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Enrique Peña Nieto fue el campeón de los bots (robots para crear mensajes) y derrochó recursos sin lograr revertir oleadas de opiniones en su contra; Andrés Manuel López Obrador con su página amlo.si acrecentó una comunidad fiel, pero le faltó tiempo para extenderla, y Josefina Vázquez Mota arrancó bien para después enredarse en los yerros de su campaña. Los investigadores Guillermo Pérezbolde, Eva Sander y Claudia Benassini ubican las fallas en que los candidatos dialogaron poco o nada con la población y reprodujeron las trampas de tierra comprando bots o escenificando artificiosas guerras tuiteras. “Tristemente los estrategas se fueron mucho por los vanity metrics, las estadísticas de la vanidad (número de seguidores o de me gusta en Facebook) y no dialogaron con los ciudadanos”, afirma Sander, directora de estrategia de la empresa Ondore y especialista en nuevos medios. En vez de preocuparse por interactuar, los candidatos se dedicaron a transmitir mensajes para que la gente los consumiera como si fueran programas de televisión o de radio. Nunca dijeron: ciudadano, platícame cuáles son tus inquietudes, ¿qué te gustaría que hiciera? ¿Por qué no estás de acuerdo con esta propuesta?, concluye Pérezbolde, vicepresidente de la Asociación Mexicana de Internet (Amipci).

But Nigerian newspapers differ from the almost exclusively human interest reporting of their global counterparts in the lengths they will go to make links between attacks in the remote northeast and national politics – all against the background of looming elections. “We thought it (the Boko Haram insurgency) was a flash in the pan … But it has become a very bad ulcer,” said Oloja. “This insurgency is political. It is tied to the 2015 presidential election. People are imputing motives. This wasn’t like that a year ago,” he added. Once the revolt was largely a matter for the authorities of the northeast. But the fighters have stepped up the violence in recent months, launching attacks in the central city of Jos and in Abuja, the capital. The government’s decision to declare states of emergency and launch a military offensive in May last year has meant national agencies face harsh scrutiny – particularly after their failure to rescue more than 200 schoolgirls abducted in April. The police’s decision to ban public protests over the girls in the capital last week, and then apparently reverse that decision, generated a three-column editorial asking if the police chief should “be allowed to function in a democracy”.

Santos’s years have been marked by social progress: huge spending on poor districts in the former narco-bastion of Medellín and legislation for the restitution of land to those who were expelled from it by paramilitaries and Farc. “Colombia is a fairly rich nation and yet it still has one third of citizens living in poverty and four million of them in extreme poverty. This is completely unacceptable,” said Rodríguez. “But we have taken 2.5 million Colombians out of poverty and 1.3 million from extreme poverty – something no government has ever done in Colombia. We have operated a social democracy, in place of the military economy that an Uribe-run government would bring back. We are trying to grow for the general prosperity, they want prosperity for just a few business people in their entourage.”

This study revisits the recent history of new protest movements in India. It analyses their causes and actors, their dynamics and forms of action, and their supporters and critics. When it comes to new protest movements, India obviously does not stand alone; but different especially from the ‘Arab Spring’, new protest movements in India operate in a functioning democracy. They do not want to tear down an
authoritarian regime, but to bring into the political arena issues that have either been neglected or not found adequate representation. They do so by mobilising groups of people who have not been involved in politics before, many of them urban, young, and belonging to India’s ‘new middle class’—however imprecise or even inadequate that latter term may appear. By doing all this, the new protest movements renew and revitalise Indian democracy.