The Media Effect in Egypt

While reading Herrera’s article, I cannot help to compare the amount of exposure the youth in America has to information on the internet in comparison to those in Egypt. Not necessarily do we know everything that goes on in the world but we do practice the ideology of freedom of speech and in many cases, have the ability to share our believes and ideas on the web without being arrested or brutality punished. Within the media, including the internet, we learn about other cultures. We aren’t necessarily limited to this information. It’s easy for us to gain access to international news, foreign films and have less restriction on what we can watch or listen to. I can see why an Egyptian, after knowing we have this type of freedom, chooses to question his or her country’s regime. Now having access to this information gives the exposed Egyptian something to compare his life to and leads that individual to gain desire to a similar right.

Herrera describes this exposure as “greater awareness of their place in the world and experimenting with the ways of challenging the status quo”. Medians like Facebook, Twitter, etc. has assisted Egyptian youth to express the concerns of  Egypt’s regime making easy for such individuals to meet people who correspond to these questions and concerns. The anonymity just makes it a plus and becomes encouragement for the Egyptian youth to publicly expose their individual belief. It gives the Egyptians a place to be ” Muslim orientated, educational, participatory, and subversive”. (Herrera, 347)

The media has became a place of opportunity in where the youth can create movements such as  antitorture campaigns like the”April 6 Youth Movement”. Ultimately, in Egypt the media has become an essential tool to survive. As Ahmed described it, depriving him from media is like “blocking the air to my lungs”.  The question is if the Egyptian is capable to create a use their accessibility to the media and impact their native land permanently.

 

& NOW PROJECT IDEAS:

* Aiding the Refugees from the Middle East:

•Educate others about what’s going on in many areas of the Middle East; on potential reasons why people are migrating to Europe; on the dynamics of what kind of people are migrating, including religion and determining the difference

•Raise funds for refugees

•aiding them in their region as well as Europe and the U.S.

*State protection for women in Egypt:

• including sexual harassment & human rights

• emphasize on their right to be educated

 



		
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The Media Effect in Egypt

Together: Social Media

Social media has been a way for people all over the world to connect, and in Egypt’s case for a revolution to be made possible. Throughout the readings, we came across pieces which have helped m
e understand the potential of social media and its social_media_people1outcomes. In “We are all Khaled Said” we see how social media has worked to bring together teens and people of all ages who have been fighting for police brutality to be stopped among the youths.

The second article, “We Are All Revolutionaries Now: Social Media Networks and the Egyptian Revolution” by David Faris, as opposed to giving just one in depth explanation of a certain situation, tells us more about the effects in general about social media websites. I found the piece being very helpful to help me understand how effective social media can really be. As a user of social media for mostly socializing reasons, I never knew what other ways social media can be used, and even though I have came accross pages involving people of similar political interests, I hadn’t known how important and essential this medium is to keep pushing forth and connecting people to work together to keep striving for social movements.

This article breaks down how Facebook and Twitter have played a role in theimages Egyptian revolution, and how it has been able to give the opportunity to novice activists to engage in a change as well. The article says, “Finally, Social Media Networks are fully comprehensible and usable even to novice activists, needing nothing beyond standard computer literacy (and sometimes not even that).” It is essential that Facebook, twitter and social mediums be accessible to people all over the world, so people can express their beliefs, and come together easily. Accessibility plays a big role on how effective a site may be, as it may be reached and followed by many people around the world at any time. For example, for myself, being able to access the WAAKS Facebook page has helped me become more aware of revolutionary happenings around the world and more informed on police and government brutality in Egypt. Had I not been able to publicly access the webpage through a click of a link, I may have never been informed, and thus would have to seek out other places to follow honest news.

The article also makes a point that using social media is also low cost, “Furthemore, the applications of Social Media Networks are extremely low costs, usually carried within the total cost of accessing the Internet and purchasing the necessary equipment (i.e., laptop, iPad, cell phone).” Along with easy access to web pages, low cost is also important if a site wants to be accessible to a great number of people.

In both articles the media is proven to be a source of connectivity and political activism. As long as we have accessible active social voices circulating in the media, people will be able to be more informed and participate or be a contribution to revolutionary change.

Together: Social Media

Digital Activism and Social Movements in Egypt

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The advancements of social media technologies has very distinctly impacted and fostered the growth and change of the spread of information accessible to the people of Egypt. Prior to digital activism, social movements in Egypt may have gained merely hundreds of supporters, as opposed to the thousands or more that are able to spread word of various causes through the use of social media like Facebook and Twitter. This newfound use of technology to spread awareness of various issues in Egypt helped directly to lead to the Egyptian revolution, “which would have greatly affected the participatory thresholds of other Egyptians and led to the quashing of the revolt before it could gather the momentum it eventually did,” (Faris- Social Media)

Ahmed Ghanim defines social media as platforms for user-generated ideas, and shared his account of how he experienced it’s contribution to the Egyptian revolution. I found it interesting that he stated that there were only two main forms of media for most of his life, and that they were so drastically different. He explained that the soft-spoken “other” type of media is what has been transformed by technology and social media, and this has helped it to become more mainstream in opposition to the media messages put out by the government. An aspect of this article and of the other that I found very interesting however, is what was stated about who the users are of these social media platforms. The majority of the users are regular people and citizens, but there is a percentage of users who belong to an “elite” group of activists who use the mediums to further a specific agenda, which usually is some form of response to the ruling regimes in Egypt.

Much of the articles were about Khaled Said, and about the contrast between his image as a martyr in the public and on Facebook which started the movements around his death, and about his personal life and the differences between the two images. Although he may have just been a flawed youth and some may argue that he wasn’t deserving of his saint-like status, his death and the movements that came about afterwards was crucial to the spread of information and outcries from other youth and citizens in the country who faced similar undeserving and brutal treatment from authority and police. I couldn’t help but make comparisons between the story of Khaled Said and the We Are Khaled Said movement, and the several movements rallying against the brutal treatment of black youth by police in America. Whether the face of a movement is necessarily an activist or saint themselves doesn’t seem to me to be very important, as long as the message being spread is one of importance and one that can help to benefit people who are being mistreated.

Digital Activism and Social Movements in Egypt

Revolutions are becoming socially mediated, but is there a hidden agenda behind the technology?

The class readings regarding social media revolutions and the distortion of digital citizenship, really opened my eyes to the harsh reality of Egyptian youth and the expansiveness of media technology. For instance, the way that the youths of Egypt used social medias like Facebook to both reach and inform people, who would never know of or truly understand the atrocities that young people face, in countries that lack human rights for its citizens, is amazing and would probably never occur without the expansive capabilities of the internet. However, I do feel that the youth movement that started “We Are All Khalid Said” (WAAKS) was wrong for their portrayal of Said, as a martyr, to support their politically driven agenda. From my understanding, Said was not an activist of any social movement to overturn Mubarak or to thwart the Emergency Law that plagued the youths of Egypt. He was just a youth, that’s it. A young man who lived in a country that treated its youths, as if they were a burden to society. In some way, WAAKS portrayal of Khaled Said, as a saint who could do no wrong, is similar to how the youths of Egypt are portrayed as a problem to society.

While the youth movements of Egypt gain attention for their means, the reality of what is truly epidemic, that is the marginalization of Egyptian society economically and the current disadvantaged state of both the middle- and lower-classes, are not being addressed. I think that in order for the youth movements to have a greater impact on not only the Egyptian society, but also on societies from around the world, it is important that these digitalized movements address the more rooted problems that have affected the country of Egyptian for centuries, not just recently. It seems as if those who are using digital media to gain attention and inform others, are simply using predominant problems that effect both themselves and a more specified grouping of society. However, my question is if the youth movements in Egypt were to expand their agendas to address the whole of society and the human rights brutalities they all face collectively, would those involved in such movements eventually lose their anonymity and become more susceptible to brutalities against their livelihood, both individually and socially? With this said, one could conclude that the reasoning behind the specificity of the digitalized youth movements, is to the extent to which they can begin to address the many problems that face their society, without feeling personally susceptible to the atrocities their people endure, due to the exploitation of power by the hierarchy.

Revolutions are becoming socially mediated, but is there a hidden agenda behind the technology?

Egyptian Youth meets Social Media

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Ali and Eli-Sharnouby express that the youth of Egypt (the age of 29 and under) grew up in such dictatorial-like government that it led such individuals to grow up in desperation of not having the ability to find a job, marriage, or any sense of freedom to voice their opinions. Social Media Networks became a platform for the youth and gave them the opportunity to become the voice of change in the authoritarian regime as well as the opportunity to rebuild Egypt. However, not necessarily did Social Networks cause the desired outcome.

Ali and Eli-Sharnouby express that the youth of Egypt (the age of 29 and under) grew up in such dictatorial-like government that it led such individuals to grow up in desperation of not having the ability to find a job, marriage, or any sense of freedom to voice their opinions. Social Media Networks became a platform for the youth and gave them the opportunity to become the voice of change in the authoritarian regime as well as the opportunity to rebuild Egypt. However, not necessarily did Social Networks cause the desired outcome. 

In Egypt, Social Media Networks became a platform to easily spread information and make publicly visible on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It has a network to reach a numerous amount of people, helping one spread information faster and accurately as it can be mobile and easy to update. “Furthermore, the applications of Social Networks are extremely low costs…”( Faris, p.5)  and easy to use. All these factors were used in the social movement Facebook page ” We are Khaled Said”, named after a 28 year-old who was brutally murdered.

The actual Facebook page shows photos of Khaled Said and his case and other types of violence that goes on on “a daily basis” in Egypt (Facebook,2016). The page raised the attention of many activists to arouse the issues of torture and human rights making other Egyptian issues such as socio-economic problems obscured. What does this mean? In my theory, to all the people ( majority of youth) that have access to Social Networks have the opportunity to engage on those platforms and gives them the chance to decide whether or not they want to be part of it. However, once already exposed to the issue, such as the one brought up by the Khaled Said page, it sort of lessens those other issues that also should be talked about. The Khaled Said page already provided a movement for others to engage it as it already has a numerous amount of “friends” and is an active page in comparison to other issues brought upon the youth. In no means am I saying the Khaled Said tragedy to be less than any other issue,but rather, with now the power of Social Media which is gives the ability to easily publish information, an array of important issues should be brought into light.

Both Social Media Networks and the Egyptian youth have the ability to make a change, however, whether or not it will make a positive influence is based on the strategic and well thought out measures the youth is willing to make and the current of their society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Egyptian Youth meets Social Media

Digital Organization under Authoritarian Regimes

Throughout both Faris and Ali & El-Sharnouby’s articles, it’s clear that the internet, and specifically social media sites, provide a platform for repressed people to quickly, cheaply, and efficiently organize under a specific issue rather than resorting to traditional activist efforts of organizing in a physical space. Faris talks about the formation of Kefaya in Egypt and the struggles they originally faced in opposition to an authoritarian regime. Attendance rates were low, and due to gender-based violence, many women activists refrained from protesting.

Social media sites are widely accessible and provide a platform for anonymity, but it is also important to note that although social media activism in these environments can be extremely effective, campaigns can be easily skewed. Faris accentuates the point that in these online campaigns, there are many leaders. Perhaps with many leaders comes a wider chance for a movement’s main focus to shift in order to fit the group’s agenda. In the case of We Are All Khaled Said, Ali & El-Sharnouby comment that WAAKS struggles between the true testimony of Said’s beating and the mythic portrayal of a martyr of police brutality that had been associated with Said both on Facebook and in conversation surrounding the campaign.

Ali & El-Sharnouby appear very concerned with this disconnect and make the point that regardless of whether Said was or was not the martyr that WAAKS claims him to be, digital campaigns such as WAAKS are simply unable to fully grasp the social and cultural context of these events. They suggest that Egyptian youth culture and activism does not tackle the uncomfortable, underlying social issues of alienation, substance abuse, religious extremism, unemployment, poor education, etc. and are instead idealizing social change through “heroic stories of martyrdom and sacrifice” (Ali & El-Sharnouby, 90).

Digital Organization under Authoritarian Regimes