t really believe that government has a place in the bedroom of its citizens, I don’t really care. I more or less assume everything I do is recorded or traceable and I stand behind it all, even though I’d rather not discuss a lot of it with my mother.  I’m also not in a position of public service; I think this is twice as true when you live off the taxes of the people.

The ease with which we can transmit media and the amount of material now available to journalists is just amazing. There can never be too much footage, and the more a government seems afraid of it, the more I’m convinced of how important it really is.

  1. Mike Carter says:

    Amy Goodman is the bomb. Although I think you are misunderstanding Pierre Trudeau’s quote a little bit, or maybe just not explaining well enough what you mean (comes across quite contradictory), this is a good post.

    • Adam Hodnett says:

      Thanks for pointing that out. I think you’re right, that quote is probably a little too out of context (I just doubted myself and looked it up).

      What I was trying to get at was that I don’t believe a government should have any interest in the private lives of its citizens (which I think is the essence of what Trudeau was saying, but the context of the quote makes it a pretty loaded thing to write), but my problem is that I feel like citizens have interest in the private lives of those running their government. My point was that, if it came down to it, I really don’t care if someone wants to monitor everything I do, because I stand behind everything I do on moral grounds, even if the law doesn’t always agree. So while I think it’s not the governments place to be concerned with my private life (and especially not to pass criminal laws in regards to it), I don’t really care. Because I really do believe the government should be transparent, and I’m willing to apply that standard on all levels if it’s thought unfair to require members of the government to be open while maintaining privacy for the average citizen. BUT, I really don’t think the lives of average citizens have enough public interest to justify monitoring them, and doing so feels like an abuse of power. Limiting the reach of a government also seems like a good way to keep their power in check. But my top priority is transparency, so if it has to be all or none, I definitely vote on it applying to all. I live the majority of my life online anyway.

      I thought this idea was relevant to Egypt because the crackdown on media and information doesn’t make sense to me. When I can justify following government officials from their private homes, I really can’t approve of restricting information on such gigantic events such as these. I say that information should be free and people in power should be accountable, it seems criminal otherwise. I’m willing to sacrifice what’s left of my privacy if it means the powerful people have to as well.

      The real point is, there’s absolutely no reason to limit information, and anyone who does is proving that they believe what they’re doing is wrong. I just kind of thought alluding to an extreme (my stance on individual privacy) would reinforce this, but I was biting off a little more than I could chew.

      It’s a little bit of a half baked idea to begin with, but I think that’s clearer.

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