Mobile democracy

Written By: - Date published: 1:44 pm, February 5th, 2008 - 5 comments
Categories: brethren, national - Tags: ,

Another release on the state-owned telecommunications company Kordia from Murry McCully this morning which starts:

Helen Clark’s claim that Kordia’s cellphone tower work for the repressive Government of Myanmar (Burma) somehow contributes to democracy in that country is fanciful, says National’s Foreign Affairs spokesman, Murray McCully.

An astute reader just sent us a great link to this article in the Washington Post on the relationship between modern cell phone technology and democratic advocacy in the Philippines.

MANILA — Raymond Palatino’s cellphone pinged loudly, and a text message lit up the display: “Other students are already marching. Where are you?”

Palatino and hundreds of others — nearly all carrying cellphones — were on their way to Manila’s gated presidential palace for a protest rally. Palatino and what people here call a “text brigade” were still a couple of miles away, about to board buses in the steamy midday heat…

“WEAR RED. BRING BANNERS.” The messages — faster and cheaper than phone calls — went to thousands of young people, telling them to gather near Morayta Street.

“I didn’t talk to anyone,” said Palatino, 26, a university graduate who has a contagious smile and aspires to be a teacher. “All the organizing is done through texting. It’s affordable and instant.”

Cellphones and text messaging are changing the way political mobilizations are conducted around the world. From Manila to Riyadh and Kathmandu protests once publicized on coffeehouse bulletin boards are now organized entirely through text-messaging networks that can reach vast numbers of people in a matter of minutes…

“Before, we had no choice but to keep quiet and listen to the president,” Palatino said, still holding his tiny phone. “This is a development for democracy.”

In McCully’s defence, the Brethren probably don’t use cellphones.

5 comments on “Mobile democracy”

  1. Conor Roberts 2

    Here is an interesting blog that looks at the opportunities and limits of using ICT (including mobile technology) to promote peace and reform.

    http://ict4peace.wordpress.com/tag/burma/

  2. andy 4

    McCully is dead wood, he floated this without the OK from headquaters. Nats message machine fails agian!

    He is desperate to consoloidate or cling on to his position after what must have been a rough Nat get together the other weekend.

    Key and English must find a way to retire him and fast.

  3. Phil 5

    Sorry, but I don’t quite see the connection between cellphones in South East Asia, and the EB.

    Back to persecuting a religious minority because its ‘fashionable’? I bet you’re a Catholic.

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