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DOSSIER BAC PLACES AND FORMS OF POWER

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Places and Forms of Power
Introduction:
In the contemporary world, the media is undoubtedly the most important means of cultural
expression and communication: active participation in society necessarily requires the use of
modern media.
Is the media a threat or a protection for us?
First of all, I will speak about the danger of medias with two articles: one of them is from San
Francisco Gate, entitled Teens online, and second is from the Huffington Post, which named,
the Sinking of an Empire. Then, I will focus on its assets with an excerpt of Thomas King’s book,
Borders in One Good Story.
Teens online, the San Francisco Gate, article
Very few people understand the danger that social media has brought to our lives, turning it
into an open book, where information about us can be read not only by our friends, but also by
ill-wishers. Therefore, it is very naive not to think about possible threats from social networks.
Placing information about yourself in social media, you should be prepared for the fact that a
large number of people can see it. As a result, your private life becomes public.
Even if you take all measures to protect information about yourself from unfamiliar people,
these attempts, in the end, may be useless. For example, more and more people use social
media to clarify the past of their applicants. This is the case of Marxell Wallace, who wanted to
know more about his new roommate: “It was a better look at who I’m going to be living with
for the next eight nine months.” He said.
According to me, the social medias also contribute to the phenomenon of harassment. In fact,
we can talk about the cyberstalking. It is an aggressive act using different forms of electronic
communication (social networks, smartphone, computer, tablet, chat, websites) to threaten,
insult intentionally and repetitively a victim.
In fact, the internet sometimes gives this false sense of anonymity which induces the
perpetrators of harassment acting by screen interposed to dehumanize the victim, not to
perceive the gravity of the consequences that his actions on the internet have on the
victim. We speak of a "cockpit" effect when the stalker does not realize the real damage he is
causing.
The Sinking of an Empire, The Huffington Post, Article
Furthermore, there are many hacker programs that help pick up passwords to popular web
sites and crack them.
However, it's not just google users who provide us with personal information about our
privacy. Recently, the New Corporation, one of the largest media groups in the world, has been
the source of a scandal. Indeed, it turned out that News of the World journalists hacked the
mobile phones of the victims of the attacks of September 2001. This illegal activity was
intended to collect unique information to feed the articles of their newspapers. So we can see
that the media can have a dangerous role. But what about other media ?
I understood that if the news and the flow of information is controlled by the people in power
or their allies, then all manipulations become possible without any means to uncover the truth
or more simply other perspectives.
This is why independent press is necessary as a watchdog and a safeguard in our societies, as,
for example, The Guardian and the Independent.
Thus I understand that media can become an asset.
Citizenship? Thomas King, Borders, excerpt
The free and independent media, enjoying freedom, are essential for the proper functioning of
democracy. Freedom of media contributes to a large extent to protection of human rights. They
are investigative journalists who have revealed many cases of torture, discrimination, corruption
or abuse of power. Sometimes, pictures taken thanks to mobile phones can protect people from
mistreatment by police. Bringing facts to the public is often an essential first step, which then
helps to address human rights violations and hold government to account.
For example, in the text, Citizenship?, the guard of the border between Canada and USA asks to
a traveler about her citizenship, and when she answers that she is Blackfoot, the guard refuses
to let her through. In fact, according to the law, you are not allowed to state a nationality different
from your registered nationality. The traveler has to be American or Canadian. But the traveler
protests because she is convinced that the border that was created by white people and cut her
territory in half and separates her territory into two different countries is artificial and has no
legitimacy. By calling media, the fourth power, the events suddenly changed. The government
suddenly changed its mind: it orders to the border guards not to make an issue of her stated
citizenship. By using medias, the woman demonstrated that citizens can remedy the unjust
situation.
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