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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.

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.

[Originally posted here on the WITNESS Hub Blog.]

We don’t often get much from Greece, but 6 December seemed like a busy day for the police and protestors alike…

As I mentioned in my previous post, there were clashes between the police and “youths” in Athens yesterday, during which police shot dead one teenager.  Riots/protests spread to four further cities before an apology was issued by the Interior Minister.  Click for BBC footage.

In a separate incident, the Press Association reports that asylum seekers in Athens also rioted yesterday after one man was pushed into a canal.  And from Brabantfeatures, here’s a report (with the frankly unfortunate title of “Athens inner city racial timebomb warning”) that shows the asylum limbo experienced by many of Athens’ recent migrants, and the seeming paralysis in public policy for dealing with them: