Yesterday I was dismayed to see so little media or blogosphere coverage of the crisis in Burma. Today my impression is that there is more mainstream media coverage starting to happen.
It’s different this time around. Not a repeat of 1988, when 3,000 people were killed out of sight of the rest of the world, thanks to the military junta’s control of communications then.
What’s different now is that we have not just the Internet, but camera-equipped cell phones and YouTube.
And according to The Guardian’s Mark Tran’s story Burma Bloggers keep one step ahead of the junta, bloggers are playing a key role in getting the story out:
Despite attempts at erecting a digital wall around Burma, the bloggers, working around the clock, have managed to post pictures and videos of events almost as soon as they occur.
Many images have been picked up by mainstream news organisations, because bloggers have caught images that no one else can capture.
And now the junta is, according to a story by David Pallister in The Guardian, “desperately” trying to shut down internet and phone links to the outside world.
For hourly updates, as close to “on-the-spot” as most are likely to get, there is the Thailand-based Irrawaddy Journal, run by Burmese exiles.
Still not much sign of activity from the leading bloggers of the free world. A search on Technorati showed “burma” as a hot topic, but with no top listings from any blog with a Technorati authority over 30. Nor did Google Blogsearch give any more joy on that front.
So are we bloggers in free countries with the Burma bloggers, risking their freedom and maybe their lives, or not?
I’m generally not the guy to ask about signing petitions: so often the wording is too all-encompassing and I am by no means a poltical radical. But I’m making an exception for the AVAAZ.org “Stand With the Burmese Protestors” petition. Yesterday it had just over 45,000 signatures. Today there are over 85,000, which suggests that it won’t take a lot to reach the target of 100,000. Yes, if you sign you will probably get email about other campaigns, but if that’s a problem you can always unsubscribe.