Cyber-nationalism: The brave new world of e-hatred

Social networks and video-sharing sites don’t always bring people closer together“Nation shall speak peace unto nation.” Eighty years ago, Britain’s state broadcasters adopted that motto to signal their hope that modern communications would establish new bonds of friendship between people divided by culture, political boundaries and distance.For those who still cling to that ideal, the latest trends on the internet are depressing. Of course, as anyone would expect, governments use their official websites to boast about their achievements and to argue their corner — usually rather clunkily — in disputes about territory, symbols or historical rights and wrongs.What is much more disturbing is the way in which skilled young surfers — the very people whom the internet might have liberated from the shackles of state-sponsored ideologies — are using the wonders of electronics to stoke hatred between countries, races or religions. Sometimes these cyber-zealots seem to be acting at their governments’ behest — but often they are working on their own, determined to outdo their political masters in propagating dislike of some unspeakable foe.

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