News / Europe

    Global Politics Shaken By Social Media

    Global Politics Shaken by Social Mediai
    X
    March 13, 2013 10:15 PM
    Italian comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo drew the largest vote for a single party in Italy's election last month - despite shunning traditional campaign platforms such as TV, in favor of using social media like Facebook to spread his message. Analysts say it's the latest example of how new media and social media are changing politics - building on recent developments like the Arab Spring. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Henry Ridgwell
    Italian comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo drew the largest vote for a single party in Italy's election last month - despite shunning traditional campaign platforms such as TV, in favor of using social media like Facebook to spread his message. Analysts say it's the latest example of how new media and social media are changing politics - building on recent phenomena like the Arab Spring.

    By his own admission, Beppe Grillo tries hard not to look like a politician. But his '5-star Movement' took 25 percent of the vote at the Italian elections last month - the highest share for a single party.

    Five-Star Movement leader and comedian Beppe Grillo gestures during a rally in Turin, Italy, Feb. 16, 2013.Five-Star Movement leader and comedian Beppe Grillo gestures during a rally in Turin, Italy, Feb. 16, 2013.
    x
    Five-Star Movement leader and comedian Beppe Grillo gestures during a rally in Turin, Italy, Feb. 16, 2013.
    Five-Star Movement leader and comedian Beppe Grillo gestures during a rally in Turin, Italy, Feb. 16, 2013.
    Addressing his supporters, he said: "We have entered another phase; I don't know what it will lead to. It is incredible," he said. "We have changed. We are not only a movement but we are a community."

    Analysts say it is a community built in cyberspace. Grillo shunned traditional campaign platforms such as television and newspapers - instead relying on social media like Facebook and Twitter, where he has over a million followers.

    Graham Meikle is professor of social media at the University of Westminster in London.

    "Where social media have become implicated in high profile political events in the last few years such as the Italian elections, such as the Iranian elections in 2009, such as Occupy Wall Street or the Arab Spring, what we're often seeing is not just dissatisfaction and rebellion against politics as usual, but also against the way politics is covered," he said.

    Meikle said Beppe Grillo's success is the most high profile example of the power of new media in politics.

    "People are using social media to express points of view which aren't getting onto TV, which aren't being aired in the newspaper, to share those ideas with others and to connect with others who they can then see through networks, and share their point of view," he added.

    The difference with social media is that it is a two-way conversation, said Matt Freckelton. He is the founder of the website Yatterbox, which follows the social media activity of every lawmaker in Britain - giving the electorate a real-time commentary on politicians' activities in Parliament, and even often in private. Freckleton cited what happened during the recent parliamentary debate on legalizing gay marriage.

    "What we saw were lots of politicians in the chambers or outside the chambers during the debate tweeting about it," he said. "And during that we saw many policymakers and people who would like to influence those people, and the general public getting in on that debate and trying to influence how those politicians would vote, which would directly affect the laws that are passed in this country."

    Douglas Carswell is a Conservative Party lawmaker with an active online presence. He's author of the book 'The End of Politics and the Birth of iDemocracy'. "The Internet is changing politics. It's changing the way we do democracy fairly profoundly," he said.

    "It's allowing us to aggregate opinion; it's allowing us to bring ideas together," said Carswell. "It's allowing us to do many of the things that previously political parties did. And I think this is a challenge both for the people in the building behind me, but I think it's a challenge also for citizens because they're discovering new ways that they can get things done."

    Whether on the streets of the Arab world - or in the corridors of Western parliaments - observers say social media is shaking up the established political order.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Kitagawa Keikoh from: Jiyugaoka, JPN
    March 15, 2013 7:24 PM
    Political election is not a vote for good politicians but for just famous persons. It is just a popularity vote something like AKB48 general election in Japan.
    Please watch AKB48 general election through Youtube or something. It is more exciting than politcal elections.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora