*Before you read on any further, please be aware that this post is attempted not to be biased or target any organizations or individuals but for academic purpose only. This post simply explores the relationship between social media and protest movement. All sources of information provided are cited in the reference list at the end of the post.*
As I mentioned before in my previous blog Citizen journalism and the emergence of collective intelligence network, social media acts as a public sphere for citizens to freely discuss and upload news and information. This results in the new role for social media as a network for protest movements.
As an example, Vietnam is a country where freedom of press is highly inhibited by the governments. Nguyen Van Hai, a.k.a Dieu Cay, is a famous (infamous) Vietnamese blogger who uploaded many articles on his blog to raise his voice against the corruption of the government and highlighted alleged abuses by the authorities, according to Radio Free Asia (2015). Thanks to Dieu Cay, Vietnamese citizens gain a more objective perspective towards the truth behind the Vietnamese government and all the cases relating to the abuse of the authorities have been revealed, which has never been made public on legacy media. In 2008, he was accused of “promoting anti-state propaganda” and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
After being on hunger strike for over 30 days in prison, many Vietnamese free journalists and individuals appeal for his release on social media platforms, including blogs and Facebook. These protests were getting more pervasive and soon was heard by many human rights organizations around the world, which results in his release in 2014. He was immediately deported to the United States afterward.
The revolution of social media as an online space for citizens to raise their voice and public awareness has contributed significantly to multiple protest movements around the world, particularly the 2010-2011 protests in the Middle East and North Africa. This role of social media has impacted the political situation in many governments. Regardless the result of these movements, one thing for sure is that citizen’s voice has spread on social media.
Nguyen, R 2017, Citizen journalism and the emergence of collective intelligence network, WordPress, weblog post, 15 September, viewed 21 September 2017, <https://ray2401.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/citizen-journalism-and-the-emergence-of-collective-intelligence-network/>.
Radio Free Asia 2015, ‘Interview: ‘This is The Right Time For Activists and Journalists in Vietnam’’, RFA, 1 May, viewed 21 September 2017, <http://www.rfa.org/english/news/vietnam/blogger-05012015151555.html>.
South East Asian Press Alliance 2013, ‘Appeal for immediate release of Vietnamese blogger Dieu Cay on hunger strike’, iFex, 24 July, viewed 21 September 2017, <https://www.ifex.org/vietnam/2013/07/24/obama_save_dieucay/>.