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The Al Jazeera Effect and Twitter Revolution: Myths and Realities
Transcript of The Al Jazeera Effect and Twitter Revolution: Myths and Realities
Associate Director and Assistant Professor
Center for International Media Education
Georgia State University
April 14, 2011 Authoritarian Media Systems
(1940-1991) The Al Jazeera Era (1996-2004) Rise of Arab Blogging
(2004-2008) "The Social Network(s)"
(2008-) ................................................................ So, was this a revolution or what? Thank You! (firstname.lastname@example.org) No! Revolutions of Human Networks
Internet was killed during the Egyptian crisis
Al Jazeera was jammed and unpopular
"Success stories" depend on the MSM But...that is the wrong question New media were critical in sharing, learning, activating and organizing before Feb 2011
Networks formed over the Internet were sustained despite the Internet being shut down
New media and the politics of fear ("Spiral of silence")
Huntington: Democracy and the "Demonstration Effect" ("Participation Effect"?)
New media as the bridge (Globalizing the Events)
Understanding media holitically and historically “Surely the least interesting fact about them is that some of the protesters may (or may not) have at one point or another employed some of the tools of the new media to communicate with one another. Please. People protested and brought down governments before Facebook was invented. They did it before the Internet came along.” Media were: Highly regulated, state controlled
Seen as extensions of state power
(Thus) Viewed with skepticism
Voice of the Arabs and The Six Day War (1967)
1991 Gulf War Media & Public Opinion 'Abdullah al Ghaddami: the appearance of the newspaper column in the 1950's constituted "a modal change in the individual's position towards himself and in his relation to the world. The individual used to be a cell in a relationship deferring speech to the lord of the people who not require evidence to back what he said. But in the column the individual came to change the ways of expression and topple the boundaries of the permissible....The column is a foundation for the constitution of an independent, individual opinion. Launched in 1996
"The Opinion and the Other Opinion"
Anti-neo colonial narrative
Challenged existing centers of power
"The Voice of the Voiceless" The Democratic Republic of Al Jazeera? ORIGINS:
Egyptian Kefaya movement
2005 documentary est. legitimacy
Explicitly political, advocacy centered
2005: USAID + Diplomacy 2.0
2007: Bloggers get abusive police arrested Purposes?
Public sphere Weaknesses? “One has to wonder at some point the futility of being a keyboard warrior in a country where nothing seems to matter to its people anymore. At the same time, there has been those amongst us who have loved the fame and the attention, and are now becoming the Egyptian blogosphere’s equivalent of Paris Hilton: They are famous for being famous, peddling the same stories and not really presenting anything of value to the debate.” Scale-free Networks and Web 2.0 April 6th Movement
Web 2.0 as a means of circumventing "transaction costs" of physical society
Fundamentally change the "marketplace" in two ways
And thus disrupt balances of power Why Facebook?