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Week 8 – Big Politics – The Fate of the State

May 2, 2013

This week focused on the issue of transparency, in particular how it affects governments, politicians and its citizens. Transparency of information means that it is easily accessible for individuals. The idea of transparency and openness of government is explored in Lawrence Lessig’s article. He states that ‘transparency in a government means that the public has access to the happenings of that government’ (Lessig, 2010). Transparency has increased as technologies have improved over time. Politicians were often accused of obscuring the truth, however there are so many media outlets now that this does not seem to be as big a problem as it used to be in Australia.  Mason (2011) in his ‘Twenty reasons why it’s kicking off everywhere’ noted that “Technology has … expanded the space and power of the individual”.

The youtube clip below outlines  the transparency of information; addressed  by different ‘leaders’ of the world.

Social media has had a big impact on politics and governments around the world. Blogging and other such internet sites have enabled more people to publish their own work and thus their own opinion. This has shifted the power of politics to more so being in the hands of individuals as they are able to voice their opinion more regularly. Wikileaks is a perfect example of this; being an online system that provides information to the public. Wikileaks aims to make all the information of governments available to the public. These documents have given people around the world an unprecedented insight into the US Government’s foreign activities.” (Wikileaks, 2012).

However social media has not just enabled the public to have a new type of voice; politicians are now also regular users of Twitter and Facebook; documenting for all to see, more of a personal insight into themselves. In saying this Kevin Rudd is one of my only followers on twitter (I only use it to view others tweets and am still yet to post anything). These social media sites have enabled politicians to constantly be ‘accessible’ to the public enabling them to be ‘present’ 24/7. Social media sites are also a great way of reaching the younger demographic, who might not see all the news bulletins but will defiantly scroll down their twitter pages numerous times throughout the day.

Word- Transversally

References

Lessig, L 2009, Against Transparency: the perils of openess in government, The New Republic, accessed 2 May 2013, <http://www.tnr.com/article/books-and-arts/against-transparency?page=0,0>
Mason, Paul (2011) ‘Twenty reasons why it’s kicking off everywhere’, Idle Scrawls BBC, accessed 2 May 2013<http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/paulmason/2011/02/twenty_reasons_why_its_kicking.html>

Ellis, Bob (2010) ‘Sleepless in Canberra’ The ABC, Drum Unleashed, accessed 2 May 2013,  <http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/35116.html>

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