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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid