Anya Schiffrin

Anya Schiffrin is an adjunct faculty member at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. She worked in Hanoi from 1997 to 1999 as the bureau chief of Dow Jones Newswires.

Recent Articles

Web of Light or Web of Darkness?

The Internet is not always the friend of democracy -- oppressive regimes can use it for their own ends.

A protester during Iran's 2009 Twitter revolution. (AP Photo)
Will the Internet foster democracy by disseminating information, frustrating censorship, and promoting citizen networking that circumvents and subverts repressive governments? The drama of the 2009 demonstrations in Iran (which ultimately failed to change the regime) has been used as evidence of the power of digital networking to defy repressive regimes. And WikiLeaks seems to prove that the genie of censorship cannot be bottled in the Internet Age. But in his new book, The Net Delusion, Evgeny Morozov disparages the optimism of those who think that digital technology will undermine dictatorship -- that the revolution will be tweeted. Morozov, a wunderkind blogger on technology and freedom and now a visiting scholar at Stanford, warns against "cyber -- utopians." The Internet, he contends, will not free us from dictatorships; the battle against authoritarian governments will have to be waged on all fronts. One foil whom he uses is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who gave a...

Assignment: Vietnam

Another Vietnam: Pictures of the War From the Other Side Edited by Doug Niven. National Geographic Society, 240 pages, $50.00 D uring the Vietnam War, dozens of photographers working for the North Vietnamese Communist Party fanned out across the country. They took pictures of workers seeking to raise production in state-owned factories, of handsome peasants with guns, of brave fighters in the swamps and of captured U.S. airmen and soldiers. Hired by Hanoi's Vietnam News Agency, equipped with bulky East German cameras and carrying film in their backpacks, the photographers hiked for days down the Ho Chi Minh Trail to get their shots, developing them in the swamps or sending bicycle couriers back north for printing. "I lived and ate with the people. I shared the people's hardships and suffering," recalls Nguyen Dinh Uu, a veteran photographer whose first major assignment was photographing French POWs in 1947. The uplifting images were published in Communist Party papers at home. But...