The extensive use of social media for protest purposes was a distinctive feature of the recent protest events in Spain, Greece, and the United States. Like the Occupy Wall Street protesters in the United States, the indignant activists of Spain and Greece protested against unjust, unequal, and corrupt political and economic institutions marked by the arrogance of those in power. Social media can potentially change or contribute to the political communication, mobilization, and organization of social movements. To what extent did these three movements use social media in such ways? To answer this question a comparative content analysis of tweets sent during the heydays of each of the campaigns is conducted. The results indicate that, although Twitter was used significantly for political discussion and to communicate protest information, calls for participation were not predominant. Only a very small minority of tweets referred to protest organization and coordination issues. Furthermore, comparing the actual content of the Twitter information exchanges reveals similarities as well as differences among the three movements, which can be explained by the different national contexts.
Tooks Chambers has a proud record of defending the rights of the under privileged and the oppressed. From its early days of defending miners and their communities during their year long strike, consistently tackling miscarriages of justice such as the Birmingham Six and representing the family of Stephen Lawrence, to its current involvement in landmark cases such as the Hillsborough Inquests and the AHK judicial review, members of chambers have sought to hold the state to account. The dissolution of Chambers is the direct result of government policies on Legal Aid. The public service we provide is dependent on public funding. 90% of our work is publicly funded. The government policies led by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling are cumulatively devastating the provision of legal services and threatening the rule of law.
one Greek media outlet has been providing continuous coverage of the ERT crisis that stands out with its intelligence, clarity and attention to detail. Radio Bubble, an Athens-based citizen journalism community, has been publishing ‘round-the-clock live updates, in-depth analysis, aggregated links to foreign media coverage and radio podcasts on its multi-lingual website. RB’s volunteers discovered and published, for example, a document showing that the order to close ERT came from Greece’s creditors — the European Commission, the European Central Bank and IMF — which stipulated that at least 2,000 public sector employees would have to be fired in June to fulfill cost-cutting requirements. Radio Bubble published the scanned document on its website, even as the European Commission denied any involvement in the decision to shut down ERT. The New York Times confirmed the story several days later. The in-depth reports on Radio Bubble’s website are supplemented with frequent updates on Twitter, via their dedicated account @radiobubblenews or, more frequently, via various contributors who use the tag #rbnews. Volunteers monitor the hashtag and verify reports, particularly if they come from outsiders. According to contributor Theodora Oikonomides (@IrateGreek), it is the now the second-most popular hashtag in Greece.
There is no question that public awareness of—that is, disgust with—corruption has grown. In the last year, quarterly polls conducted by the Center for Sociological Investigations saw Spaniards rank it as the country’s fourth gravest problem, surpassed only by unemployment and other economic issues. Yet, the Bárcenas revelations brought only an estimated 1,000 people to an impromptu demonstration held in front of Popular Party headquarters in Madrid. “The idea that politicians are getting envelopes stuffed with cash during these moments of crisis has certainly generated a sense of indignation,” says Villoria. “But there’s also a sense of what can you do besides answer a poll?” While those polls show overwhelming support for toughening sanctions against corruption, little government action has yet been taken. In the wake of the latest scandals, the Popular Party has promised to conduct a thorough internal investigation and prime minister Rajoy said that “his hand would not tremble” to punish anyone found guilty of misconduct. It has also promised greater accountability and oversight in the form of a Transparency Law, proposed last March but still not yet approved, that would require governments at all levels to make their accounts available to the public. But already there are caveats. On Friday, it was announced, that the royal family would be exempt from the law. And thanks to opposition from both the PP and the PSOE so too, most likely, will political parties. Over 75,000 citizens have signed an online petition asking that the parties be included in the legislation. But for that to happen, something would have to change.