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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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14 Aftermath of Online Activism in Pakistan, Egypt & Tunisia



Aftermath of Online Activism in Pakistan, Egypt & Tunisia

This chapter summarizes the debate on what happened during the popular political uprisings in Pakistan, Egypt and Tunisia and opens the discussion about what lies ahead. This chapter, which is divided in two parts, makes a case that the political uprisings of the three countries should not be seen as the pinnacle of a new era of social change, but actually the precursors of what is to come. In order to make sense of the morphing political, social, economic and media climate in Muslim-majority countries, particularly the Middle East and Pakistan, part one of this chapter summarizes some of the common themes that were observed in the comparative analysis of the three cases.

The second part focuses on the changing trends in these countries and beyond. For example, rulers in these countries have become more aware of the power of social media and are trying to tap into this resource for promoting their own narratives online. It is a shift in approach for these dictatorial regimes, who earlier rejected the power of social networks. Now, they are embracing these digital spheres to reassert their control. The chapter then provides some examples of political uprisings that erupted most recently (in 2019), such as the political uprisings of Algeria, Sudan and Morocco. Finally, the chapter provides an outlook of how future social movements will employ broader collective memory themes and collective cultural and ideological frames. I...

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