From the fall of the Soviet Union to the Arab Spring to today’s continuing conflicts, media have played a decisive role in political affairs across the globe—driving the revolutionary changes shaping today’s new world. This is the first book presenting a comprehensive look at the emergence of media as a primary actor, and not merely an observer, of global affairs.
As founder of Internews, a leading non-profit organization dedicated to information access and independent media, David Hoffman has had a backstage pass to many of the seminal world political upheavals in recent years. In these pages we see how media have been used for good and bad—to trigger genocide, but also to effectively prevent conflict, facilitate free elections, expose corruption, promote nation-building, provide critical information amid natural disasters, and bring about massive social change such as free education and women’s rights. With the rise of digital technology, the power of media to intervene in global affairs is in the hands of everyone—including you. This book examines media’s historic impact and offers a roadmap to the future.
David Hoffman is the Emmy Award-winning Founder and President Emeritus of Internews, a global nonprofit that has pioneered media development. Internews has worked in more than 90 countries to train media professionals and citizen journalists, increase coverage of vital issues, and advance policies for open access to information.
“No one is better equipped than David Hoffman to analyze and explain the transformative shift in the role of the media in the world today. With grace and clarity, he helps us all to understand better how the media shapes our politics, economics, culture, and history.”
—Lee H. Hamilton, former Congressman, Director of the Center on Congress, Indiana University
“For more than thirty years David Hoffman has been at the center of a global community of media activists who have transformed politics, diplomacy and development. This book could not be more timely as citizens, newly empowered by digital technologies, are challenging the old order in every corner of the world. The book brings to life the events behind the headlines of recent history and demonstrates the power of media at the forefront of political change.”
—Kathy Calvin, President and CEO, the UN Foundation
“Many books have been written about the power of technology in global politics. But ultimately social and political change is about how technology is used by people to tell stories, report previously unknown facts, and spread information to mass audiences. David Hoffman, who has been at the center of the media development field for the past thirty years, tells the stories of people from Russia to Afghanistan to Tunisia to Burma who built the media that transformed their societies—and hence the world. A must read for anyone interested in understanding the power of media and the Internet in political transformations.”
—Rebecca MacKinnon, Author of Consent of the Networked
“The power of the media to change the world and promote democracy is still all powerful—just ask David Hoffman, who has written the most optimistic and well argued book on the new media in decades.”
—Ahmed Rashid, Author of Taliban
“David Hoffman eloquently explains why media is one of the most powerful—and most poorly understood—forces for social change. Citizens Rising is a critical guide to understanding the power of media for civil society and ways in which participatory media is redefining our political and civic landscape. Written by a man who’s been one of the key actors in helping build free and open media around the world, Citizens Rising is informed by Hoffman’s deep knowledge and practice.”
—Ethan Zuckerman, Director, MIT Center for Civic Media and Author of Rewire
“With the fervor of someone whose life has been devoted to promoting a free press as an essential partner in a democracy, David Hoffman has written a stirring book. He shows how digital technology grants a voice to citizens, threatens the most brutal dictators, and, however unevenly, promises a better tomorrow.”
—Ken Auletta, The New Yorker
“David Hoffman has written a sweeping history of media and citizen power. It makes a compelling case for independent media and access to information for all. A must read for those who care about information.”
—Tara Sonenshine, former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy
“Citizen Rising is a series of fascinating dispatches from the frontlines of efforts to establish independent media around the world. David Hoffman is a true visionary; a radical thinker with an uncanny ability to see into the future, a knack for skewering conventional wisdom, and a passion for spreading the gospel that access to free, fair and accurate information is as essential to human progress.”
—Christopher Turpin, Executive Producer of NPR’s “All Things Considered”