Thursday, January 12, 2012

FORA TV: Debate -- The Internet and Democracy (Andrew Keen, Farhad Manjo, Micah Sifry, Paul Solman, Jimmy Wales)

Debate: The Internet and Democracy


Andrew Keen is a Silicon Valley author, broadcaster and entrepreneur whose provocative book Cult of the Amateur: How the Internet is killing our culture was recently acclaimed by The New York Times' Michiko Kakutani as "shrewdly argued" and written "with acuity and passion."

Keen is a prominent media personality who has appeared on the Colbert Report, McNeil-Lehrer Newsnight show, The Today Show, Fox News, CNN International, NPR's Weekend Edition, BBC Newsnight and many other television and radio shows in America and overseas. He has written for The Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the London Guardian, The San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes, The Weekly Standard, Fast Company and Entertainment Weekly and has been featured in numerous publications including Time Magazine, The New York Times, US News and World Report, BusinessWeek, Wired, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Sunday Times, the Independent & MSNBC.

Keen is also a Silicon Valley media entrepreneur, having founded in 1995 and built it into a well known first generation Internet music company. He was educated at the universities of London and California.

Farhad Manjoo is an author and a staff writer for

Manjoo graduated from Cornell University in 2000. While there, he wrote for and then served as editor-in-chief of the Cornell Daily Sun student newspaper. Before taking a staff position at, he wrote for Wired News. Manjoo frequently writes on new media, politics and controversies in journalism.

Manjoo is the author of the book True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society, published in March, 2008.

Micah Sifry is co-founder and editor of Personal Democracy Forum, a website and annual conference that covers the ways technology is changing politics, and, an award-winning group blog on how American politicians are using the web and how the web is using them.

In addition to organizing the annual Personal Democracy Forum conference with his partner Andrew Rasiej, he consults on how political organizations, campaigns, non-profits and media entities can adapt to and thrive in a networked world. In that capacity, he has been a senior technology adviser to the Sunlight Foundation since its founding in 2006.

He is the co-editor of Rebooting America, an anthology of writing on how the Internet and new technology can be used to reinvent American democracy, co-author of Is That a Politician in Your Pocket? Washington on $2 Million a Day (John Wiley & Sons, 2004), author of Spoiling for a Fight: Third-Party Politics in America (Routledge, 2002) and co-editor of The Iraq War Reader (Touchstone, 2003) and The Gulf War Reader (Times Books, 1991). His personal blog is at

Paul Solman has been a business, economics and occasional art correspondent for PBS NewsHour since 1985. He answers viewer questions on The Business Desk. He is also the presenter for and author of "Discovering Economics with Paul Solman," a series of videos distributed by McGraw-Hill.

Solman is part of a national consortium to teach "Financial Literacy" to Americans at every educational level. His work has won various awards, including several Emmys, two Peabodys, and a Loeb award.

Jimmy Wales is an American Internet entrepreneur best known as the founder of the Wikimedia Foundation, the charity which operates, and as the co-founder of

Wales received his Bachelor's degree in finance from Auburn University and his Master's in finance from University of Alabama. He was appointed a fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School in 2005 and in 2006, he joined the Board of Directors of the non-profit organization Creative Commons.

In January of 2001, Wales started, the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, and today Wikipedia and its sister projects are among the top-five most visited sites on the web. In mid-2003, Wales set up the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization based in St. Petersburg, Florida, to support The Foundation, now based in downtown San Francisco, boasts a staff of close to thirty focusing on fundraising, technology, and programming relating to the expansion of Wikipedia. Wales now sits on the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, and as founder continues to act as a key spokesperson.

In 2004, Wales co-founded, a completely separate company that enables groups of people to share information and opinions that fall outside the scope of an encyclopedia. Wikia's community-created wikis range from video games and movies to finance and environmental issues. Wikia's network is now ranked in the top 75 of all websites according to, and strong growth continues.

Wales has received a Pioneer Award, the Gottlieb Duttweiler Prize in 2011, the Monaco Media Prize, the 2009 Nokia Foundation annual award, the Business Process Award at the 7th Annual Innovation Awards and Summit by The Economist, The 2008 Global Brand Icon of the Year Award,and on behalf of the Wikimedia project the Quadriga award of Werkstatt Deutschland for A Mission of Enlightenment. In 2007, The World Economic Forum recognized Wales as one of the 'Young Global Leaders.' This prestigious award acknowledges the top 250 young leaders for their professional accomplishments, their commitment to society and their potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world. In addition, Wales received the 'Time 100 Award' in 2006, as he was named one of the world's most influential people in the 'Scientists & Thinkers'

To Watch the Debate

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