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Movements for Change

How Individuals, Social Media and Al Jazeera Are Changing Pakistan, Egypt and Tunisia

Rauf Arif

This book explores social media as an alternative channel of communication and resistance in Pakistan, Tunisia and Egypt, and argues that the term "Arab Spring" limits the scope of acknowledgement for the ongoing online and offline political uprisings in the Muslim World, which started beyond the geographical boundaries of the Middle East. Beginning with an exploration of the pivotal role of Al Jazeera and how it used social media content from protestors to make the uprisings a global conversation, this book takes readers through an overview of creative political protests in each of the three case countries, before delving into an in-depth examination of a specific icon that sparked each revolution in question, and an overview of social movements and the politico-cultural context in each country. In closing, this book offers an understanding on how the new collective memories of nations using social media to protest will affect future generations who are striving to rise against authoritarian regimes, including the Algerian Spring that is ongoing in 2019.

This book can appeal to a wide range of audiences, both inside and outside the academic world. Within academia, courses covering topics such as social media, social movements, comparative politics, Middle Eastern studies and global communication could use this book as a learning tool. In non-academic settings, journalism practitioners could benefit from this book to examine how social media can be an alternate media in the absence of traditional media, and how traditional news media outlets can collaborate with and utilize social media to perform their journalistic duty in oppressive regimes.

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4 Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry

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4

Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry

Pakistani former Chief Justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, has been called an icon of outrage, serving as a catalyst to the political uprisings of 2007–08, later to be known as the Lawyers’ Movement. This movement resulted in the removal of President Musharraf and the institution of a new government (Ahmed & Stephan, 2010; Arif, 2011; Ghias, 2010; Hashim, 2013; Mufti, 2007; Wilkinson, 2007). The Lawyers’ Movement, which was also referred to as “[t]he ‘men in black’”, was a movement “whose insistence on the rule of law and embrace of nonviolent struggle captured the hearts and minds of millions of Pakistanis. [The movement] helped transform the country’s political landscape in unexpected ways” (Ahmed & Stephan, 2010, p.492).

This chapter provides a contextual framework in order to understand why the deposed chief justice’s act of resistance to a dictator sparked a social movement in the country and how this phenomenon relates to Egypt and Tunisia’s iconic examples of outrage. It then discusses how the images of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry being arrested and abused by Pakistani security forces served as a catalyst to bring people to action, and how the population used social media platforms to continually share and spread both the original images of Chaudhry as well as images and videos of the resulting military crackdown to build the social momentum that eventually brought down the military dictator.

Judiciary & Military Coups of Pakistan...

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