Net4change, Bahrain Revolution and Social Media Journalism

RT @rysiekpl: @kyrah’s right, we’re just crazies who want to change the world. but once you get there, you don’t want to get back to sanity #net4change

net4change Maryam Al-Khawaji bahrain

This is the second part of my notes from the #net4change conference. The first part, discussing the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions, can be found here. The conference was viewed through a livestream where I was interacting via twitter with participants attending as well as others like me that were attending from a distance. The conference was concerned with how the Internet helps to create democratic change and had brought in speakers from various parts of the world. This post will take up the notes I took from the seminar discussing the revolution in Bahrain

Maryam Al-Khawaja – Bahrain: Social media and the revolution

 This was a very interesting talk in many ways. Especially following it through twitter and seeing how she upset a lot of people just by talking about the Bahrain revolutions. Bahrain is a country with one of the highest levels of twitter activity they  also have a smart government working at drowning messages in noise instead of censoring. This was demonstrated live when #net4change hashtag was suddenly “invaded” by persons speaking negatively about Maryam Al-Khawaja.

@MARYAMALKHAWAJA “Bahrain has one of the highest activity rates on Twitter” worldwide. #net4change

@MaryamAlKhawaja: #Bahrain government smarter than Egypt’s. Check out #net4change, Bahrain trolls will spam the hashtag.

Talk at Brown uni, gov trolls sent out 2k emails to organizers telling them to cancel the talk.

@MARYAMALKHAWAJA: “#Bahrain hired 10-12 PR companies in Europe and the US” #net4change

Another thing the Bahrain government was not turning the population against them in the same way other countries did. Instead they were very careful to divide the population and only targeting part of it, trying to make them into a common enemy with the rest of the country. Involving their citizens in the fight also limits how open you can be towards your neighbor about your feelings. 

Gov’t. In order to control you have to divide. Targeted 90% Shia, went after Shia buildings. They wanted to say we have no prolem with Sunni. Message to others: don’t get involved in “shia” protests.

RT @SultanAlQassemi: – @MaryamAlKhawaja: The govt took pictures from the protests & asked the public to identify the protesters #Net4Change

The most important difference in coverage was due to economical interests from countries and media relying on money from the Saudis

Why was Bahrain covered in a different way? Answer: Because of the Saudi intervention. #Net4Change

AlJazeera doesn’t cover Bahrain. Financial interest reasons

.@MaryamAlKhawaja: The only governments that publicly said they wouldn’t sell arms to #Bahrain were the UK and France. #net4change


[pic: CC-BY, ssoosay


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Josef Ohlsson Collentine

A transparent and kind American/Swede who likes cultural patterns and Social Media. A creative early-adopter who sports, discusses and explores. More about me
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