The Arab Spring was supposed to usher in an era of greater political inclusion and freedom, including press freedom, writes Dana Priest in the Washington Post July 26. “Instead, in every country but Tunisia, it has led to the opposite: the near-disappearance of independent news and opinion, especially about governments and their security forces.”
The article, and other similar articles in the past few years, shows that circumventing media technologies have limits. They may be technologies of freedom, as Ithiel de Sola Poole once predicted, but they can also be technologies of repression.
“The Internet and social media sites were the Arab Spring’s oxygen. Activists and journalists — often it was hard to tell the difference — used the tools of their generation to get around the forces of the old guard. Their effectiveness stunned the security establishment. But the old guard has caught up technologically…”