[csaa-forum] THIS FRIDAY: Media at Sydney, Social media as an alternative public sphere in Bhutan, Bunty Avieson, Friday 5 September

Cesar Albarran Torres cesar.albarrantorres at sydney.edu.au
Mon Sep 1 09:47:56 CST 2014

Media at Sydney presents

Dr Bunty Avieson

Department of Media and Communications, University of Sydney

Social media as an alternative public sphere: Bhutan uses Facebook and phones to serve a 21st century democracy

The small Himalayan kingdom and new democracy Bhutan is traditionally an oral culture. Reading and newspapers are not part of their cultural habit and newspapers occupy just a small part of the new media landscape that is emerging. While the western world grapples with the loss of the old newspaper business model, to which western societies are economically and emotionally attached, in mainstream Bhutan newspapers are a new phenomenon. In the same decade that a newspaper industry has been launched in the country, so have television and digital communications technology, including mobile telephones. In Europe and elsewhere, the media revolutions of print then electronic and digital occurred over centuries, along with the political and social transformations they facilitated. In Bhutan these revolutions are occurring simultaneously. Even as literacy increases, rising approximately 10 per cent in the past decade to 63 per cent in 2012 (NBS 2014), it is possible that newspapers won’t ever become part of mainstream discourse.

In this presentation Bunty Avieson investigates the thoroughly modern, culturally distinctive media landscape that is developing in Bhutan, creating a dynamic public space for discourse to serve a 21st century democracy. She will show the crucial role that social media is playing in creating this space, which is so necessary for this young democracy. Bhutan offers a compelling case study for media scholars because the landscape that is emerging comes without the baggage of print capitalism which has influenced the development of media landscapes in other parts of the world. Further, the dynamic public space that is opening up via social media offers insights into the role of digital literacy, as distinct from print literacy, over the long term.
Date: Friday 5th September, 2014
Time: 15:00-16:30
Location: S226 Seminar Room, Department of Media and Communications, University of Sydney, John Woolley Building (A20)<http://db.auth.usyd.edu.au/directories/map/building.stm?ref=d08h15> level 2, entry off Manning Road.
Register at: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/social-media-as-an-alternative-public-sphere-bhutan-uses-facebook-and-phones-to-serve-a-21st-tickets-12682845733

Dr Bunty Avieson, a former journalist and author, spent a year in 2008-2009 in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan teaching journalists and editors, as well as advising media stakeholders and consulting to Reporters Without Borders. The way the media landscape is developing in Bhutan, an oral culture, was the subject of her PhD thesis and is an ongoing research interest. Avieson’s journalism practice includes news and feature writing in Britain, Australia and Asia for newspapers and magazines. In the 1990s she was editor of Woman’s Day, and editorial director of New Idea. She has published three novels, a novella and two memoirs, which have been variously translated into Japanese, German and Thai, and been awarded two Ned Kelly Crime Writing Awards for crime fiction.

Media at Sydney is presented by the
Department of Media and Communications<http://sydney.edu.au/arts/media_communications/>, University of Sydney

For more information contact
Dr Fiona Martin
T: 0428391122 or 02 90365098
E: fiona.martin at sydney.edu.au<UrlBlockedError.aspx>
M: 0428 391 122

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