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New Media, Communication, and Society

A Fast, Straightforward Examination of Key Topics

Mary Ann Allison and Cheryl A. Casey

New Media, Communication, and Society is a fast, straightforward examination of key topics which will be useful and engaging for both students and professors. It connects students to wide-ranging resources and challenges them to develop their own opinions. Moreover, it encourages students to develop media literacy so they can speak up and  make a difference in the world. Short chapters with lots of illustrations encourage reading and provide a springboard for conversation inside and outside of the classroom. Wide-ranging topics spark interest. Chapters include suggestions for additional exploration, a media literacy exercise, and a point that is just for fun. Every chapter includes thought leaders, ranging from leading researchers to business leaders to entrepreneurs, from Socrates to Doug Rushkoff and Lance Strate to Bill Gates.

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24 New Media Reshapes Governments (Cheryl A. Casey)

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CHAPTER 24

New Media Reshapes Governments

Cheryl A. Casey

Small media for change

The 1979 Iranian Revolution is frequently cited as a significant event in the unfolding of Middle Eastern politics and global alliances. Less commonly discussed is the role of media in this revolution. Revolutionaries used small media to sow the seeds of dissent (see Figure 24.1). The term “small media” refers to media that are accessible and participatory—the Twitter of the 20th century. “Big media,” on the other hand, are controlled by the state or by big corporations.

Figure 24.1. Crowds gather in Tehran to hear Khomeini’s speech on audiocassette, 1978.

Source: http://ajammc.com/2013/01/28/crafts-as-citizen-diplomacy-slavs-and-tatars-on-revolutionary-media-in-iran-and-poland/ ← 158 | 159 →

Whether small or big, media can either reinforce the structures of power or undermine those structures. The difference lies in the manner of use. In the case of the Iranian revolution, small media came in the form of audiocassettes and leaflets. These media created an accessible, political public sphere, independent of the state, in which people could strategize and mobilize the terms of dissent. The revolution resulted in the fall of Iran’s monarchy. In its place, the revolutionaries established an Islamic Republic.

Twenty-two years after the Iranian Revolution, small media were still being used to challenge national leaders. In 2001, protesters in the Philippines used text messaging to coordinate protests over the impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada. The Philippine Congress had...

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