Authoritarian states and internet social media: Instruments of democratisation or instruments of control?
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Internet-enabled technologies are said to allow individuals to consume, create and distribute their own content without governmental control. They also provide opportunities for new forms of activism and mobilisation that can challenge repressive governments. Recent reports on citizens’ mobilisation in authoritarian states suggest that the Internet can generate new forms of opposition against totalitarian rules. The aim of this paper is to examine whether these new technologies can be regarded as vehicles of democracy or instruments of authoritarianism. Can Internet-enabled technologies promote values of openness and freedom that gradually and significantly act as anti-totalitarian tools?
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