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February 08 2014

Station's Rights to Sochi Games Leaves Caribbean Viewers in the Dark

Six Caribbean teams are competing in this year's winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia: Bermudathe Cayman Islands, Dominica, Jamaica, the British Virgin Islands and the US Virgin Islands. Naturally, sports fans throughout the region want to watch – but there's a problem. SportsMax, a premium subscription-based television station, has been awarded exclusive rights to the 2014 Sochi games in the Caribbean. “Inside The Games” reported on the details:

The deal, announced between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and  International Media Content Ltd (IMC), the parent company of SportsMax, is applicable for 21 nations and territories ranging from Anguilla to Trinidad and Tobago.

It consists of exclusive English language broadcast rights on all media platforms, with live coverage to be provided on both SportsMax and SportsMax2 for the duration of the Games when they get underway in Sochi.

Columbus Communications, owners of the Flow cable network which operates in several Caribbean territories, took to its social media outlets to address the issue:

Flow Fans, please be advised that SportsMax holds the exclusive broadcast rights to the '2014 Winter Olympics’ in the Caribbean for the period February 7th to 23rd 2014. Olympic programming will be broadcast mainly on Sportsmax 1 with some content on Sportsmax 2. Consequently, we are legally required to blackout the coverage of the games on all channels including but not limited to NBC & CBC who will be carrying portions of the SOCHI games. During the blackout periods the affected channels will carry a notice to our customers advising of the blackout requirement and directing you to SportsMax. 

We understand the inconvenience that this issue poses and are aware and acknowledge that blocked content is disruptive for our viewers, however we MUST comply. Once the broadcast rights to air a program is (sic) purchased we are obligated to block out that program (when requested) as both a legal and regulatory (TATT) obligation. Failing to comply could lead to legal actions against Columbus Communications Trinidad Limited. This arrangement is not unique to Trinidad, all video service providers worldwide will be required to take similar action based on the Network which has purchased the rights in that country. 

Irate Jamaicans posted on Flow Jamaica's Facebook page about having to pay to watch their team parading in the opening ceremony and competing in the games. Diego Armando Thomas had this to say

So because i don't have the #SportsMax package on #Flow I am not allowed to watch the #Olympics? This is BULL. You block the channels am paying for? Really!!!

Another viewer, David Valentine, urged Jamaicans to take action by writing to the Jamaican Broadcast Commission:

This is a sheg up situation, taking advantage of the people who no have no options. The blasted Olympics should not be held ransom, by forcing people to pay for some purely subscriber based channel. Imagine if Showtime did have the exclusive rights to the Olympics? Something wrong with this blow wow picture man. Them really corrupted. PEOPLE WRITE TO THE BROADCAST COMMISION!!

Others expressed their disgust on Twitter:

One viewer who subscribed to the SportsMax service was dissatisfied with the coverage of the opening ceremony:

Competitor cable provider Lime has been offering viewers in some of the countries in which it operates, a free trial of SportsMax for the duration of the games:

The issue of broadcast rights for local television stations versus those of the cable company was discussed in this post:

Television programmes generate advertising revenue for broadcasters such as TV6 and CNC3. While customers pay cable providers for premium channels, it should be noted that  the programmes which occupy the schedules on these channels are governed by separate contracts.

While SportsMax is indigenous to the region, it is a pay-per-view service, and some netizens have complained about the failure of free-to-air broadcasters to obtain rights to the games. Yvon Tripper commented on an article in the Bermuda Royal Gazette:

IOC simply gives rights to the highest bidder. Nothing is stopping a Bermuda-based broadcaster from asking the IOC for Bermuda-only rights, and then just using the American and Canadian feeds. If no one in Bermuda pays for broadcast rights for the island's Olympic coverage rights, then there's no point in complaining when someone else does. The IOC would be happy to exclude Bermuda from the Caribbean region if it mean that they got more money — it's all about the Redbirds, baby.

While Trinidad and Tobago is not competing in the games, none of the terrestrial broadcasters have purchased rights to the games, forcing interested viewers to subscribe to SportsMax for live coverage. Annoyed cable subscribers vented their feelings on Twitter:

The Sochi Games run until February 23, 2014.

March 14 2013

Cayman Islands, Antigua: “Get Out of Jail Free” Card for Rapists

Code Red blogs about “two recent cases reported in regional media [which] demonstrate the extent of the injustice which girls who survive sexual assault face.”

November 07 2011

Caribbean: the meaning of identity

Creative Commess hosts a blog symposium “about Caribbean people, about West Indian people, about our contemporary experiences … ranging through race & identity to culture, mental health to constructs of beauty and more,” with contributions from seven Caribbean bloggers.

March 22 2011

Caribbean: Caribe Wave 11, the first simulated tsunami alert

Written by Claire Ulrich

On Wednesday, March 23, the first full-scale simulated tsunami alert exercise will take place in 33 countries in the Caribbean to test the effectiveness of alert, monitoring and warning systems (Hashtag on Twitter: EXERCISE - NOT REAL #CW11) . Open Street Map France [Fr] and Crisis Camp Paris [Fr] will join this exercise to encourage awareness and use of social media tools during emergencies in the French speaking West Indies.

March 04 2011

September 08 2010

Getting to Know the Global Voices Latin America Team

By Eduardo Avila

As outgoing Editor for Latin America, I have seen the Global Voices team from Latin America grow tremendously over the past three years. Each of the volunteer authors has dedicated time and energy to serve the mission of Global Voices, and to share their part of the world with a global audience. At any given time, each of the countries that make up the Latin American region has been represented by a talented blogger tasked with the challenge of presenting a wide range of issues in a balanced and fair manner. Now that I am moving on to take the helm at Rising Voices, I am eager to see how the team will take the coverage of such a diverse region to greater heights under the leadership of the new Latin America Editor, Silvia Viñas. Continuing a recent tradition, let's meet some of these amazing people that have been part of the Latin American team (in alphabetical order by first name).

Members of GV Latin America with friends from GV Portuguese and GV Caribbean. Photo by Suzanne Lehn

Andrea Arzaba [Mexico] - I don't think I've seen a single picture of Andrea in which she was not smiling. Her enthusiasm and friendliness is both sincere and contagious. Recently back in Mexico after spending a semester studying abroad in Spain, Andrea is very active in youth conferences and blogging competitions. She was recently chosen to represent the Think About It organization at the UN Summit to be held in New York City later this month. Read her blog One Lucky Life [es] and follow her on Twitter: @andrea_arzaba.

Belén Bogado [Paraguay] - Belén is quite the multimedia star in her native country of Paraguay. Not only is she an accomplished print journalist, but she has also hosted her own radio show and television program. In addition, she has brought special recognition to Paraguayan bloggers, including an introduction to the first blogger to write in the Guaraní language, who was featured in a GV post and which caught the eye of the local CNN affiliate.

Catalina Restrepo [Colombia] - Many of us have seen how much Catalina has grown over the past three years. She started as one of the participants of the Rising Voices' project HiperBarrio. Since then, she has really come into her own, gaining confidence by the day and asking for more challenges. In addition to being invited to speak at international conferences, she was also recognized at home when she was awarded the Talented Young Woman [es] prize in Medellín. Read her blog: Cosas del Alma [es] and follow her on Twitter: @catirestrepo

Felipe Cordero [Chile] - Felipe joined Global Voices in 2010, and his participation began shortly after the tragic earthquake struck his country of Chile. He was living in Columbia, Missouri at the time when he volunteered to help with the coverage, as way to draw more attention to the tragedy and reconstruction. His posts helped make the Special Coverage Page of the earthquake timely and diverse. Since graduating from college, Felipe has taken part in many interesting training programs and internships, including one at the Chilean Mission at the United Nations. Read his blog: Política Online [es] and follow him on Twitter: @felipe_cordero.

Gabriela García Calderón [Peru] - At the Global Voices Summit in Santiago, Chile, Gabriela received recognition for being the GV member with the most number of translations across all Lingua sites. With more than 2000 translations under her belt, Gabriela wanted to get involved with GV even more. So, she volunteered to become a GV author by focusing on some of the non-political facets of Peruvian society. Read her blog: Seis de Enero [es].

Issa Villarreal [Mexico] - To say that Issa is interested in the urban arts scene in her hometown of Monterrey, Mexico, would be an understatement. In her free time, Issa covers local concerts and music festivals [es] on her blog and other publications. In addition, she is a videographer, and one of her most recent works was filmed a local amusement park. Her three-part series exploring graffiti and urban art across Latin American stands among some of her most classic posts. She also covers other topics, including the #internetnecesario campaign, although I was unable to convince her to write a post on the Mexican delicacy of eyeball taco. Read her blog: Perdida en el Súper [es] and follow her on Twitter: @hiperkarma.

Members of GV Latin America meeting with GV Board Member Rosental Alves at the GV Summit in Santiago. Photo by Juliana Rincón and used under a Attribution 2.0 Generic CC license.

Jenny Cascante [Costa Rica] - Jenny is another of our authors that is active in her country in the arts and cultural scene. She has been a part of the super-stylish arts digital magazine De La Bimba [es]. Read her blog: Nube Número Nueve [es] and follow her on Twitter: @nubecina.

Jorge Gobbi [Argentina] - Buenos Aires is one of my favorite Latin American cities and most times that I've visited, I've managed to stop by to say hello to Jorge. I don't think I realized how well-known he is in the Argentine blogosphere until he was featured in the La Nación newspaper as one of 5 of the most important bloggers [es] in the country. Probably best known for his travel blogging, he won Best Travel Blog in Spanish awarded by Lonely Planet. Jorge is currently pursuing his doctorate degree in Social Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires. Read his blog: Blog de Viajes [es] and follow him on Twitter: @morrissey.

Juan Arellano [Peru] - Ever since Juan has taken on the leadership role for Global Voices in Spanish, the site has thrived. The roster of active translators that he has recruited makes it one of the most diverse and willing teams to bring GV content into the Spanish language. The partnerships and collaborations that he has pursued serves as a model for other Lingua sites. In addition to translating posts, Juan also makes sure that local issues in his native Peru makes it to the pages of Global Voices. Read his blog: Globalizado [es] and follow him on Twitter: @cyberjuan.

Juliana Rincón Parra [Colombia] - While I had less interaction with Juliana than before, it was because she was promoted to Global Voices Video Editor. However, she still managed to provide great coverage of important videos from the region, which was whenever she was not knitting or podcasting. Read her blog: Medea Material [es] and follow her on Twitter: @medeamaterial.

Julián Ortega [Colombia] - Digital media has become an integral part of Colombian politics over the past several years, and Julián has provided a service for helping GV readers wade through the vast amount of tweets, Facebook groups, and blog posts. He is extremely knowledgeable about the subtle nuances and context of Colombian politics. Julián is also very active in the equinoXio [es] digital magazine. In addition, he holds a special place in his heart for his cats, who can be seen on his Flickr account. Follow him on Twitter: @julianortegam.

Laura Vidal [Venezuela] - Laura has been personally responsible for making sure that Venezuela is not portrayed as a country that only revolves around polarizing politics. She has made sure GV readers learn about many of the country's talented musicians, writers, artists, and cultural projects. Currently pursuing her Master's degree in Education Sciences at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense in Paris, Laura has always offered me a place to crash on her floor during my stops in Paris, and also showcased her culinary skills to me when she made delicious arepas. Read her blog Sacando la Lengua [es] and follow her on Twitter @lenguaraz.

Luis Diego Molina and Adriana Vargas [Costa Rica] - I hesitate to not give each of these young authors their own recognition, but they've been working together on the citizen journalism project Habla Costa Rica, where they have reported from the ground during events like the protests at the University of Costa Rica. I've been thoroughly impressed with their willingness to learn and how much dedication they have put into their project. Follow the project on Twitter: @hablacostarica.

Lully Posada [Colombia] - Lully is such a strong supporter of citizen media projects around the world, but there is one that has attracted more attention than others. In fact, she has started volunteering with the HiperBarrio project helping out with workshops, but more importantly, providing encouragement and motivation to the new bloggers. She is also one of the co-founders of the equinoXio digital magazine, and provides interesting interviews. Read her blog: Reflexiones al Desnudo [es] and follow her on Twitter: @lullyp.

Milton Ramírez [Ecuador] - Milton or perhaps I should write Dr. Ramírez, has been one of the most prolific GV authors from the region over the past several years. Milton holds a doctorate in Education and is extremely interested in examining the relationship between education and technology. He is also a champion for local technology projects and events in his native Ecuador, including extensive coverage of BarCamps and other digital campaigns. His love for his home region of Loja has placed the city on my must-visits someday. Read his blog: Education and Tech and follow him on Twitter: @tonnet.

Renata Avila [Guatemala] - As one of the resident Creative Commons experts within the Latin America team, Renata is the lead for the Creative Commons project in her native Guatemala. She is also serving as one of the co-leads in the Technology for Transparency project at Global Voices. Renata also holds a special interest in the plight of the indigenous communities in her country and which has served as a subject for many of her articles on Global Voices. Read her blog: Nothing is Permanent [es] and follow her on Twitter: @avilarenata

Rocío Díaz [Dominican Republic] - Rocío is our first author from the island of the Dominican Republic. She took great care in presenting a wide range of issues from the colorful characters of Carnival to the national sport of baseball, as well as the DR's response to the earthquake in neighboring Haiti. She started blogging as part of a national movement for community action, which helps draw attention to problems, as well as solutions in the island's municipalities. Read her blog: Monaco [es].

Silvia Viñas [Uruguay/Chile] - As the new Regional Editor for Latin America, Silvia has always been willing to fill in whenever needed, whether it be about issues facing Chile or Uruguay. No wonder she is so flexible, since she describes herself as half-Uruguayan and half-Spanish, and has lived in five Latin American countries. This allows her to be a great fit for the role of Latin America Editor, who needs to be well-versed in the affairs of an entire region. When she is not online posting and editing, she is the mother of an adorable two year-old, who just celebrated her birthday. Read her blog: Walking Around [es] and follow her on Twitter: @silviavinas

This is only a partial list, as there are many more authors who have recently joined or who have been recently inactive, but have been an integral part of making the Latin America region as strong as it has become. These authors include: Claudio Ruíz [Chile], Clotilde Castillo [Panama], Nike Jung [Chile], Muna Annahas [Paraguay], Roy Rojas [Costa Rica], Celeste Calvet [Argentina], Aaron Ortiz [Honduras], Leonidas Mejia [Honduras], Mario Durán [Bolivia], Carlos Suasnavas [Ecuador], Mario Blanco [Uruguay], Tim Muth [El Salvador], Rodrigo Peñalba [Nicaragua], Melissa De León[Panama], Luis Carlos Díaz [Venezuela], Rosario Lizana [Chile], Iria Puyosa [Venezuela], Claudia Cadelo [Cuba], Alvaro Berroteran [Nicaragua], HJ Barraza [Mexico].

As you can see, the Latin America team is very diverse, not only in the part of the world that they coverage, but in their own personal interests and background. Congratulations to such an amazing team of volunteers for making the Latin America region so well represented at Global Voices.

January 20 2010

Caribbean: Ready for another earthquake?

The stories and images of devastation pouring out of Haiti since the 7.0 earthquake on 12 January have shocked many citizens of neighbouring Caribbean countries. Many have joined relief efforts, and some have engaged in serious soul-searching about Haiti's history and the role the Caribbean should play in long-term reconstruction. And inevitably there has been discussion and debate about whether, and to what degree, the wider Caribbean is prepared for future major tremors, given that most of the region is earthquake prone. (Repeating Islands has posted a list of major historical earthquakes in the Caribbean, from the 17th century to the 20th.)

A 5.8-magnitude tremor in the vicinity of the Cayman Islands on 19 January and the 6.1-magnitude aftershock in Haiti on 20 January only added fuel to the discussion. Many bloggers — such as Yardflex — have linked to media reports discussing the ongoing risk, or suggesting that the Caribbean is “due for” another major tremor. As @anniepaul (Jamaica-based writer Annie Paul) remarked on Twitter after hearing of the Caymans tremor: “we must be next!”

Two days after the Haiti earthquake, Living in Barbados noted:

Most of us in the Caribbean think of our disasters in terms of weather-related events, such as hurricanes. But earthquakes are different. They cannot really be predicted with much accuracy, though one can know of their likelihood because of where the Earth's fault lines are…. they do not happen with equal frequency and do not have seasons. When your country's last experience of something is 100-200 years ago, it's hard to expect people to know what to do.

A few days later, Canada-based Jamaican writer Pamela Mordecai asked, “Can we avoid catastrophes like the earthquake in Haiti?”:

The ideal thing … would be to know when the earthquake is coming.

There is one famous case where the successful forecasting of a quake led to the saving of many lives. In 1975 Chinese officials ordered the evacuation of the city of Haicheng (population one million) mere days before a quake that had a 7.3 magnitude. Only a small portion of the population was hurt or killed…. The observation of animal behaviour was in part what led to the prediction of that earthquake….

It's hard to imagine that listening to the dogs and cats might have spared Haiti.

Bahamian Womanish Words reflected on the element of chance, or luck:

We in the Bahamas are as vulnerable to quakes and tsunamis as any other place, and I never really knew it until now. The window is full of calm, a silent, still night is coming down, Haiti is crying, and I am stunned by the thought of all that we know and love around us, swept away in one terrible moment, that it happens to people all the time, that it is only luck so far that has saved us.

And Trinidadian Coffeewallah wondered if recent natural disasters were part of a wider pattern:

It has become increasingly commonplace for Mother Nature to get even with us humans. Drought, flooding, earthquake, Tsunamis, we’ve seen a lot of activity…. Humans have grown to expect that we are at the top of the food chain and think we will always have it our way, perhaps Nature has other ideas for us or at least we must acknowledge that it comes with a price.

Other bloggers were pragmatic. Islas Bellas in the Cayman Islands, noting that “there's nothing like a few tremors to bring out the terror in people,” posted ten earthquake safety tips (and explaining that familiar advice about standing in a doorway during an earthquake isn't such a good idea). Trinidadian Taran Rampersad, writing at, argued for the implementation of emergency SMS (short message service) systems, to make communications easier in the event of a disaster:

Imagine being trapped under some rubble with only a mobile phone for company. You could be hurt, bleeding, hungry, dehydrated or any combination of the above. If the mobile infrastructure is even partially intact, calling people on the phone would be limited by the likely overload of the mobile system. But SMS messages get queued. They also drain less battery life which, if you're stuck, could be very important in saving your life or the life of someone you love….

The technology exists. Unfortunately, the concern never seems to exist until afterwards.

kid5rivers wrote about the importance of enforcing construction standards in Trinidad and Tobago:

…the drive must begin … with the massive public housing sector, where, for too long, shoddiness has been allowed to rule. For the life of me I cannot understand why inadequately reinforced buildings are permitted to be erected and or occupied.

And Now Is Wow Too simply decided to sign up for a Red Cross first aid course: “Not being ‘negative', just practical,” she wrote. “Whether injuries are as a result of 'simple' daily mishaps or natural disasters, it's good for us to have these basic skills.”

As if to reinforce the sense of urgency about preparedness, Repeating Islands posted an article by geologist and tsunami expert Brian McAdoo, who analysed the Haiti earthquake and declared:

This earthquake should be a wake-up call for Kingston [Jamaica]. Should the 1692 earthquake happen today, Kingston would be devastated, albeit not to the same degree as Port-au-Prince. If these strong-shaking events occur in regions with poor construction, after the earthquake is done wreaking its havoc, the tsunami will finish the job, leaving little hope for those stuck in the collapsed buildings.

Global Voices' Special Coverage Page on the earthquake in Haiti is here.

December 14 2009

Caribbean: New Media & Celebrity Fascination

The fascination with celebrities has always been at a fever pitch, but in the current age of new media and consumer-generated content, it’s at an all-time high. Now that everyone – from the established media outlets to the average Joe – can share content via blogs and social networking sites, celebrities have found themselves under increased scrutiny. Celebrity blogs are some of the most popular sites on the Internet, with some attracting millions of readers per month. Online, sex, gossip and celebrity sells.

Celebrity interest is not geographically isolated either. The true mark of a celebrity is their ability to attract interest from people of all walks of life, and nationalities. International superstars such as Rihanna, Usain Bolt (hailing from Barbados and Jamaica respectively), Michael Jackson, and Tiger Woods have all provided blog-worthy material over the last year, fueling content and traffic for many sites. While Caribbean bloggers do not tend to overly focus on gossip, they also sometimes focus on the current story at hand. Take the current Tiger Woods controversy for example; blogs from several corners of the earth (including the Caribbean!) are covering it, but the really interesting part is to see it expressed through the eyes of different cultures.

Bajan-born and bred blogger, Jdid, who currently resides in Toronto, gave his special spin on it, complete with colourful dialect:

“Wuhloss the people doing dixie wid the Tiger talk!

Everywhere ya going is speculation and accusation and talk about the murderation that Tiger wife allegedly inflect on he. Whax, Palax, Bruggadown Brax! Ya wud think she name Bamm Bamm Ruble the way dem say she proficent wid the club. Cuhdear!…

But poor Tiger, this is a perfect example of damned if ya do damned if ya dont. If he give details we going say um sound fishy and if he keep quiet we gine say he covering up. And what to do. Dey claiming he have a outside woman an dat is why the wife lash he. Well ya know how that would look fa he career if u was true? From Cablinasian he and he career would turn black one time. Bye bye endorsements and fans. An he cant as well say boy I did running from the wife who was lashing me wid a 9 iron eidda cause the fellas would laugh and all that invincible aura on the golf course gone through the eddoes too an wid it endorsements and fans. So yes rock and hard place got Tiger trapped proper.”

Meanwhile, Bajegirl recounts the excitement that took over Barbados when Tiger and his wife got married there in 2004 :

“Now, I feel personally insulted. Tiger Woods come down here to Buhbadus to marry Elin. He block up the roads leading up to Sandy Lane and yuh had to detour all bout St. James. He nearly give we heart attack with the fireworks they let off up at the country club on the wedding night. He had paparazzi mekking people miserable trying to climb up pon roofs to get photos (though some locals mek a good buck, don't fool yuh foot). And after all that he got the audacity to cheat pon she? I feel like he cheat pon me, too!”

This Beach Called Life takes a more philosophical approach, pondering on Tiger’s emotional state:

“This situation is unfortunate as nobody stopped to ask Tiger if he found women as exciting as hitting a hole-in-one. Nobody stopped to ask Tiger if he was a normal, unhappy man who found transgression a path to happiness and a necessary part of being found irresistibly sexy by sexy women.”

While Tiger Woods may want privacy during his current turmoil, traditional and new media just won’t let him, especially since almost every news site and blog is only too happy to enable a slew of comments on posts such as these. Not to mention, whether it’s covering the dramatic tales or giving their opinion on how a celebrity should conduct himself or herself, bloggers are only too ready to make their voices heard.

In the Caribbean, it’s no different, and especially when the celebrity in question is one of our own, you’re certain to find criticism and support alike.

New media has certainly catapulted celebrity, giving everyone the opportunity to expose celebrity missteps or to offer their opinions on how celebrities should live their life. Pop star Rihanna, arguably one of the Caribbean’s most viable entertainment exports, is a perfect example of how obsessed news outlets and bloggers alike have become in order to supply an equally fascinated public with the latest news.

Even before the reported incident with Chris Brown in February, she was fair game for blogs. In the aftermath it seems to have escalated, and her daily activities are constantly analysed by many, especially those at home. When she wore a revealing outfit and breast pasties at Fourth of July celebrations earlier this year in the US, Bajan blogs went afire, especially as she’s also an official Ambassador for Youth and Culture for the country.

Barbados Free Press stated:

“When Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson named pop-star and sex symbol Rihanna as our “Ambassador for Culture and Youth”, we had our doubts about the wisdom of this political move – for a political move is exactly what it was…

“Don’t get me wrong here, folks: Rihanna is an adult. She can wear whatever she wants to wear.

She can show titty and tattoo guns all over her body…. That’s her business.

But when she is our “Ambassador for Culture and Youth” and shows up dressed in a way that no father could say he was proud of, then it is the business of the people of Barbados.”

Ian Bourne of Bajan Reporter questions whether she should even be an official ambassador for Barbados:

“It is about time for this current administration to ask Ms Fenty to resign from the Global Diplomatic assignment, or rescind or revoke it quite vocally so as to salvage some form of reputation on the world scene, as we are now party to a planetary laughing stock as she spins wildly out of control…”

Bourne also questions whether her experience with Chris Brown has changed her forever. From a different vantage point, when the news first broke of the assault, US-based Trini blogger Afrobella had to contend with the stereotypical views of Caribbean women that commenters were leaving on blogs about the Rihanna incident.

There are some who argue that this sort of scrutiny is the price that celebrities pay for their fortune. However, Signifyin’ Guyana feels a bit differently about exposing celebrities, expressing the view that no one likes their dirty secrets revealed, especially when they can cause irreparable damage:

“I'd like to think most people who've ever held an embarrassing personal secret close to their chests, hearts, or wherever they chose to hold it, or people who have had such a secret exposed, would understand the mercy of TMI – too much information please!

Not true if you're fully fixed on American popular culture and its burgeoning fare of reality TV, which compete fiercely to see who can succeed in exposing the most cringingly embarrassing detail of someone's life.

And it gets a little more complicated when the exposure seems voluntary as in the case of reality TV and social networking sites–Facebook, blogs, Twitter and the like – doesn't it?  Relatively ordinary folk can and do become minor or major celebrities on some of these shows / sites.

So here's a question for you: if someone discovers something…umm juicy let's say… about that ordinary-person-turned-celebrity's life, should he or she publish it claiming fans/ stalkers/ the interested following public have a right to know?  How you answer that question depends on how fass you are, how much you delight in digging into people's business, how much or little you know about the success of lawsuits brought against those who have exposed others, and how much you care about how irreparably damaging (despite being on the winning side of a lawsuit) such exposure can be for that person.”

Regardless of how you answer that question, the current fascination-turned-obsession with celebrities, which has undoubtedly been fuelled by increased new media channels, is in overdrive…

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