New media as an open education for all
In the advent of the digital world, a number of people are exposed to web 2.0 applications such as blogs, facebook, youtube, twitter and similar online facilities that are easily available online. The local computer shops in villages, as far as the mountain areas in Kathmandu, have increased in numbers. What makes it more interesting is how these web 2.0 applications connect people of different geography, beliefs and interests, making our world smaller. Today’s age makes online collaboration possible and discussion and information sharing easily accessible.
With this vast opportunity in new media communications, citizens are able to bring in local data of wide thematic issues involving gender violence and abuse which are tabled in for discussions, debate and policy formulation. The “Occupy Baluwatar”, a campaign in Kathmandu, Nepal is in its 100th day of street protests involving activists who clamor for justice for the migrant worker rape victim who was sexually abused upon her arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport. The identified perpetrators are from the Nepal’s police and the government has remained silent in pursuing justice for the woman victim. The hundreds of activists sitting in “Occupy Baluwatar” everyday grouped them selves from invites sent in facebook wall posts and twitter. Their blogs posts showed photos of activist’s being arrested by the police and this has fueled the anger of people and consequently invited more and more participants campaigning for the cause. The international media started covering this story and local newspapers print update of the campaign to pressure Nepal’s government to take action. The activists remain strong and persistent until victims receive their fair share in the country’s rule of law.
This scenario does not only happen in Nepal but in other countries as well. The citizens are being empowered to speak out, fight for their rights and pursue justice because they are more aware of the issue as they are being exposed to information being shared in new media. New media brings people together to fight for a cause and pursue action from the government. New media provides opportunities for policy interventions to safeguard people’s right to live a dignified life. And these tools are empowering because it arms a common person with a weapon equal with others, so that he can speak the same language and use the web content to attack an issue with the same understanding. New media has now become an open education where everyone - despite age, caste, education background and social status - can have a voice to speak about global issues.