August 2008

Opening up new dimensions

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With the advent of Web 2.0 technology and technology-enabled services, the entire world of media has undergone substantial transformation. This has primarily happened because the ownership has shifted from one to many. Web 2.0 technology, which gives the power of creation of content to every user of the Internet, has changed the dynamics of content and outreach dramatically. But 'New Media' is not just about  the use of Internet to create or publish content. 'New Media' uses a comprehensive set of tools that are used to disseminate information, foster access and build knowledge networks and Communities of Practice (CoP). Old media such as radio, video and imagery have also found a new life with 'New Media' tools like podcasts, blogs, and video casts.

The term 'New Media' is (sometimes) analogous to digital media. According to Wikipedia, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) defines new media as, “Any digital media production that is interactive and digitally distributed.” This is because much of the existence of 'New Media' tools is largely dependent upon digital transmission of data.

The new form of media is a powerful tool that helps to revamp community cultures, re-identify lost ownerships and redefine the process of content generation, content integration and content management. We see a lot of websites, blogsites, wikipedias that not only support integration of diverse content (many a times in local languages) but also provide for a public domain of interaction which expedites vivid forms of information interchange and knowledge-sharing.

The present issue, 'New Media for Development' focuses on the 'New Media tools' and their effectiveness to address development issues like human rights, social inclusion through Internet, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), etc. The issue is replete with articles, anecdotes and essays on community communication, mediawiki and Internet blogging, Web 2.0 technology, video and Internet games, new media platforms, etc.

We are very grateful to HIVOS and especially to Monique Doppert and Paul Maassen who have supported and guided us throughout the issue. We hope that the August 2008 issue of i4d will help readers understand the complexities associated with new media, the role of ICTs in buttressing development of this media and the shift in the process of content generation and content management.

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