100 articles – ‘Twitter revolution beats old-style media’

21 June 2011

Written by: Suzannah Macbeth

‘“Twitter revolution” beats old-style media’ by Rob McConnell

In June 2009, 26-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan was shot in Tehran, close to where anti-government protests were underway in the wake of Iran’s election results. She died within two minutes.

Neda’s death was filmed by an unknown person, who then emailed the graphic 40-second video out of Iran. From there, it spread around the world.

Rob McConnell’s article in the Belfast Telegraph the following week discusses how the internet and in particular Twitter meant that the censorship imposed on Iranians was not entirely effective. Foreign journalists were not permitted into the country, text messaging had been shut down and Facebook had been blocked, but it was impossible for online communication to be stopped altogether. The Guardian’s news blog on events in Iran that June included emails and tweets from people, not necessarily journalists, who were present during the protests. A link to the video of Neda’s death was included in the blog.

This is no longer a world in which the dispatches of journalists and the letters of citizens can easily be stopped by censors. Neda’s death, made famous around the world via social media, made her a martyr for the Iranian protest movement. Every journalist should be aware of it, for it is a defining moment in the development of ‘citizen journalism’ and the beginning of a major phenomenon.

Suzannah Marshall Macbeth is a Master of Global Communications student at La Trobe University and a member of the upstart editorial team. She blogs at equineocean and you can follow her on Twitter.

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