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Media activism

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Title: Media activism  
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Subject: Media manipulation, Alternative media, Activism, Radical media, Alternative journalism
Collection: Activism by Type, Alternative Journalism, Alternative Media
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Media activism

Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park using their laptops, September 2011

Media activism is a broad category of activism that utilizes media and communication technologies for social and political movements. Methods of media activism include publishing news on websites, creating video and audio investigations, spreading information about protests, and organizing campaigns relating to media and communications policies.

Media activism can be used for many different purposes. It is often employed by grassroots activists and anarchists to spread information not available via mainstream media or to share censored news stories.[1] Certain forms of politically motivated hacking and net-based campaigns are also considered media activism. Often, the focus of media activism is to change policies relating to media and communications.[2]


  • Forms of media activism 1
  • Case studies 2
    • Venezuela 2.1
    • Arab Spring 2.2
    • China 2.3
    • Occupy Wall Street 2.4
  • Suppression of media activism 3
  • Organizations 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6

Forms of media activism


Live streams applications or websites such as

  1. ^ Kim Deterline. "FAIR's Media Activism Kit". Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  2. ^ Andors, Ph.D., Ellen (2012). The Task of Activist Media. Peoples Video Network. 
  3. ^ Ed Carrasco (March 26, 2012). "How Social Media Has Helped Activism". New Media Rockstars. Retrieved December 19, 2012
  4. ^ Sarah Kessler (October 9, 2010). "Why Social Media Is Reinventing Activism". Mashable. Retrieved December 19, 2012
  5. ^ "Social media spreads and splinters Brazil protests". Reuters. 21 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Kantrowitz, Alex. Forbes http://www.forbes.coms/alexkantrowitz/2013/06/19/social-media-and-istanbuls-protests-four-things-you-need-to-know/. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Christine Harold (September 2004). "Pranking Rhetoric: "Culture Jamming" as Media Activism". Critical Studies in Media Communication 21 (3 ed.). pp. 189–211. Retrieved December 19, 2012
  11. ^ "Media Activism". Burlington College. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  12. ^
  13. ^  
  14. ^ Poell, Thomas. "Twitter as a multilingual space: The articulation of the Tunisian revolution through #sidibouzid". NECSUS. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  15. ^ Wolf, Linda (2001). Global Uprising: Confronting the Tyrannies of the 21st Century : Stories from a New Generation of Activists. New Society Publ.
  16. ^ Golinger, Eva. "Internet Revolution in Venezuela |". | Venezuela News, Views, and Analysis. Retrieved 26 Mar. 2013
  17. ^ a b Forero, Juan (1 October 2012). "Venezuelan youth could decide if Chavez remains in power". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  18. ^ "Capriles vs Chávez Online: Venezuela’s Social Media Split". Americas Society and Council of the Americas (AS/COA), 20 Aug. 2012. Web. 16 May 2013.
  19. ^ Sonia, Doglio. "Venezuela: Twitter user detained for spreading “destabilizing” information - Global Voices Advocacy." Global Voices Advocacy - Defending free speech online.. Global Voices Advocacy, n.d. Web. 16 May 2013.
  20. ^ a b Khan, A. A (2012). "The Role Social of Media and Modern Technology in Arabs Spring". Far East Journal Of Psychology & Business 7 (1): 56–63. 
  21. ^ Khashaba, Karim. "Facebook: virtual impact on reality in the Middle East | openDemocracy". openDemocracy. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  22. ^ a b c Pfiefle, Mark (14 June 2012). "Social Media and Political Activism". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  23. ^ Cook, Sarah. "China". Freedom House. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  24. ^ a b New Media Practices in China: Youth Patterns, Processes, and Politics. International Journal of Communication. 2011. pp. 406–436. 
  25. ^ R.L.G.. "Chinese censorship: Fǎ Kè Yóu, River Crab." The Economist, 7 June 2011. Web. 14 May 2013.
  26. ^ Mead, Walter. "Social Media Endangers and Empowers China’s Activists." The American Interest, 5 Mar. 2013. Web. 3 May 2013.
  27. ^ Bennett, Isabella. "Media Censorship in China". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  28. ^ Boynton, Robert (February 2011). "North Korea's Digital Underground". The Atlantic. 


See also


States such as North Korea, Venezuela, and China have attempted to curtail media activism through a variety of tactics. The Chinese state engages in media censorship in the name of national harmony, although the Council on Foreign Relations argues that suppression of online activism is to protect authorities' political or economic interests.[27] In North Korea, the state curtails virtually all forms of digital communication, but a few transnational citizen-journalists have used technology like cell phones and thumb drives to communicate accurate news to citizens and abroad.[28]

Suppression of media activism

The Occupy Wall Street movement, which began during the fall of 2011, is another instance were social media largely contributed to the efforts of the initiative. Occupy Wall Street protesters capitalized on the tools of social media to spread awareness about the movement, to inform participants about organized meetings, rallies, and events, and to ultimately generate national news and mainstream media attention.

Occupy Wall Street

In China, youth and other media activists have discovered and utilized new methods to indirectly criticize the political and societal environments, going around the government censorship. Social media is among the newest method of critique. Activists use "microblogs" to critique the government.[26] Blogging can therefore be seen as a media activist approach to civic participation within the bounds of government censorship.

China has strong censorship laws in place, where the press freedoms are not considered free, rather oppressive but improving.[23] Youth in China have worked towards stronger press freedoms online and a dedication to utilizing the principles of media activism.[24] Intensive civic conversation occurs online in China.[24] Youth satirized the government through what came to be known as "the River Crab critique," in turn spurring civic conversation on the internet. Media Activists in China used their online presence and freedom to alter images, such as Marilyn Monroe, to have the face of Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong. This image was coined as Maorilyn Maoroe, which in the image is juxtaposed next to a homophone for profanity. "Maorilyn Maoroe" was an opponent to the societal River Crab, which is a pun on "harmonious," a principle that Chinese censorship was created to promote, but has failed to do so.[25]


Egyptian protesters utilized social media to reduce the difficulties and cost associated with organizing rallies and a readily-mobilized political force.[22] This facilitation of assembly through social media allowed the creation of new gateways for civic engagement where Egypt had suppressed such opportunities under emergency power for the last 30 years.[22] This facilitation of assembly through social media allowed the creation of new gateways for civic engagement where Egypt had suppressed such opportunities under emergency power for the last 30 years.[22] This uprising led to violent conflict within each of the nations, and can thus media and media activism can be viewed as a fundamental contributor to the nation's new national identity under a new rule.[20]

[21] Arab youth population are described as "opening" societies through social media in places where governments are otherwise repressive.[20] The 2011

Protesters in Egypt celebrate in Tahrir Square after President Mubarak announced his resignation.

Arab Spring

On March 14, 2013, Lourdes Alicia Ortega Pérez was imprisoned by the Scientific Penal and Criminal Investigation Corps of Venezuela for tweeting a message that was considered "destabilizing to the country".[19]

[17] This form of media activism connected most dominantly in the Venezuelan youth population—a generation considered to be tech-savvy.[18] Opposition candidate Capriles used social media as an activist approach to "drum up" support and connect with voters politically.[17] Most recently, social media has been used politically to achieve success during elections, including the 2012 re-election campaign of President

Today nearly 32 percent of Venezuelan internet-users utilize social media on regular basis.[16]


Social Media has become a primary organizing tool for political and social movements globally.[13] They serve to strengthen already existing networks of political and social relationships among activists offline.[14] Media activism among youth can be linked to the way youth protest and create communities online over specific issues and social connections.[15]

Case studies

Media activism has expanded its scope to include fields of study such as journalism and news media.[11] Media activism additionally educates the audience to be producers of their own media. Media activism to be expanded to facilitate action through media production and involvement.[12]

Culture jamming, another form of media activism, is a subversive strategy of protest that re-appropriates the tropes of mainstream media "in order to take advantage of the resources and venues they afford".[10]

YouTube is another efficient tool of spreading information. It is generally used with other social media forms such as Facebook and Twitter. The most important example to the media activism through YouTube can be the video of Kony which reached to one hundred million views in 6 days. Manifesting by using videos allows protesters to reach the whole world easier than just publishing in a local language.[9]


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