Ian Monk: Danger and power in the modern age

It was the week when the lightning speed of modern media technology collided with the immovable tenets of an ancient religion to spark global violence.

Ian Monk: 'Scandal, prurience, hatred and mayhem were all harnessed across the globe within the blink of an eye'
Ian Monk: 'Scandal, prurience, hatred and mayhem were all harnessed across the globe within the blink of an eye'

Neither Islam nor YouTube could be solely blamed for the mayhem that followed the release of the virulent propaganda film Innocence of Muslims. But together they provided a spark for the combustion of hatred.

Almost simultaneously, a tawdry magazine in France published scandalously intrusive pictures of the future Queen of England. Within minutes of publication of the semi-naked Kate Middleton pictures in French Closer, websites around the world were crashing as a global internet audience turned peeping Tom.

Scandal, prurience, hatred and mayhem were all harnessed across the globe within the blink of an eye by the power and speed of modern communication.

Labouring hopelessly behind were the voices of reason that might have prevented the loathing around the irresponsible, uncensored and unforgivable publication on YouTube of Innocence of Muslims.

Even further behind the breakneck pace of modern media were the Dickensian efforts by royal lawyers to take legal action against French Closer (an entirely separate entity from its British namesake).

Whatever they may achieve in court hardly matters since the pictures have been viewed by the world online. Reputation managers and media lawyers are left again to wonder whether privacy has any meaningful place in the modern media age.

There are huge positives for communicators in the speed and reach of the technology at our fingertips. My own company launched a multimedia campaign, also this week, harnessing the power of the Mail Online with its 100 million unique users each month.

Our original exclusive, placed in the Mail on Sunday, simultaneously went live online with the added dimension of newsworthy and on-message footage.

It all shows there are few answers, huge challenges and unlimited opportunities as we guide our clients through the frontiers of the new age.

Ian Monk is founder of Ian Monk Associates and a former executive at the Daily Mail and The Sun.

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