New Media in the South Caucasus: Engaging Publics

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This is a look at public media 2.0 on an international scale. It reviews the way in which public media and new media interact in the context of the South Caucasus.

This is a look at public media 2.0 on an international scale. It reviews the way in which public media and new media interact in the context of the South Caucasus.

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  • Media are moving from mass media…
  • To many-to-many media…
  • Partnerships--Christian Science Montior PLUS NewsHour PLUS public broadcasting stations PLUS bloggers.
  • Watchdog function
  • Pro-am; multiple media; unofficial; nonprofit
  • Open, citizen-run, against centralized news authority, spontaneous.


  • 1. New Media in the South Caucasus: Engaging Publics
  • 2. What to expect
    Public Media 2.0
    New Media: A Toolkit
    The South Caucasus Current Media Climate
    A Media Literacy Context
    Country Specific Overview of New Media
    Transcaucasian Collaboration Projects
    Caveats of New Media for Change Theory
  • 3. Note context
    Public Media as foundation
    A South Caucasian giving this presentation may focus on drastically different things
    The convenience and limits of transnational projects
  • 4. My Introduction
    Peace Corps 2003-2005
    Fulbright Fellow 2007-2008
  • 5. Public media
    Publics can disagree, however they form with a common central issue
    Engaging publics to solve problems
    Media as tool to create a dynamic civil society
    Capacity to act on your own/
    greater agency
  • 6. Wikipedia definition of new media*
    New media is a term meant to encompass the emergence of digital, computerized, or networkedinformation and communication technologies in the later part of the 20th century. Most technologies described as "new media" are digital, often having characteristics of being manipulatable, networkable, dense, compressible, interactive and impartial
  • 7. Wikipedia is new media“Manipulable, Interactive, Impartial”
    Manipulable: first edit in 2003 since then hundreds more on just one definition
    Interactive: Anyone who wants to can contribute
    Impartial: Wisdom of Crowds
    “In part because individual judgment is not accurate enough or consistent enough, cognitive diversity is essential to good decision making.”
    -James Surowiecki
  • 8.
  • 9.
  • 10. Public media 2.0
    Where public media meets new media
    Engaged publics using participatory networked tools to create change
    This has different manifestations relative to government systems it interacts with
  • 11.
  • 12. OpenCongress
  • 13.
  • 14.
  • 15. New Media: It’s What you Make of it
    Cross border Communication
  • 16. It’s Also What you Use to make it
    Networked participatory media is fundamental:
    User-generated photos
    Social Networking sites
    And more…
  • 17. Public Media in the South CaucasusFrom Color Revolutions to donkeys
  • 18. Georgia
    Historically the most outspoken in the region
    Rose Revolution –Kmara and Rustavi 2
    ‘Rally Round the Flag’ effect: War with Russia
  • 19. “There is not a single nationwide TV channel in the country, which is not directly or indirectly controlled by the state. The judiciary is far from independent. The legislative branch is nothing but an obedient executor of the will of the government. The governing style of the president and his closest aides can be best characterized by the formula ‘we know best, so don't interfere.’ ”
    -David Kakabadze, RFE/RL
    Five Years After The Rose Revolution, A Functioning State
  • 20. Armenia
    Russia’s closest ally in the region
    The disparate Diaspora
    Relations warming with Turkey
  • 21. “2008 an 'unprecedented' year in terms of attacks on journalists and limitations on freedom of speech with 18 cases of physical attacks on journalists.”
    -The Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression
    Report on Violations of Media and Journalists Rights in Armenia
  • 22. Azerbaijan
    BBC, RFL and VOA shut down January ’09
    Government currently involved in biggest ‘new media’ scandal in the South Caucasus ever
    Gov’t-run media consists of anti-Armenian rhetoric
  • 23. Azerbaijan is ranked 169th out of 195 in Global Press Freedom House Index
    (Armenia, 151; Georgia, 128)
    Freedom House
  • 24. Media literacy Questions
    Who created this message and what is the purpose?
    What creative techniques are used to attract and hold attention?
    How might different people understand this message differently?
    What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in this message?
    What is omitted from the message?
  • 25. New Media overview: Country specific
  • 26. Georgia
    Approx. 1,500 blogs (tend to be mainly in Georgian)
    Generally ‘leisure’ content with some politics interspersed
    Examples –a Facebook Georgian style
    CYXYMU – a digital refugee
    Koxora –an instant star
    Giga Paichadze
  • 27. Georgian Spring
  • 28. Armenia
    Healthy Armenian blogosphere in Russia’s
    Wide variety of blogs in English, Russian and Armenian
  • 29. UNZIPPED
  • 30. Azerbaijan
    Wide variety of languages in Azerbaijani, English, Iranian, Turkish and Russian
    Surprising amount of gov’t critical blogs in English
    The Donkey Video
    Arzu Gebullayeva
  • 31. Women’s Forum
  • 32. Transcaucasian public media projects
  • 33. Global Voices Online
  • 34. Threatened voices online
  • 36. Project Harmony’s DOTCOM
  • 37. Alternative Start
  • 38. Free Emin and Adnan
    Transmedia: Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Vlog, YouTube
    South Caucasus Unification: Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani consensus
    Mass media coverage: NY Times, WA Post, Reuters, Reporters Without Borders, BBC, Global Voices
    New media sparked censorship, new media used to protest censorship
  • 39. Facebook hate groups*
    Certainly using new media tools, but is this public media?
  • 40. challenges
    Catalyst of change vs. Opiate of masses?
    Authoritarian deliberation
    Lack of access (digital divide)
    Not in a vacuum
    Lack of institutionalism
  • 41. Questions?
    Center for Social Media
    School of Communication
    American University