The ‘Arab Spring’ has been represented in the mainstream media as a ‘social media revolution; the hyperbole of headlines claims a seismic shift away from traditional news correspondence and towards an era of citizen journalism and social media reporting. Beginning in Tunisia in 2010, the Arab Spring protests spread to Egypt, Libya, Syria and many other areas of the Middle East, toppling governments and calling for democratic political change to otherwise authoritarian government regimes. Perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of these protests is the use of social media and alternate digital media technologies to both co-ordinate action by protesters and to report upon the events. Activists, protesters and traditional and mainstream journalists were seemingly innovative in their interactions, digitally sharing each other’s eyewitness accounts of events through interview, reportage, image and video online.
This edited collection ‘Social Media and the Politics of Reportage the Arab Spring’ edited by Saba Bebawi and Diana Bossio is an excellent and well researched work which has been published by ‘Palgrave Macmillan’ publishers in 2014. It seeks to both theoretically and empirically consider the social, political and cultural ramifications of these interactions and their meaning in a digital media age. Specially, the areas covered in this book include:
- The interactions between traditional mainstream media and social media during crisis reporting.
- The challenges that result from these interactions and their impacts on relations of power.
- The political effects as a result of the advent of social media and its use by activists during times of conflict and political/social change.
- Future implications of social media on journalism practice as a transforming it.
This is an excellent book to understand the role of conventional and modern media in ‘Arab Spring’. The interesting point in its content is that it is explaining the use of new technology and social media by taking Arab Spring as case study. People who has interest in the role of information technology, social media and Internet must read this book.