Use of new ICTs as "liberation" or "repression" technologies in social movements: The need to formulate appropriate media policies

Brandie L. Martin, Anthony A. Olorunnisola

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


Participants in varying but recent citizen-led social movements in Kenya, Iran, Tunisia, and Egypt have found new voices by employing new ICTs. In some cases, new ICTs were used to mobilize citizens to join and/or to encourage use of violence against other ethnicities. In nearly all cases, the combined use of new ICTs kept the world informed of developments as ensuing protests progressed. In most cases, the use of new ICTs as alternative media motivated international actors' intervention in averting or resolving ensuing crises. Foregoing engagements have also induced state actions such as appropriation of Internet and mobile phone SMS for counter-protest message dissemination and/or termination of citizens' access. Against the background of the sociology and politics of social movements and a focus on the protests in Kenya and Egypt, this chapter broaches critical questions about recent social movements and processes: to what extent have the uses of new ICTs served as alternative platforms for positive citizens' communication? When is use of new ICTs convertible into "weapons of mass destruction"? When does state repression or take-over of ICTs constitute security measures, and when is such action censorship? In the process, the chapter appraises the roles of local and international third parties to the engagement while underscoring conceptual definitions whose usage in studies of this kind should be conscientiously employed. Authors offer suggestions for future investigations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNew Media Influence on Social and Political Change in Africa
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781466641983
ISBN (Print)1466641975, 9781466641976
StatePublished - Jun 30 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • General Engineering


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