I received an email today about the situation in Burma that raises interesting issues about the impact of the Internet on the political situation in Burma:
[O]ne f the most interesting parts of the ongoing story is the speculation that the urmese ruling junta will be forced to speak much more openly than they did back in 1988 because of the “YouTube effect.” The theory is that in 1988, the world didn’t know about the atrocities committed until months later, diluting the response that may have occurred otherwise. Today, though, with videos of the attacks against the monks all over the Internet, a more worldwide response happened much more quickly (especially in Japan with video of the pointblank shooting of a Japanese photographer). Right now, General Thwe is hinting he may be willing to negotiate after all with the “rightful” democratic authority figure under house arrest and a theme is how much the Internet played into the worldwide response, practically forcing the General to confront the issue immediately.
I’ve blogged before about the “YouTube-ification” of politics in the U.S., which tends to involve the “gotcha” game of catching politicians in unguarded moments. What this describes is more profound, like the cleansing effect of sunlight.