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This week’s front page editor

Rosemary Bechler

Rosemary Bechler is the mainsite editor of openDemocracy.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

From Big Brother to Mr. Murdoch to Mr. Burns, the media saturate our lives. Here, we decode, explain and debate the media we rely upon for democracy - and entertainment.

Austria after Hans Dichand

The death of a powerful media patriarch is also the end of an era in Austrian politics. After Hans Dichand, the spell of his flagship newspaper may no longer work, says Anton Pelinka.

Forums and flame wars in Georgia

During the war with Russia in 2008, Georgians turned to online media in a big way. But with Western funding declining, the future is less certain. While social networking has taken off, Georgians show signs of preferring face-to-face communication

Google vs China: capitalist model, virtual wall

The breach between a corporate behemoth of the new-media age and an emerging state superpower defines the struggle for the world’s information future, say Johnny Ryan & Stefan Halper.

A Manchester of the mind

The Guardian newspaper has its intellectual and moral roots in the northern English city of Manchester. The distance it has travelled - and the condition of the country it has left behind - is measured in the character of its online "Comment is Free" forum, says Christopher Harvie.

Kremlin hand hovers over Russia's internet

So far the Russian government has resisted the temptation of controlling the Russian internet, but this may be about to change, says Mikhail Zygar

The writing on the wall: media wars in Latin America

A contest over the media has become a defining symbol of Latin America's ideological and political divides. But the forces at play are more fluid and surprising than it may appear, says Ivan Briscoe.

The jihadist style-journey: Germany’s election and after

A video-letter from a purported al-Qaida soldier calling on Germany to end its military involvement in Afghanistan has heightened security concerns in the country before and after the election. But it is Bekkay Harrach's "western" appearance as much as his message that deserves scrutiny, say Mina Al-Lami & Ben O'Loughlin.   

Comments on the Internet Manifesto

Can the rules of new media be boiled down to 17 points? The "Internet Manifesto" tries to do so. Join in the Diigo annotation of the manifesto. Can openDemocracy sign up to it?

(To join in the Diigo annotation, you need to sign up for a diigo account and then join the "Internet Manifesto" group.

I usually find it easiest to install the diigo toolbar on my browser to add notes to online texts. You can also get the same sort of functionality by installing the diigolet button, which is somewhat easier to use and install.If you have any trouble with any of this, add a question to the comments on this page and we'll try to sort it out. TCP)

State 2.0: a new front end?

Just as old media has learned to use the fluid networks of Web 2.0, so old politics can fuse incrementally with the State 2.0

Violence and blindness: the case of Uchuraccay

Public space is created by the collective authority of its participants, and that requires an understanding of their lives and projects. The press and the Internet, as far as they do not embody that understanding, will create a blind, broken and violent public space, as seen through the extended example of the 1983 events at Uchuraccay in Peru.

China's civil society: breaching the Green Dam

The campaign by China's netizens against the government’s ambitious attempt to control and monitor internet usage is a signal of their emerging political power, says Li Datong.

Mutuality 2.0: open sourcing the financial crisis

If open source can create complex software products, what would be needed for the same techniques to apply to financial products?

Don't end "no win, no fee" libel cases

The triple combination of "no win, no fee" libel litigation, global publishing through the web and the UK's definition of a publication have been pinpointed as a threat to global free speech. But "no win, no fee" libel litigation opens access to the law beyond the wealthy. It should be reformed to encourage responsible use rather than abolished altogether.

Booking the future

Preference models will make niche publishing profitable, argues this detailed business scenario. But watch out for monopolies and civl liberties.

Journalism's many crises

Circulation, revenue, attention, authority, and deference: a host of troubles force the diminishing of news in the United States.

E Pluribus Facebook

The social networking giant recently published “Governance Documents” which would give its users a vote – potentially binding, albeit in unlikely circumstances – in how it is run. Jonathan Zittrain notes this populous community’s move towards a form of citizenship.

Will British libel law kill net free speech?

The UK's libel laws mean more and more websites globally will be forced to respond to threats of litigation with the strategy of "take it down, take it down quickly, take it down again."

The liberty of the networked (1)

Benjamin Constant, at the dawn of the industrial revolution, warned we needed both indicidual and collective notions of freedom to survive if modernity were not to turn into tyranny. In this new technological dawn, we face the same threat and should look once again at Constant's lessons

The politics of ME, ME, ME

The shrillness and point-scoring of much internet-based discussion - on topics as diverse as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and chronic fatigue syndrome - is narrowing the space where a larger political dialogue should be, say Keith Kahn-Harris & David Hayes.

Nine-inch nails in the White House

The entertainment industry has transformed human visual capacity - and reshaped the outlook on electoral politics too, says Jim Gabour.

After disaster: information for life

The delivery of reliable information - often by people in the affected communities themselves - is a vital component of recovery from disaster, says Imogen Wall.

(This article was first published on 24 October 2008)

Rights to Spore

The controversy about the new computer game Spore reveals the futility of digital rights management

Citizen war-reporter? The Caucasus test

The Georgia-Russia war has exposed some of the flaws in the idea of citizen journalism, says Evgeny Morozov.

Gilberto Gil: the open minister

The global reputation of the renowned Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil is secure. But what of his legacy as Brazil's minister of culture? The test, says his former colleague Jose Murilo, will be the fate of his vision of "open culture" as a space for progressive change in the global-networked society.

SuperMedia: the future as “networked journalism”

New-media communication tools are making possible a profound shift in the way journalism is conceived and practised. The impact will be on the public sphere and democracy itself, says Charlie Beckett.

China's netizens and Tibet: a Guangzhou report

A viral surge of nationalist sentiment over Tibet has fuelled the hardline official narrative. The longer-term consequences may not be to Beijing's liking, says Ivy Wang.

China bloggers debate Taiwan

The presidential election in Taiwan was discussed avidly by bloggers in mainland China. openDemocracy joins Bob Chen and GlobalVoices in presenting a selection of their views.

Democracy in the network age: time to WeThink

The new communications technologies are a toolkit for enriching and deepening democracy - and their greatest impact will be in the global south, says Charles Leadbeater

Nonline community: freedom, education, the net

Both governments and zealous cyber-enthusiasts champion the internet's educational and political potential. The danger that results is a policy of techno-compulsion that undermines citizens' autonomy. There is a better way, says Dougald Hine.

iWar: pirates, states and the internet

The internet-dependence of governments, businesses and authorities around the world invites a proliferation of net-based assaults. Welcome to the new age of "iWar", says Johnny Ryan.

The blind newsmaker

Did the market generate an ethic of professional, independent journalism or was it a historical accident? Probably an accident. And will the blogosphere deliver the material that this ethic produced? Probably not. de Tocqueville, Stephen Jay Gould and Walter Benjamin are marshalled to the challenges posed by the new economics of news.

The media and the war: seeing the human

A journalism that recognises and reports the traumas of civilian victims of war can be truthful, powerful and a counter to the "indifferentiated" assaults of modern terrorism, says Philip Bennett of the Washington Post.

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