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e-Democracy update - 12/7/06 - Wikis get political, New media vs Old media, and Beijing or Bust blogger free

12 July, 2006
By Daniel Macpherson

Wikis go political

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has launched a new wiki devoted to political topics.

Mr Wales announced the site, Campaigns Wikia, through an open letter to the political blogosphere.

"Campaigns have been more about getting the television messaging right, the image, the soundbite, than about engaging ordinary people in understanding and caring how political issues really affect their lives," Mr Wales says in the letter.

"Blog and wiki authors are now inventing a new era of media, and it is my belief that this new media is going to invent a new era of politics. If broadcast media brought us broadcast politics, then participatory media will bring us participatory politics."

Mr Wales says users should sign-up to the site and start spreading the word about it.

"We can turn this into the first beginnings of what is to come. This can be the start of the era of net-driven participatory politics. And it does not matter if you are on the right, on the left, moderate or extreme, socialist or libertarian," he says.

"Whoever you are, and whatever you believe, you can share with me my sincere desire that the process [should] be about substance and thought, rather than style and image."

The New Republic trades blows with new media

A fight between new and old media has erupted after accusations of a scandal hush-up from a prominent print journal editor to a prominent blogger.

The New Republic senior editor Jason Zengerle says the situation was not meant to become so heated after accusing Markos Moulitsa, founder of the prominent blog Daily Kos, of hushing up a potential scandal involving a former business partner.

Mr Zengerle also says Mr Moulitsas operates "the digital equivalent of a smoke-filled backroom".

In response, Mr Moulitsa says The New Republic has defected to the right-wing movement.

"That was obviously violated today as the New Republic betrayed, once again, that it seeks to destroy the new people-powered movement for the sake of its… neo-con owners," Mr Moulitsas says.

This conflict has created tensions between old and new media. Bloggers defending Mr Moulitsas are trading blows with "old media" outlets who are describing this as the first scandal to hit the political blogosphere.

The conflict started when Mr Zengerle posted an e-mail from Mr Moulitsas asking other bloggers to keep under wraps reports that the US Securities and Exchange Commission was allegedly investigating his friend, Jerome Armstrong, for promoting a stock online in exchange for money.

"My request to you guys is that you ignore this for now. It would make my life easier if we can confine the story," Moulitsas says in the e-mail.

Arrested Beijing or Bust blogger now free

Chinese authorities have released documentary filmmaker and blogger Hao Wu after detaining him for nearly five months.

The authorities arrested Beijing or Bust blogger Hao on February 22, 2006 while he was preparing a report about an underground Protestant church.

The Beijing Public Security Bureau (PSB) has not revealed the reasons for his arrest but say there has been a "breach of national security".

His sister, Na Wu, kept a blog tracking her progress in fighting for his release.

Hansard Society plans UK Pariliamnet 2.0 discussion

The Hansard Society will host an e-democracy forum on the effect of participatory media on politics in the UK.

The seminar, entitled "Parliament 2.0 - Is Westminster ready for the age of participatory media?", will focus on awareness, participation and representation of society using communication technology.

Panellists include:

More information can be found here.

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