Recent political upheavals in the former Soviet States and the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa region have been celebrated as the triumph of new media over authoritarian and repressive regimes. Like the printing press and the telegraph before, social media are considered by many as a liberating technology, inherently democratic and democratising, and the key to positive political change.
Social media are credited with making the public sphere more inclusive; facilitating free speech where it is restricted by the State; favouring the formation and mobilisation of opposition forces; challenging state-controlled media; and pulling the veil off acts of oppression for the whole world to see. But when digital networkers dream of revolution, they might have to consider a more complex and nuanced reality.
Analysing specific cases of social media use in recent events, Revolution: Share explores social media’s potential in opposing repressive regimes, but also how this potential is limited or even nullified by some of the media’s own characteristics, its use by non-democratic actors, and the very nature of democratic processes.
~ Konstanty Gebert, Essayist, Author and Correspondent with Gazeta Wyborcza
When you feel…that because you clicked on something, you become part of a movement, you got it wrong. It is like cybersex. People say it's great. Possibly. But it kind of misses the point.
~ Sami Ben Gharbia, Global Voices, Advocacy Director
The tunisian revolution created a new media ecosystem, in which, for the first time in history, user-generated content became so central and important. This media ecosystem was formed by three hubs: social media; online platforms, such as Global Voices, curating the user generated content; and Al Jazeera.
~ Ivan Nikoltchev, Head of Media Unit, Council of Europe
Freedom of expression does not stand.
it can erode, as we have seen in the Eastern democracies. So every day we have to make the effort to keep it in place, put a little brick in the wall, every day.
~ Mona Eltahawy, 2011
Mubarak was stupid enough to turn off the Internet. People who got bored from not having Facebook to go on, went to Tahrir Square.
The European Journalism Centre is a team of professionals decicated to running a European training and media development centre. Our goal is to enable journalists, students and citizens to better participate in media landscapes around Europe and its neighbourhood. Fostering the future of pluralistic media is the common denominator of all of our work.
(A paper copy of the book is available for 15,99EUR via firstname.lastname@example.org)