Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Tuesday, 21 July 2009 15:07 UK

The Buzz: Web gets behind hacker

 Siobhan Courtney
By Siobhan Courtney

Welcome to The Buzz, our weekly round up of how the stories Newsnight report are being talked about in the blogosphere, twitterverse and other social media.


Newsnight spoke to Janis Sharp, the mother of Gary McKinnon, a British man accused of committing the biggest US military computer hack of all time.

Gary McKinnon at the High Court in January
Gary McKinnon admits hacking into US military computers

His case is a big talking point online this week.

One of the top results if you do a google search on Mr McKinnon's name is , a site calling for him to be tried in the UK. Gary's mother is also using Twitter to raise awareness about her son's extradition case.

Mr McKinnon has Asperger's Syndrome, and as the story develops there is ongoing chatter on autism, UFO and hacking sites - with one autism blog arguing that dwelling on the autism angle obscures the wider injustices of Mr McKinnon's case.

On Facebook, thousands have joined more than 50 groups to show support for him.

Bob Geldof, Chrissie Hynde and David Gilmour have even recorded a musical plea addressed to US President Barack Obama about Mr McKinnon's situation.

His mother Ms Sharp told The Buzz that her son has been a musician throughout his life - here is an edited version of the song Wanton Child, which he wrote at the time of his arrest.

Footage YouTube/Wilson Sharp.


British troops in Afghanistan

Our Newsnight special on Afghanistan covered many issues including troop levels and security for upcoming Afghan elections.

GQ Daily concluded that the answers to the question Newsnight posed - why are we in Afghanistan? - "were as muddied as a desert watering hole".

Soldiers debating equipment needs on the forums at Army Rumour Service talk about more helicopters helping the mission's success.

Blogger pakistanihousewife questions why Britain is in Afghanistan, saying it has achieved only three of nine key goals.

Andrew Field on business social network Ecademy says the justification for the war in Afghanistan being preventing terrorism in the United Kingdom is wearing thin.


Aung San Suu Kyi
Newsnight reported on Burmese support for Aung San Suu Kyi

As the trial of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi continues in Burma, a BBC correspondent travelled to Burma to assess the mood of the country's opposition movement . In a mirror of recent events in Iran, in 2007, broadcasters had to rely on the "man in the street" to report on protests across Burma challenging the rule of the military junta.
Citizen journalists were vital in the telling of the story.

But what about the ethics? Bloggers were taking huge risks feeding this material to broadcasters.

And when, the Burmese government tried to turn the tap off - this didn't stop some who were determined to show what was happening.

So, who is responsible for the risks taken by citizen journalists who become accidental or self planted reporters in dangerous situations?

Burma VJ is a new film showing footage of the 2007 uprising which was smuggled out of the country. And you can find out how it went down with the Newsnight Review panel here .


At the risk of being embroiled in the murky world of Russian and British politics I will briefly touch on Tim Whewell's interview with Oleg Deripaska .

Mr Deripaska has 192 fans on his official Facebook page , but neither Peter Mandelson nor George Osborne, whose relationships with the Russian billionaire came in for scrutiny last summer are on his friends list.

And after Justin Rowlatt's film on horse yodelling in Indiana.

How does one yodel? There are plenty of hints and tips out there.

And as Justin found out it is not only humans that can yodel - this isn't just cat yodelling, but advanced cat yodelling!

The Buzz: An obit for the Observer?
06 Aug 09 |  Newsnight
The Buzz: Are you one of Wogan's Togs?
11 Sep 09 |  Newsnight
The Buzz: Newsnight's Aftershock Special
18 Sep 09 |  Newsnight
The Buzz: BNP row escalates on the web
22 Oct 09 |  Newsnight

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