In Today’s day and age no one is truly alone. The line between being alone and together has faded more and more over the years. What diffused these boundaries? The information technology boom has transformed the world completely.
No one lives alone and no city, state, country or even continent is restricted by boundaries. Everything is on our fingertips with the mobiles becoming mini computers. People are just an e-mail or SMS away and they have facilities like internet, social networking, videos and information of the entire world at their disposal. Social networking sites have become a part and parcel of our life. It has led to a lot of furore and controversies in the media over a wide range of issues. These days anyone with a camera and internet can become a reporter. The power and strength of social media has been underestimated .Social media has been seen as a tool for highlighting controversial affairs and spreading gossip about celebrities. In the last few years the true potential which was untapped till now came to the forefront.
The wave of demonstrations and protests in the Arab countries termed as the “Arab Spring” was fuelled by the social media. The Tunisian revolution and subsequent dethronement of their decade long dictator sparked a flame of hope in people’s heart. People were already frustrated with autocratic authorities, human rights violation, no transparency in handling of funds, declining economy despite being rich in natural resources and the demographic structural factor such as a large percentage of educated and unemployed youth.
The merging of international boundaries by social media removed the blindfold off people’s eyes and made them realise the importance and relevance of a democracy. Use of social media has gained/acquired a new meaning from this revolution which has been successfully used to organize, communicate and raise awareness in the face of state attempts at repression and internet censorship.
This has spread across various countries in a way that could have never been predicted or foreseen by anyone. The entire governance mechanism has been altered. In another case Social media has challenged and shaken one of the most powerful countries. The image of that country in question has been damaged beyond repair and here I am talking about the USA- the world power.
Wiki-leaks have changed the relationships which USA shared with many countries. Julian Assange -the founder of Wiki-leaks has revealed the wrongdoings of USA and its double standards on human rights violation and many international laws. The dark and horrible truth behind the Quarantino prison, the atrocities inflicted upon the people of Afghanistan and everything just bereaved other nations of the trust and camaraderie they once shared with the USA. The true side of the so called nation that puts up a fake image of a democratic and liberal country is in front of everyone.
The nation that questions every other country on any and every possible case of human rights violation has in literal sense crushed, brutalised and butchered human rights. Julian Assange has been charged for espionage and has been sentenced life imprisonment. But he has done a great job and has been brave enough to face the consequences. No one is shocked because the country’s legal system is deeply flawed and is governed by the very people who govern the country. This was possible because of the pervading social media; it is truly a blessing for the common people. It has brought many contentious issues to the forefront and has united people over issues like Women safety, corruption, gay rights, Right to education and many other issues of social relevance.
India itself saw a wave of protests regarding the 16th December brutal “Nirbhaya” rape case. The widespread coverage of media instigated people to change things to come out of their homes and demand justice from the system. These peaceful protests were intern organized by social media. As a result the government of India made a committee headed by Justice Verma and the committee made strong and effective laws covering all aspects of women safety. Some were passed some were discarded but it did make some difference. Even the Anna Hazare crusade on corruption that demanded the Lokpal Bill to be passed had put the government under pressure .Keeping in mind the recent elections the government passed the bill after 48 years though it has been modified but something is better than nothing. Amendments can always be made in the Lokpal bill later on keeping in mind the effectiveness of the current Lokpal Bill.
It is not just something that helps people socialise and communicate lately it has come out as an effective tool to bring out a change in the system hence impacting the legislature, the judiciary and the governing body. It has changed international relations, ousted dictators and has brought in reforms in laws. It might lead to something even bigger in the coming years. Its power cannot and must be underestimated because this is just the beginning.
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.