The World Wide Web (WWW) is a European invention, invented by Tim Berners Lee at CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire), an organization founded in 1954 by twelve European countries. The WWW is the most public manifestation of the Internet because the social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Youtube, Instagram, etc.) are private companies where you can create an account but which as a ‘publisher’ can directly intervene in what you publish and are increasingly doing so under the pressure of governments as a precaution.
This is not the case on the World Wide Web. The ICANN is an American ‘multi-stakeholder corporation’, a kind of foundation for which we must be eternally grateful to Jon Postel (1943-1998, an academic hippie who has remained true to his idealistic principles).
Incidentally, the WWW also has limits to the freedom of expression, just as they apply in the open, but EVERYONE is allowed on it and in any case there is no private administrator who acts as a precautionary censor, what on Youtube, Facebook, etc. is the case. Such as: When is naked pornography and when does pornography break the law. An algorithm or a moderator lacks the intelligence and knowledge for this, so everything exposed on such a platform is ‘blacked out’ as a precaution. Which leads to censorship on art showing nude (and that’s quite a bit!) ‘Online’ as
Fortunately, the World Wide Web is still a sanctuary for political expression with much to experience. I think it is invaluable for the pluriformity – the multiplicity of differing views – in the social debate. There is more to read and watch and listen to than ever before. Like on Doorbaak.be.
Doorbraak.be is a nice Belgian news & opinion site that is reminiscent of Geen Stijl, Cafe Weltschmerz and Blackbox: rowing against the prevailing opinion. Defying authorities who think they have a monopoly on the truth in the form of facts (their facts).
Doorbaak is upset about the leftism of the mainstream media. But that is slowly starting to look a bit aggrieved. After all: how ‘mainstream’ are the mainstream media anyway? Just as the ‘political centre’ is increasingly eaten up by newcomers on the right and left flanks. Perhaps it’s better to say by the ‘margin’, because populism carries both right-wing and left-wing agenda items at the same time.
The whole idea that there are mainstream media and mainstream political parties that can direct public debate is based on the idea that they have exclusive media access, but that has long since ceased to be the case. The Internet and social media have completely fragmented ‘the media’ and made ‘public opinion’ extremely volatile. Anyone can gather a circle of like-minded people around them by becoming active online. And it can go viral.
I am still a loyal user of old media that I trust, such as NRC that I read and the NOS-Journaal and Nieuwsuur that I watch almost daily. I certainly won’t write it off. I appreciate people who count to ten before shouting. Who are self-critical by hearing both sides of the argument.
But I think it’s a huge asset that there are all kinds of online initiatives that critically and annoyingly monitor this often lazy, smug media. If you just surf the web a lot and just sniff around and browse around, then as a media junkie like me, you’ll have the time of your life. Whether it concerns the climate, the economy, the pandemic, Afghanistan or whatever. Every glass is not only half empty, but elsewhere also half full. I read the newsletter of Groenlinks with as much interest as that of Forum for Democracy. Every morning my inbox is full of newsletters from home and abroad and I can indulge myself again.
Favorites? BBC, Euro News, Deutsche Welle, Arte, TV5 Monde,The Financial Times, The Economist but also: De Bicker, Clintel, Syp Wynia’s Week, The Poverty Project, The Project Syndicate, The Conversation, Media Part, De Correspondent, Doorbraak.be , Smithsonian Magazine, IEEE Spectrum, De Groene Amsterdammer, AAAS en Science, Roger Pielke Jr., Unherd, 7DTV, Issues in Science and Technology, Hyperallergic, Mediapart,
The Associated Press, Reuters, Eurozine, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Perlentaucher, The Spectator, 360 Magazine, Politico, The New York Review of Books, London Review of Books, Pew Research, Nature, Open Democracy, University of the Netherlands, pfff.. ….just to name a few. The first thing you do when you hear an expert or authority declare a firm truth (which real experts very rarely do, be firm) is: take a look online.
So I don’t see the problem of that mainstream, biased media that way.
- Title: Tim Berners-Lee
- Author: Photographer Elise Amendola
- Licensee: Supplier AP, Supplier NTB scanpix
- Source: http://www.scanpix.no