Mumbai Terrorist Attacks and New Media
2, December, 2008 4 Comments
The deplorable recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai have made major news headlines all over the world.
For Singapore, the attacks have hit close to home as they have claimed the first Singaporean life due to a terrorist attack. Many mourn the loss of Singaporean lawyer, 28 year-old Lo Hwei Yen, who was shot execution-style while she was at the Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai on her fateful business trip.
Discussions in cyberspace amongst locals about Lo Hwei Yen’s capture and her sad and untimely death played out since the time news broke about her capture as a hostage.
We can only hope that more can be done to prevent such attacks.
While the attacks were still taking place, a different but altogether, hectic and frenzied activity was also taking place in the ‘parallel’ universe in cyberspace. Bloggers all over Mumbai were posting live updates of the situation, and this truly underscores citizen journalism as an alternative/complement/supplement to news coverage.
Some were uploading photos of the damage from the attacks on the luxury hotels, and many of these were also loaded onto Flikr. The micro-blogging site Twitter also saw a lot of intense action as Tweets on the attacks were sent – at one point 80 Tweets were sent within 5 seconds!
There were also reports of survivors who were trapped in the buildings getting information from their mobile phones and Blackberries – they were surfing for information, ironically, on what was happening in the very same buildings they were in, but were left out of (in terms of info received).
All this goes to show that while mainstream news would not be able to provide such comprehensive coverage in such a short time, the world got to know about the events in such a short time, and while they were unfolding too, due to the ubiquitous nature new media has taken on, and new media’s role in news coverage.
And with that, globalisation has taken on a new meaning and added dimension.