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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

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.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid