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1. Will Social Media Democratize the Arab World What role if any do social media play in the current social unrest in many Arab countries - Essay Example

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One way in which the democracy had been held at bay in the Arab nations has been by the suppression of free expression. Digital technologies and the social media have…
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1. Will Social Media Democratize the Arab World What role if any do social media play in the current social unrest in many Arab countries
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of the History and Political Science of the Concerned 14 June Social Media and the Arab World- Reading Response Assignment #2
1. There is no denying the fact that Democracy cannot be ushered in a system in the absence of free dialogue. One way in which the democracy had been held at bay in the Arab nations has been by the suppression of free expression. Digital technologies and the social media have provided the Arabs with a platform to evince a free expression (Ghannam 8). This has in a way opened up issues in a system that was otherwise closed, making way for the influx of many new things, including democracy.
2. The internet will definitely speed up the onset of the Western style democracy in the Arab world. Internet has created an outlet where the young people can interact and even organize themselves around a specific cause (Ghannam 14). Besides it is easier for the dissenting groups and organizations to target the young people via internet (Ghannam 15). Internet has broadened the horizons of the Arab youth that was till now methodically managed and constrained by the more co-opted traditional media. Internet has created a space where dissent can get registered without invoking a direct threat.
3. The US indeed supports the Arab social media in the sense that it extensively politicizes the digital activism in the Arab world, thereby bolstering the zeal of the political activists, without making way for the commensurate safety measures and provisions (Ghannam 18). Though the US professes the internet freedom to be central to its foreign policy, the entire initiative appears to be a sham and double faced in the sense that the US in no way intends to destabilize the political status quo in the friendly Arab dictatorships and monarchies (Ghannam 18).
4. The social media is still at a very nascent stage in the Arab world. However, in a long term context, the social media could be positively expected to have a significant and discernible impact on the masses in the Arab world. Social media has not only increased the magnitude and frequency of people’s access to the divergent view points and possibilities, it has also changed the form and manner in which the people engage with these view points (Ghannam 23). Though social media on its own could not be expected to bring out an immediate political change, it will certainly make way for the emergence of a popular mindset and the requisite institutions, which will facilitate political change in the long run.
5. The internet in the Arab world is indeed acting as a catalyst of change in the sense that it has extended a space to the voices and agents of change, where they can express and disseminate their views. The opportunity to express dissent is in itself a change. The internet can certainly be used as a mouthpiece by the Muslim fundamentalists and Jihadist ideologies and movements. However, the internet differs from the other media in the sense that here the radical ideologies are not allowed to flourish in an insulated and closed environment, but are rather required to compete for space and attention with more benign and liberal ideologies and movements, which act as a potent antidote.
Works Cited
Ghannam, Jeffrey. “Social Media in the Arab World: Leading up to the Uprisings of 2011”.
3 February 2011. A Report to the Centre for International Media Assistance. 14 June
2012 . Read More
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