The internet and its limitations

Posted on November 25, 2009

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So here I’ve been singing the praises of the internet as a media tool, empowering people and making a valuable contribution to democracy. Power to the people.

But apparently not. The ‘hand of Thierry’ and the furore that surrounded Ireland’s controversial exit from the World Cup last week has demonstrated some of the flaws and limitations to the journalistic contributions of the web and the power it offers to those that use it. In fact, it seems that it has given FIFA the opportunity to bypass the media and go straight to the people. I have suggested that this is a positive thing when it comes to political leaders avoiding the negative input of the press. But in this case football’s governing body has used this ability cynically, in neglecting to mention the controversy and referring to it only via euphemisms. Those with good intentions find the internet a useful tool, but it seems those whose aims are not as pure do too.

The power of the media and individuals to use the internet to promote certain causes has also been demonstrated as very limited. The name Thierry Henry can trend all it likes on Twitter and journalists and bloggers can express their outrage until they’re blue in the face, but it never looked in the least bit likely that this would persuade FIFA to allow the Irish a replay. Useful journalistic and democratic tool it may be, but certainly the internet has a way to go yet if it is to really challenge and change embedded institutions that have been around a long time and are stuck in their ways, however wrong.

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Posted in: Issues, Media, Sport