Tunisian Protests. By Katy and Antar. Overview….
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By Katy and Antar.
The Tunisian protests started with Mohammed Bouazizi on the 17th December 2010 after he set himself alight outside of a police station in Sidi Bouzid, because of the lack of standard living and human rights. Bouazizi was unemployed before the incident and was selling fruit and vegetables at a stand to help support his family, however police shut him down as he did not have a permit. Witness’ say he was shutdown forcefully and took an unnecessary “battering” highlighting the effects of police brutality.
This individual protest lead to masses of Tunisians starting a rampant protest over the country, thus encouraging Tunisia’s president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to resign.
The collection, dissemination, and analysis of news by the public, by means of cell phones, digital cameras, blogs, etc.
The media could have reported this event without the use of citizen journalism by sending professionally trained photographers and journalists to cover the story. However, the impact wouldn’t have been as strong without the citizen journalism because the public watching the news story develop, would not have made such an empathetic bond to the citizens in Tunisia.
(police attacking protesters)
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Mohammed Bouazizi on fire outside the police station.
Within the Tunisian protests there had been a lot of citizen journalism to create the impact that the story has had over the public. However, 20 years ago the story wouldn’t have had as strong an impact because globally the economic state was more stable. Also the story wouldn’t have reached a global audience as quick as it has now because of social networking sites and for the use of technology where you can upload videos and images instantly from mobile phones.
Mohammed Bouazizi after suffering 3rd Degree Burns
If we compare how this story was reported, to the way the Tunisian protests of 1980 was reported, we would be able to see a huge difference. Citizen Journalism is one of the biggest factors affecting the difference. Without the use of social networking sites, camera phones, WAP-enabled phones and video uploading sites, the level of information and reality that reaches us wouldn’t be as high and also the news wouldn’t get to us as quickly.
Even when comparing how the 2010/11 protests would differ, we wouldn’t have access to the visuals we saw before or many of the Tunisian citizens point of view. The citizens would not be able to stand as one and fight for what they believe in because there would not be a wide-scale base to join.
From research it has shown that there has been no conflict towards the Tunisian protests, politicians were unknown to act upon the protests and did not try to upheld anything or raise any issues. From researching twitter there has been some groups on there that have Tunisian relevance however were in another language. One Twitter group was named Free Tunisia that had many tweets about elections and the several lives lost whilst protesting including Mohammed Bouzizi.
Although twitter is a social networking site, where it is difficult to stop the spread of news (citizen journalism), it seems to be quite evident that a lot of the political based conflict has been restricted in release, making a lot of the conflict news more based around actual protesting. Not a lot has come out of the Tunisian government report wise, apart from the newly formed coalition government, news of Ben Ali fleeing the country and the empowerment of the Ennahda party.
The social media was used through twitter, as previously shown there was a screen shot of a twitter page that was made to tweet and share thoughts about the Tunisian protests and about freeing Tunisian people for their Human Rights. However Facebook has not shown any pages or groups about the Tunisian protests, maybe indicating that the Tunisian people were told to stop the use of Facebook or anything to do with protests on there.
Also a part of social media is Youtube. Youtube is a massive way that citizen journalism is brought across to the public by recording videos and uploadingthem toYoutube. There has been many links to Youtube showing citizens of Tunisia as the protests take place, including footage of someone being shot. This video still remains on Youtube therefore to some understanding the public have not tried to stop anybody from posting footage onto this social media website. Youtube made a massive impact on the public locally, nationally and worldwide with many viewings and was used to show and express the impact by making public viewers feel more like they were there and also to emphasise the sympathy and how serious the protests became. On the other hand, twitter was used to share thoughts and throughout the event the owner of the account ‘Free Tunisia’ updated the page with several tweets about elections and brought conversation to twitter. Because of social media, it has made it so easy for the public to access citizen journalism with Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.
“Citizen journalism is no more a replacement for professional journalism than teabags are a replacement for water. Both can stand comfortably alone, but when combined they produce something quite wonderful.”
A quote from Clyde H Bentley.
Clyde H did a huge paper on citizen journalism. This paper went into more depth of Citizen journalism and our understanding from it is that journalism is a battle between professionals and citizens; who should and shouldn't be the ‘rightful’ journalist. Due to the Tunisian protests, citizen journalism increased the depth of the story and made a larger impact towards the audience. If this story didn’t have the element of citizen journalism the story may not have had as much coverage as it did therefore may not have spread globally like it did.
To conclude, the Tunisian protests has a vast amount of CJ to add the impact of the story and also to add what other journalisms were unable to, the emotion and depth of the citizens of Tunisia and what they were up against. There are many opinions out there that question the effectiveness of Citizen journalism and where this lays within the future.
However linking to the Tunisian protests , if citizen journalism was not there to be viewed when the story of the protests began then it is a question of who would have actually realised the protests had been going on, how quickly they’d have spread over Tunisia and then how quickly the news would’ve spread globally. Also if citizen journalism was unavailable, the public would more than likely not take any interest into the protests because the news reporters would not have brought the depth, emotion and realisation to the protests in Tunisia, compared to what citizen journalism has enabled us to see.