In the December 2007 “Information 4 Development” magazine, editor Ravi Gupta writes about new media dreams that were emerging. Circa 2007, Gupta defines the evolving term of “new media” as “a group of digitial technologies…[such as] citizen journalists, bloggers, researchers, and organizations” that put an optimistic spin on information technologies as they “provid[e] an alternative source of information and reportage.” These new medias have the potential to change the front of ICTs and how they impact development by fostering a “growing appreciation of individual attempts to provide texts of social, journalistic, and analytical merit.” This has the potential to strengthen the voice of individuals, instead of a one-sided representation of development as represented in mass media. Gupta explains this as positive because “new media [can potentially] challenge the hold of major media conglomerates over news-making.” This is extremely important in countries where the government is restrictive of media infrastructure such as television, internet, and radio. In this sense, new media has positive aspects that “can circumvent policing of the media by the government,” while at the same time negative aspects for individuals as new media, to some extent, promotes the “power of surveillance that the state can use to target citizens.”
In terms of education, new media can promote “life-long learning” where “education [is] more inclusive” and made public. I thought this point was especially pertinent because of the blogging about ICT that this class has recently started. The lessons we are learning in class are now made public via our use of new media in the form of this blog. While the information is public, I think it is important to note that it is also extremely accessible in the sense that it can be accessed on every continent. While Gupta may not have had the foresight in 2007 to the direction new media could take development practices, these new information and communication technologies give knowledge at the fingertips of individuals across the world, as we have increased globalization in 2011. At the end of the article, Gupta remarks that “new media therefore has implications of politics, democratic practice, intellectual property, censorship, surveillance, freedom of textual production, media critique, and community and individual expression.” In a mere four years, I find that new media has even surpassed the practical applications of communication and development that Gupta suggested, and it will be curious to see the direction that unravels are more individuals gain public access to developing information.