The Trouble with Golden Dawn

As Featured on Radio Twenty

The Golden Dawn organisation is a far-right Political Party in Greece. On par with the BNP they have been accused of being fascist, racist and xenophobic; amongst other accusations.

This week four of their members of parliament, including the leader of the party Nikolaos Michaloliakos, were arrested for belonging to a criminal group. Other counts include murder, assault and money-laundering.

The Greek government have clamped down on the political party after a Golden Dawn supporter has been accused of murdering anti-racist musician Pavlos Fyssas on the 18th  September.

Credit - www.dailystormer.com

Credit – www.dailystormer.com

The Greek government have begun referring to Golden Dawn as a criminal group to avoid being accused of preventing democracy take its course. But is it ok to stop fascist sentiments spreading, or is this a prevention of free speech?

John Stuart Mill a philosopher alive during the enlightenment is quoted saying, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”. But this was inspired by 17th century writer Volitaire who lived and was inspired by the French Revolution. After frustration with King Luis XVI a revolution led to the constitution being re-written so that France became a republic. The newly founded constitution included the phrase “Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else”.

Credit - ahitler.greyfalcon.us

Credit – ahitler.greyfalcon.us

So is giving fascists a platform to speak and air their views, which often call to remove freedom of speech, the right thing to do? Ask yourself, would you give Hitler and the Nazi party of Germany’s past a platform? They were banned in Germany after the Munich Putsch that led to Hitler being jailed and their numbers then dwindled.

However, when Hitler was allowed to speak again, the Nazis eventually succeeded in growing to become the largest party in the German Government. After three elections the President felt he had no choice but to appoint Hitler Chancellor, despite his opposition and two previous denials. Hitler and the Nazis then proceeded to shut down Democracy.

Democracy is about having the right to vote, having universal human rights. Allowing people who want to strip that right away, to air that view, is an attack on democracy.

It seems like a juxtaposition to defend free speech, with the exception of speech that essentially spreads hate. But you can at least agree, its ok to be who you are, who ever that is.

An important justification is: it is not right to have or spread the opinion, that other people don’t have the right to be Gay, Straight, Black, White, Disabled, Well, Women, Man. Neither, All, None, etc.

The only opinion that is Wrong, is the one that thinks certain groups shouldn’t have rights because of who they are, not the opinion they hold. Black people will always be black, but fascists can change their mind. They don’t always have to be fascists.

Globalization & News #2MED633

glocalization with walmart

Globalization is generally accepted as the unprecedented flow of news, Technology, Ideas and Images.

Graham Miekle used the short time we had this week (due to a look at essay writing – Semi colons for two closely linked but separate sentences and paraphrasing is ok!) to discuss what quite possibly opened the world up to globalisation first, the invention of the telegraph.

The electronic telegraph, engineered by Samuel Morse (the Morse of Morse code) “Permitted for the first time effective separation of communication from physical transportation” REF. It meant messages could travel faster than people, and this revolutionised the concept of information making time and speed of when it gets to you important for the first time. This is where news wires can be traced back to. The London papers would be printed and sent up on trains to the north, but the local northern papers would get a digest of them by telegraph and would print it in their papers. this would then be read first by locals before the London papers reached them.

The launch of CNN in the 80s was the next major jump forward. Its taken for granted now, but their major innovation was the introduction of continuous unedited news. Its appeal was based around the idea, it was live and therefore unscripted and unchecked, so people would stay tuned in just incase the information was updated. This was characterized as the ‘Uncertainty Principle’

We finished by looking quickly ahead at books by  Mckenzie Wark, in pariclar the word he created for his most recent book ‘Telethesia’. This of course combines Tele- meaning combing two from a far and anesthesia which is generally regarded as the loss of feeling of sorts. It of course considers that in with a ever growing Global instead of Local dorstep, are we paying less attention to the world we live in.

The Changing Business of News #2MED633

convergencve

With the world becoming ever more networked and brought closer together we looked at how different media companies have tried to enter the world of mobile apps and converged media.

We started by looking into ‘The Daily’ probably the biggest media #fail know to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. It was essentially the ‘1950s’ old style newspaper with moving images and videos. It was updated once a day and was a weekly paid service. It failed because it was an unnessacaery aggrorgater with limited sharing, only to Facebook, Twitter and emails. As it was only updated once a day, everyone was able to get more up to date information from all the other apps on their phone. It was mentioned that people go to specific apps for specfic type of news too, Sports fans will go to sports apps, not to a general newspaper app.

The other ‘convergence’ examples we looked at were what the BBC has done, News Corp and Google.

  • BBC – Has done well in the convergence sector, because as Public Service Media with a secure income, and therefore is able to experiment and spend money on things without worrying about a return. Things like the iPlayer, Democracy Live website and the wider BBC News & Sports apps are examples of this.
  • News Corp – Has really struggled. we discussed it was interesting how they had such a massive catalouge of companies doing all sorts of different media, but how they have yet to successfully converge and link them up.
  • Google – This may seem like an odd to comapny to name because they arent a traditional media company, But google News has brought a tottally new concept to news consumption. It uses algorithms to put the most recent News published to the tags of news you want to read. It starts you of with the standard UK, World, Politics ect but allows you to add your own subjects, From Donkey Kong to Slugs. What’s interesting about this is it puts recent over reputable first. Itg also allows you to pick your content first and provider second, completly flipping the old model.

The 3 C’s of Convergence (Content, Computing and Convergence) create a tension between these ideas of Journalism:

Monolouge          News As a Package       Distribution
<>                                   <>                            <>
Conversation       News as a Database         Sharing

And what i thought was most interesting was at the end we finished by thinking, could convergence lead to an end to ‘Media’ Gate Keeping, by people doing “Random acts of Journalism” (Lasica 2003)

News & Public Opinion – Public Sphere #NAPO

Today’s lecture focused on the opinion Democracy, or indeed more specifically Public opinion.

At first we explored the two widely accepted forms of representative democracy Elite and Deliberative.

Elite is where citizens vote for the Elite, who then make decisions based on un elected officials and experts opinions because they are thought based to make decisions on their field, as they are ‘Experts’.

The other, Deliberative, is where citizens still vote for representatives but they are instead much more involved in the decision making processes as the citizens and their ‘public opinions’ influence and inform the representatives.

At first look deliberative seems to make more sense or it seems to be more democratic. But what shocked me was how i felt like our ‘Democracy’ was more elitist than deliberative. I did settle on the concept of democracy as a sliding scale as our government and system of MPs is not entirely elitist but the Upper House of Lords, the use of aides and experts are. Its fairer to say ours sits somewhere between the two. That said, it is defiantly closer to the Elite format.]

There are two main Theorists to back these concepts of democracy and as a branch off the public sphere. First is Walter Lippman who believed the best way forward was the Elite structure. He argued this because he didn’t think people were clever enough or have the time to assess the complete info to make decisions on governance. He also argued that because everyone’s perception of reality was different how could the Public in general be expected to come to make important decisions. The most interesting thing about Lippman was he was the man behind the modern-day form of stereotypes; he said ‘We perceive reality to fit our stereotypes’ As to the media doing anything about helping the ‘Public’ understand he dismisses this as impossible because of the concept of journalists being ‘professionals’ (The idea Newspapers and Journalists are bound by the rules and advertising restrictions set by their organisation)

The counter theory supports the more deliberative theory and that is Jurgen Habermas’ theories. His speak of the Ideal Public sphere, potentially like the one in the 18th century Bourgeois public sphere during the rise of trading, capitalism and the middle class. He thinks that the Ideal Public Sphere has Universal access, free from state or economic pressure, that is dealt with in a rational way with critical discourse based on evidence. Habermas accepts we are handicapped by our perceptions as Lippman said but argues that if we talk and exchange on these perceptions, we are able to listen and alter them. However his theories also go on to explain that after the 18th century a ‘Re-Fuedalisation’ of media took place. By this he means there was and is now a return to where media is dependant on advertising and serves private interests, much in the way Lords ruled during the feudal age, now Media Moguls do now. He was also particularly critical of Public Relations, management and Manipulation of public opinion.

His theories have been criticized, especially by the feminism movement for talking of the Ideal public sphere in the 18th century, because that was made up of mainly (ironically largely like today) White, Middle Class, Men. However his ideas are much more palatable than Lippmans, as a show of hands at the end of the lecture saw very few Lippman fans over Habermas. As to those who say he is ‘utopian’ modern examples of his Ideal speech and public sphere concepts can be found in movements such as the Occupy movement who successfully found ways to re-engage with politics in his way in an attempt to make our democracy more deliberative. However the evictions of these camps see the Elite system winning over for now.