THE NEW MEDIA AND “ARAB SPRING”

Albina Osrečki ; Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia Fulltext: pdf (324 KB), Croatian, Pages 101 – 122

Abstracts Using critical theory of media and technology as a theoretical framework, we describe the dialectical interrelation between (media) technology and democratic changes, where new media technology only paved the way to organization and exchange of information during “Arab Spring”, but was not its cause. “Arab Spring” as the case in point proved a negative correlation between the level of communication technology (new media) and the intensity of protests, according to which a higher level of accessibility to new media led to a lower level of protests. Also, we observe an uneven impact of new media on democratic changes, i.e. internet social networks had a secondary role in creating media news, compared to satellite TV which at an early stage of “Arab Spring” enabled the actors of online civil society to have an impact on state politics to a large extent. Arab new media cannot yet lead to democratic changes nor explain their causes, but merely alter patterns of mobilization and organization of social and political events.

Keywords Traditional Media; New Media; Democratization; Social Movements; “Arab Spring”