Participation and Media| Hybrid Media and Movements: The Irish Water Movement, Press Coverage, and Social Media
In 2010, as part of the Troika intervention into Ireland, the then government agreed to the imposition of domestic water charges and the creation of a centralized water company. The imposition of charges for domestic water, which was until then universally available, met spontaneous militant action, including mass protests and the blockading of districts to prevent meter installation. The campaigns were quickly dubbed “violent” and accused of being “infiltrated” by “dissidents” and other “sinister” elements, while minor acts of disobedience, such as pickets and sit-down protests, were recast as violent. In response, water activists used social media networks to disseminate opposition and as a critical media literacy tool. This article offers a comparative analysis of legacy print media and activist-driven social media coverage of a politically important court case involving water activists as an example of how the hybrid media system operates in a political conflict.