Social Media as a Tool for Political Resistance: Lessons from the Arab Spring and the Nigerian Protests
AbstractThe popular revolutions that swept across North Africa and the Middle East (NAME) countries, popularly called the “Arab Spring”, removed several sit-tight regimes and threatened to remove some others. Until those revolutions, nobody in the region had the audacity to question the actions of the governments. The mass media in the region had no freedom of operation and could not be used to express opinions or ideas that contradicted government wish or stand. However, the self-immolation of Tarek al-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi on 17 December, 2010 in Tunisia and his subsequent death led to an unstoppable torrent of protests across the region. The social media became the tool of communication, organization and coordination during the protests. The social media thus provided the protesters with an alternative voice of expression, which they used to mobilize and organize the protests. This study therefore, examined the role of the social media in the the Arab Spring. The study which is theoretical concludes that the use of the social media was very effective in success of the revolution.The study showed that without the social media, the revolution might not have been successful or might not have taken place at all. The study thus recommends that people should continue to use the social media to protest against oppressive regimes and all forms of oppression.
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