Monday, November 14, 2011

Citizen Journalism in "Burma VJ"

In "Burma VJ," we are exposed to the hardships many people face in regards to journalism in other countries. As United States citizens, we are lucky to have freedom of speech & freedom of press; many countries & their citizens are not as lucky. The documentary shows us the struggles of the journalists when they try to go against the government & expose the corruption within the country. We get a first-hand account, via home-video, of the protests in the streets of Rangoon - which is dangerous, because the government has put a ban on any video being taken of the goings-on in the city. At one point, he is even arrested and taken into custody for what he's doing - though all they do is take his camera away and release him (getting off easy, considering what the government could have done to him.)
Due to the laws the government in Burma has in place, any journalists (specifically the ones we follow in the documentary) are considered 'citizen journalists.' Citizen journalism is defined as "the collection, dissemination, and analysis of news by the public, by means of cell phones, digital cameras, blogs, etc." More or less, anyone who is not a journalist by profession, but reports & exposes news stories by means that aren't "professional" (ie: anything bigger than a handi-cam). These same laws also place those working for DVB in danger - though they never quit, and they always work and fight to report the happenings in their country.

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