Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Twitter and Facebook spring Guatemalan man from prison

A Guatemalan lawyer was shot to death a few weeks ago and left a videotape that said if he was ever murdered, the president was responsible.

A few days later, a Twitter user sent out a “tweet” urging people to pull their money out of the bank named by the murdered lawyer as being tied in with the president and supposed corruption.

The Twitter-er was jailed for inciting financial panic, tweeted about his arrest, and a group formed in Facebook to raise money for his bail. He was out within hours.

Subverting the state-controlled media

Internet-based independent media and social networks are becoming an important force for freedom of expression around the world.

In many countries, the media are submissive to the government because of the amount of advertising revenue that comes from official sources. Media like Twitter and Facebook distribute news and comment from unofficial sources that formerly could be surpressed or ignored.

One of the reasons I´m optimistic about journalism and media on the Internet is this ability to circumvent all of the suppression of speech that authoritarian governments exert in nominal democracies.

I blogged on it on my journalism site.

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