The Role of the Media in Civil Resistance
The rise of citizen journalism, online social networks, and digital media tools have played an important role in how nonviolent movements inform, mobilize, and organize. Recent movements from around the world are a testament to this.
Ukrainians used text messaging to spread information about electoral fraud leading up to the 2004 Orange Revolution. Colombians and others around the world answered a call on Facebook to protest the actions of FARC, sparking the world’s largest anti-terror demonstrations in world history. Egyptians, barred under the country’s emergency law from being able to physically congregate in groups of five or more in the street, used Facebook and blogs as a new political space to discuss injustices perpetrated by the Mubarak regime. And in Burma, teams of brave, clandestine citizen journalists used hidden digital video cameras to capture startling and stunning images from the 2007 Saffron Revolution and then smuggled that footage out of the country so the rest of the world could bare witness to conditions under which the Burmese people live. The list goes on.
As new digital technologies like smart phones and digital cameras intersect with social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, citizen journalists are finding newer and more creative ways to share their stories and shape the narratives that define social movements. Watch the webinar below, which lays outs the benefits and limitation of using digital media and the internet in civil resistance. Then for your assignment, we’ll take a close look at the specific case of Burma’s 2007, Saffron Revolution.
- Joyce, Mary. Digital Activism Decoded: The New Mechanics of Change. International Debate Education Association: New York, NY; 2010.
- Morozov, Evgeny. Texting Towards Utopia: Does the Internet Spread Democracy? Boston Review. March/April, 2009
- Reporters Without Borders. Enemies of the Internet: Countries Under Surveillance. March 12, 2010.
Read Mary Joyce’s blog posting, The 7 Ways Digital Tech Helps Activists. Then watch the documentary film, Burma VJ (available for free on YouTube). As you watch the film, think about the different ways the Democratic Voice of Burma reporters used digital tech to their advantage and how that does or does not correspond with Mary Joyce’s list. On XX/XX/XXXX at X:XXxx we will all have a live chat conversation on Skype to share our thoughts on the film.
Module 4 Coming Soon…