Radical Instrument

IT is changing the exercise of power. Radical Instrument is picking up the signals.

Search in Tibet, before the Internet

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Overheard on NPR yesterday:  this interview with Robert Barnett of Columbia University, discussing Tuesday’s anniversary of 1959’s failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule. Among the interesting highlights, Barnett mentions China’s current shutdown of text-messaging in Tibet, due to “maintenance.”

He also talks about China’s past efforts to distribute satellite dishes to nomads, as a means to channel Chinese media into Tibet. Tibetans, in turn, tuned their dishes to Voice of America broadcasts instead. There’s an interesting lesson there, and an optimistic one for those who fear government attempts to push propaganda into cyberspace, like the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ efforts to recruit “10,000 bloggers.” I’d guess that when it comes to media technology, even the old-school stuff, individuals are often far more active and directed in their consumption than most people credit. Search didn’t begin with Google, and it’s something that seems difficult to control – easy to misdirect, maybe, but control, unlikely.

Written by Mark

March 11, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Posted in Technology

Tagged with , , ,

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