Issuu on Google+

2D YOU THE NEW VOYEUR Araham Zapruder was standing in Dealey Plazy in Dallas, Texas, on 22 November 1963, when President John F. Kennedy's limousine passed by. Zapruder was holding a Bell& Howell Zoomatic film camera, and the 26.6 seconds he filmed immediately became history. Frame 313* of Zapruder's film shows the impact of Lee Harvey Oswald's deadly gunshot. Zapruder sold the film to Life magazine under agreement that frame 313 would not be used or shown. It later was, but the world had to wait until 1975 for the entire Zapruder film to have its television premiere. Fast-forward to 30 December 2006 to Camp Justice, an Iraqi army base just outside Bagdad. It is shortly before dawn, and Saddam Hussein is being hanged for crimes against humanity. Iraqi state TV shows the former Iraqi leader on the gallows*, but not the moment of his execution, As news organizations around the world debate whether to use official images, explicit footage* of the entire event, recorded with a mobile phone camera, appears on the internet, where it has now been seen millions of times. To watch or not to watch: that is the question. Jeff Jarvis, who teaches at the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism, warns that this is just the beginning. 'Witnesses to any event can now capture and share what they see, not just with acquaintances but with the world, and without the filter and delay of news media. We also have access to thefts of news - original documents, full transcript unedited video. So anything anyone sees can be recorded and disseminated. Life is on record now', he told Spotlight. But should it be? Not everyone wants to have his or her most intimate moments watched by the global village. In many ways, the World Wide Web is still the Wild, Wild West - an uncontrolled force in a digital world with no universally recognized sheriff. But is regulation of such websites even possible? Although You Tube, a popular video sharing website, is based in the United States, its users are international and its content is available globally. Whose laws should it obey, even if it could obey them? So does this mean that we can all look now? Is privacy a thing of the past? Have we reached a tipping point past which nothing is taboo? Newspapers, magazines and broadcasters now invite us to fill their pages or airtime* using services such as the Five News website (At least £100 plus your name on air) and The Sun: ‘We want videos as well as your great stories and pictures.' The genie of information freedom is out of the bottle. Those images of Saddam Hussein show that the mobile phone, that symbol of independence, has become the reporter's pen and paper in, of all places, Iraq. 'Citizen journalism is beginning to define what traditional media around the world should focus on. This is the truth, as “raw as it gets”, says Jeff Jarvis as he watches the internet fill with blogs and video, opinion and stories from around the world. Technology does make voyeurs of us all. (adapted from Spotlight 2007)

You, the new voyeur

Related publications