The need to challenge authority

Citizen journalism – the kind of non-corporate reporting I examine in The Blogging Revolution – is growing in scope:

A global study conducted by the University of Queensland has found Australia is lagging other parts of the region and comparable Western countries in the pursuit of citizen journalism.

“It’s a rather complacent society,” said Michael Bromley, who heads the school of journalism and communications at UQ.

“I don’t think we’re terribly well served (by the existing media) but I don’t think we’re badly served,” Professor Bromley said. “People don’t see the point of making the effort.”

The study, which looked at 60 examples of citizen journalism in 33 countries excluding the US, found citizen journalism was strongest where the form of government could be characterised as “soft authoritarianism” — countries such as Malaysia and South Korea, Professor Bromley said.

“(It flourishes) where there is room to comment and to intervene and to participate but there are strict rules: for example, the media is controlled by the state. That creates a need for it.”

In countries where there was a repressive regime, such as Burma, the study found fewer examples.