In this article, which was first published last year in the magazine “State of the region”, of Cairo’s Al Ahram Centre, Jane Kinninmont, Senior Research Fellow at Chatham House, looks at how, in the absence of more traditional form of debate, social media has become the forum of choice for the young generation in the GCC countries.
“The young populations of the Gulf Arab monarchies are some of the most avid users of social media in the world. The trends of soaring internet and mobile phone use will have a deep effect on Gulf societies. Twitter represents a further challenge to the traditional state control of the media, which have already been profoundly altered by satellite television, though it also offers opportunities for governments to communicate with their citizens or to monitor them. It facilitates networking and connectivity across borders and across social groups. Twitter also has a levelling effect on political, social and religious discourse as the overwhelmingly youthful demographic of Twitter users has a chance to answer back or to argue with elders – such as ministers, clerics, or CEOs – in a way that they would find far harder in person. Twitter is providing a new space for political debate and mobilization, though it is also a new battleground for censorship.”
You may read the full article here