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7 Forces Of Nature That Have Emerged From The Fifth Estate

You may not be outright familiar with The Fifth Estate, but the truth is that it’s all around you. In today’s digitally-driven democracy, there’s a working community of self-appointed watchdogs promoting transparency from right behind a computer screen. A dramatic thriller based on real events, The Fifth Estate details one hotly-debated organization's quest to expose deception and bring information to light. In theaters October 18.

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1. Anonymous

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With the industrialization of technology came hacktivism, and the vigilant defense of ideas thanks to Anonymous via 4chan—online soldiers who use the Internet as their medium of change. They've expanded from their humorous roots to stand up for freedom of information, and hand out digital doses of reality to organizations publicly stepping out of line.

2. Multiple Waves of Arab Spring

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A people's call for freedom, powered through the democracy of social media, has affected major change throughout the Arab world, with the first wave taking place in 2010. Since this time, tyrannical rulers have been unseated in four countries, and further protesting has occurred in thirteen more.

3. School Lunch Reform

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This revolution came from the least likely of sources: a nine-year-old in Scotland who started a blog to document her school lunches. Her records spread so quickly and gained so much support from major press (and thought leaders like prominent food personality Jamie Oliver) that she was forbidden by her community's government from bringing her camera to school to continue the project.

4. Citizen Journalism


The democratization of reporting has caused a complete shift in the global news cycle now that the "former audience" of broadcast has technical power to capture stories as they come together. This spread of communicative power has led to a rise in prominence and priority for "the eyewitness account" of major events worldwide, and caused a widespread revolution when it comes to regulating authority of reporting.

5. Wonkette

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Ana Marie Cox established a media channel that was the first of its kind, set up specifically to challenge the leadership of Washington, albeit through a humorous slant. Wonkette broke down the walls on the stuffy political scene in the States, effectively putting the entire population of nationwide politicians—as well as their secrets and skeletons—on notice.

6. Personal Broadcasting

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The fifth estate has flourished thanks to today's growing fragmentation of technology. With streaming content growing exponentially in comparison to file storage, more and more outlets for constant personal broadcast have emerged, like Justin.TV, and the GoPro camera.

7. WikiLeaks

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The nonprofit organization helmed by Julian Assange was established in 2006 as a means of exposing global corruption. The documents they have obtained and released as a third party to the press, have broken front page news stories; most notably secret attacks on journalists and civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq.