The contemporary digital mediascape is on lockdown. Censorship, repression of free speech and propagandist circulation are on the rise. The liberty of the internet is under threat from the emerging fuedalisation of the internets plurality of access, content and voices. The generative nature of digital media is shifting toward a centralized, hierarchical digital information system, controlled by the commercial and political powerhouses who own and control media content and distribution. Increasingly evident within digital media platforms are what can be described as ‘walled gardens’. The term is used to denote the control of the provider over access, usage and content, as well as the surveillance, monitoring and censorship of undesirable materials, perspectives, and applications. While the movement of users is technically free, the availability and uses of digital information is controlled entirely by content industries. This raises questions as to the reality of the democracy and freedom of the internet and other digitized media platforms. The current media environment is one in which commercial and political imperatives outweigh the significance of egalitarian objectives and as such essentially dismiss previously assumed notions of the internet’s democratic potential. In many cases users are blind sighted by the actualities of the restrictiveness of media stages. Accessibility and application of media content is defined by the terms of the provider, with mere consideration of their own commercial objectives. Largely it has been the fiscal objectives of providers that has guided the shift towards closed mediascapes or ‘walled gardens’. However, the very essence of the internet’s capability poses significant problems for garden maintenance, and cracks are slowly appearing.
Gapinvoid, 2006, Macleod, H http://gapingvoid.com/2006/10/13/walled-gardens-explained/