David Hoffman, the founder of the NGO Internews and the author of our upcoming book, Citizens Rising: Independent Journalism and the Spread of Democracy, says new media is helping citizens become the new Fourth Estate. In a blog for Huffington Post, he says everyday people are embracing the role of oversight traditionally undertaken by the traditional media:
“As the new media disrupt the industrial model of information, citizens have become empowered to oversee the doings of their elected representatives. A more direct form of democracy is emerging. The availability of information and, more importantly, the ability to communicate and self-organize has created a diverse “citizens movement” that serves as a check and balance on the prerogatives of government. It is a worldwide phenomenon. Millions of citizens have taken to the streets of Sao Paulo, Tel Aviv, Manila, Madrid and Bangkok demanding good governance and an end to corruption. Demonstrators have swept away autocratic governments in scores of countries. Citizens in India demand protection from rape. In China tens of millions of bloggers have become a virtual citizens lobby pushing for environmental change, blocking huge new dams and petrochemical plants. In Italy and other European countries new citizen parties have emerged to challenge established political powers.”
Citizens Rising is available for pre-order from the CUNY Journalism Press.