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Who will gatekeep the syndicated gatekeepers?

The news broke in The Jakarta Globe yesterday that Thailand has blocked US social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks to syndication and RSS feeds, this news spread quickly across the cybersphere. It even appeared in the Singapore online news site Today.

When I read of this on Twitter, I asked a friend in The Bangkok Post if this is true.

According to this journalist friend, a fire at an Internet gateway in Thailand caused sites to be slow or even redirect users to Thailand’s Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (MICT) website and clarified with the Today journalist who tweeted about the news above in Today.

Though the Jakarta Globe has clarified that the there is no evidence of censorship, the clarification has not been posted on these sites.

Here lies the problem which I read in the book “Flat Earth News: An Award-Winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media” by Nick Davies of the reliance of syndicated news.

Media publishers look to syndication news as it increases content without having to increase headcount. Publishers can also reduce the headcount to relay on syndicated news. The problem here is that the media publisher have very little resource to verify the syndicated news and take it wholesale.

The source for the blockage of US websites came from a forum called Thaivisa and it isn’t surprising that the forumers have jumped to the conclusion for Thailand MICT had block these websites.

As traditional media continues to differentiate themselves from bloggers with the issue on credibility, this is a perfect example of how the Flat Earth News is actually eating away the credibility of traditional media as their publishers look to cut cost and outsource their news gatherers and breakers.

So who will gatekeep the syndicated gatekeeprs?


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