What is power?
What is a counter power?
What are the different types of power?
Power is the ability to exercise authority and influence over others. It can be exerted in different areas such as Economy, Politics, media etc..
In relation to the notion, the topic/theme we are going to deal with/discuss will be the 4th power. The 4th power is usually defined as the power of the press and public opinion-
Problematiques/key questions we may wonder if/to….
To what extent can the press be considered as a form of power? why and to what extent?
What should the limits to convey information be?
Should classified elements remain secret? Should Wikileaks be limited?
Should limits be imposed on counter powers?
Do we have the power as citizen to shape public life?
Are empowered citizens truly powerful?
Are counter powers really effective?
Have counter powers acquired more power/influence?
Is the influence of Internet a good influence?
To what extent are counter powers growing in influence?
Can active citizens change the world?
How have social media helped empower people?
Is the power of the people greater than the people in power?
The press and public opinion are commonly nicknamed the fourth power. By extension the 4th power refers to the various means of communication which can be used as counter powers to limit the 3 other powers (which are the legislative executive and judicial powers). For many years new powers have emerged and have had a great influence on public opinion. Internet is refered to as the fifth power.
Documents to illustrate your topic :
The power of the press : The Panama papers :
One of the biggest leaks in journalistic history reveals the secretive offshore companies used to hide wealth, evade taxes and commit fraud by the world’s dictators, business tycoons and criminals.Panama Papers are documents obtained from a Panama-based offshore services provider called Mossack Fonseca. The documents were received by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) with the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).
The power of the Internet : Wikileaks :
WikiLeaks is an international online not-for-profit media organization founded by Australian activist Julian Assange that has published and made available to the public a huge number of classified, uncensored and highly sensitive documents from various anonymous news sources. Its website, which opened in 2006, collected a database of more than 1.2 million documents in the first year alone. This initiative to reveal and make public state secrets and confidential information received intense media coverage but also prompt state retaliation. Julian Assange is hiding….Some consider him a hero, others a villain.
The power of public opinion :
The scene is set in the street before the New York Stock Exchange. In the foreground, a policeman is arresting a demonstrator who is wearing a sweater with Öccupy Wall Street¨written on it and a badge which reads ¨99%¨. The policeman is trampling over a placard with the word ¨GREED¨ barred on it . We can therefore infer that the demonstrators are protesting against greed. In addition, there are masked robbers/thieves in the background standing in front of the Stock Exchange. Each of the men is carrying a bag full of money and yet they are not being arrested. They are watching the scene and seem quite relaxed about the police presence. The cartoonist´s message is clear. The demonstrator is being arrested simply for occupying Wall Street, meanwhile the thieves, obviously representing the world of finance go unpunished.
The power of NGOs:
The NGO Greenpeace has monitered the anti-environmental practices of big business and industry for over 40 years. Every time they find evidence of wrong-doing, they try to alert public opinion any way they can.
Comments: Here we have a perfect illustration of powers and counter powers – It also reminds us of the fight of David against Goliath with the small inflatable of Greenpeace challenging the monster ship which represents big business- Obviously the dinghy can´t stop the boat but maybe the photo can. The power of money and big businesses is being confronted by the Citizen power of an NGO and the media.
HOW TO CONCLUDE
In the conclusion, dedicate a sentence or two by summarizing what you have been discussing. It´s a good idea to link your key question to another notion by opening up with a suggestion or a question.
Myths and heroes:
Does being an activist make you a hero?
Can Julian Assange be considered a hero?
Idea of progress
Power is a force connecting people,communities and nations in a constant progress of contestations and change. The growing influence of street movements, of the free press, of the internet, is also a sign of more democracy.
Spaces and exchanges
Exchanging information in a digital age has empowered citizens.
Power – powerful- powerless- to empower- empowerment-
To exercise/to possess/ to seize/ to enforce/ to grant/ to wield/ to lack…. power
To release information /to shed light on/ to discredit/
Public opinion/reliable sources/misconduct/censorship/classified/