BBC journalist Nik Gowing to discuss new threats to institutional power
14 August 2013
Governments, security agencies and corporate institutions have failed to adequately respond to emerging crises and threats in the new media landscape, veteran BBC Journalist Nik Gowing will argue in his only public lecture in Sydney.
The longest serving presenter on the BBC's global news channel BBC World News takes us to the cutting edge of his ongoing, acclaimed peer reviewed 'Skyful of Lies and Black Swans' study on Thursday 15 August.
Drawing on over three decades of reporting experience in diplomacy, defence and international security, his talk will consider the new matrix of real-time information flows and transparency afforded by social media, and how these forces have become "disruptive game changers" to once monolithic institutions.
"The public information space has been turned on its head. But few at the highest levels of power are willing to realise that its new capacity to disrupt threatens their reputation or brand," said Gowing.
"They challenge mercilessly the inadequacy of the structures of power to respond both with effective impact and in a timely way."
Pointing to such high-profile failures to manage information as the public protests in Turkey, Brazil and Egypt, the flood of video from war zones like Syria, and TEPCO's nuclear near-disaster after the earthquake and tsunami, Gowing will detail the fast-growing mass of examples and evidence that institutional power is now increasingly characterised by fragility and brittleness in the all-pervasive public information space.
"As vulnerabilities increase, mindsets and systemic behaviour lag behind these new realities," he said. "The implications are far broader and more multi-dimensional than the vast majority are prepared to realise, let alone concede. Yet they challenge all the conventional assumptions about the nature of power."
Skyful of Lies and Black Swans: Who controls the shifting information power in crises? is presented by the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney.
Where: New Law Annexe, Lecture Theatre 026, University of Sydney
When: Thursday 15 August, 4-6pm
Cost: Free, contact Raelene Loong on 02 9036 9529
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Contact: Emily Jones
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