Arab Revolutions: Breaking Fear| #Hashtags for Change: Can Twitter Generate Social Progress in Saudi Arabia

Irfan Chaudhry


Since the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, Twitter has proven to be a useful mobilization tool for citizens. The power of Twitter to mobilize citizens (as seen in the Arab Spring) worries some governments. In response, a number of countries have begun to censor access to Internet technology. The Saudi monarchy, for example, issued a decree banning the reporting of news that contradicts sharia (Islamic) law, undermines national security, promotes foreign interests, or slanders religious leaders. A key question requiring further examination is why the Saudi government issued this decree. Are these controls in place to manage the Kingdomof Saudi Arabia’s political image on a global level, or are they in place to regulate the morality of its citizens at the local level? Drawing upon the work of Manuel Castells and his discussion of network power, this article asks: Can Twitter usage promote social progress in Saudi Arabia?


Saudi Arabia; Twitter; Communication Technology; Social Progress; Gender Inequality

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