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e-Democracy update - 22/2/06

22 February, 2006
By Daniel Macpherson

Web video for everyone with Democracy Player

A non-profit political technology organisation has released a free, open-source video tool for producing Internet TV.

The Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF) yesterday released their Democracy Player package, which can play and share videos online.

PCF co-director Nicholas Reville says his group is excited to reach one of its big goals.

"Now that we have an initial Windows version out the door, we are really cruising, both on a software development level and on a user level," Mr Reville says.

The foundation's mission statement on their website is to "build a open and democratic television platform".

Rumsfeld encourages digital media

The United States government must update their old-fashion methods to compete with groups like al-Qaida, according to the America's Defense Secretary.

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says the US Government must modernise their communications techniques to adapt to the digital age.

"For the most part, the U.S. government still functions as a 'five and dime' store in an eBay world," Mr Rumsfeld says.

Mr Rumseld says today's weapons of war include e-mail, BlackBerries, instant messaging, digital cameras and blogs.

"Our enemies have skilfully adapted to fighting wars in today's media age, but...our country has not adapted," Mr Rumsfeld says.

Mr Rumsfeld and the Pentagon have recently come under fire for paying Iraqi media organisations to plant positive news stories.

Mr Rumsfeld says the military command in Iraq has sought non-traditional means to provide accurate information to the Iraqi people in the face of an aggressive campaign of disinformation.

"This has been portrayed as inappropriate. For example, the allegations of someone in the military hiring a contractor, and the contractor allegedly paying someone to print a story - a true story - but paying to print a story," Mr Rumsfeld says.

Californian decision-makers relying more on Internet technologies

A study has revealed political decision-makers in California are using online resources more regularly.

Perry Communications Group's study of 197 political and policy opinion leaders shows that Online consumption is on the rise among this group, while television usage is declining.

73 per cent of the respondents say they have used online media more in the last year, while 44 percent say they have watched less television in the last year.

The study also shows more than half the respondents (50.6 per cent) read blogs.

Blogs and podcasts possibly subject to Singaporean election law

Singaporean blogs and podcasts might require compliance to federal election laws, according to the country's Media Development Authority (MDA).

The MDA has reminded content providers to comply with federal laws, including those relating to political content.

The authority says changes to the law, if necessary, will be announced at an appropriate time.

The comments came as several Singaporean bloggers created sites to distribute media on rallies, such as The Singapore Elections Rally Archive (SERA).

Singaporean Institute of Policy Studies researcher Tan Tarn How says the MDA can say that sites like SERA contravenes the law in the sense that rallies are meant to persuade voters towards a speakers' cause.

"The aim is to influence people. So under existing regulations, it would seem as if it is covered," he said.

Under current laws, Singaporeans cannot persuade or dissuade others from voting for candidates on polling day.

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