Significance of the Social Media in the enhancement of Democracy in the Middle East
Social media is not only important in communication but also in shaping opinion in the society. The development and growth of social media have transformed the global interaction and created a platform for easier communication among the people. It is prudent to note that the invention of social sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter just to name a few have significantly enhanced globalization. In the recent past, several upheavals have taken place in the Middle East and North Africa. These events culminated in the fall of some regimes; from the overthrowing of the repressive governments of Tunisia and Egypt to the social unrests in Yemen, and Syria. Social media came out in handy for both communication and organization of forums, which resulted in the regime change. It is through social media that the Arabs engaged each other in the need for democratic governments as they called for unrest to go against oppression, which were matted upon them. The youth formed the majority of the people who called for regime change in these regions. In this regard, social media plays a critical role in the democratization process. People from different countries have the opportunity to learn easily due to globalization.
In Egypt, the revolution began prior to the year 2011, due to the increasing number of nonconformist bloggers who wrote on a number of political themes. These bloggers became significant figures in challenging the autocratic regimes via their political blogs in the social media websites that had substantial appeal to the populace. These online websites created appealing stories that were in the interests of the population; hence, they were the main platform used to champion the cause against the Hosni Mubarak’s government.
YouTube and Facebook are the most common social media that sent information to television channels, which then sent the information from the protesters to the global community. Aljazeera was the media house that led in passing information across the globe during the Arab spring. Access to information was curtailed poor because their regimes had banned mainstream media houses from reporting events that took place during the protests. Government controlled conventional media like the television, newspapers, and radios did not pass any information; hence, the only alternative was to use the social media in telling events as they unfolded. Aljazeera uses the social media as a legitimate reporting tool and as such, gives credibility to the information source.
The regimes denied speculations that there were brutal murders of innocent citizens; but due to the existing YouTube and Facebook platforms, the brutal crackdowns were well covered by the social media. In addition, minute-by-minute tweets reported all events that happened in the grassroots. Access to information, though restricted from the mainstream media, was very successful. Hence, it was eminent that the governments were hiding the truth from the international community. As discussed above, Aljazeera strictly relied on information from the social media to report events in from the Tahir Square in Egypt. As a result, there was immense pressure on the Hosni Mubarak led government to give in to the demands of the people. The social media therefore played an important role in stumping autocratic authorities in the Middle East and Africa.
Youthful people mainly led the protests in the Arab Spring. The use of social was such a success because this age group is the most active in interacting with the social media. As a result, there was ease of information passed to Aljazeera as the youth takes pleasure in online interaction more than they do with traditional media. The protests and information sending was therefore done with passion and active participation. Moreover, the participants in the protests were motivated by the fact that they would become part of history for changing the autocratic regimes in the Arab spring. The citizen-driven journalism via the social online media was therefore a defining factor in the success of attaining political democracy.
Even though some people believe that, the successes of the protests were because of active participation of the protesters, the role of the social media cannot be underrated. It is true that communication gadgets like mobile phones, computer devices, and other online communication media did not directly take part in the protests. However, the coordination, organization, and mobilization of the protesters were done through the communication devices. The internet as well YouTube videos from the mobile phones were incorporated in the social networking sites to provide graphic details of the brutal crackdown by security forces. This created an international denunciation that piled pressure on the regimes to come to terms with the reality that was unfolding.
Social media are very important in the society. They provide a powerful form of communication trend, which is a very efficient in the global platform. This is because they are easily accessible from the internet is most import requirements. The Middle East has experienced a long period of oppression due to autocratic regime and therefore the emergence of social media and the access of the internet has created avenues for the citizen to involve in political forums.