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The Role Of Social Media In Political Rallies, Using Taiwan’s Recent Protest As An Example

1491 words - 6 pages

This essay will be researching on the question of whether mobile and social media had taken an important role in contemporary civil protests and rallies especially in Asia due to the socio-political background. Sunflower movement, a protest that took place in Taiwan earlier this year in March will be used as the case study for the topic. Due to the lack of academic resources about this new event, news article and internet resources will be my main approach of research for the movement. This essay will discuss the topic by discussing how social media can be used in protest, a brief introduction on the Sun Flower movement in Taiwan, the way social media had been used during the movement, the ...view middle of the document...

” Social media provides a platform that allows two-way communication and is easily accessible as it’s almost free to use. These features distinct social media from traditional media and makes them a better options for protest groups, especially when traditional media failed to catch up with the ever-changing protests and some of the press provide merely biased propaganda.
Secondly, sensitive informations are easier to spread on the internet as blocking it will be challenging for the government as users can continually share and upload the data.
Lastly, the essence of social media that every users can contribute means that every protesting individuals can get involved. Not only does that create a better sense of involvements, it also means live time real life information about what is happening with the protest.

The Sunflower Movement started with a university students group, Island Nation Youth, who occupied the Parliament (Legislative Yuan) to protest against the illegal passing of the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement (CSSTA) with China by the ruling party Kuomintang (KMT). The CSSTA is believed to have damaging repercussions on Taiwan’s economy, freedom and sovereignty.The Parliament was occupied from March 18 to April 10, 2014, and during the time the protest had gained great support from the Taiwanese society, making the event to grow from a student protest to civil rally (Fuchs, C 2014). Thousands of voluntary participants sit-ins on the streets outside of the parliament to show support and protect the people inside, and tons of food and resources were donated from all over the country. The occupation ended on peacefully after Legislative Speaker Wang Jyn-ping promised to ensure that “ a monitoring mechanism will be passed prior to a further review of the service agreement”(Chao, C 2014: 20 March).

The protest team had been using the internet as their major means to share informations and official statements. Their official Facebook page had been “liked” by more than three thousand three thousand users (Island Nation Youth 2014) and is one of the group’s main way to communicate with the public and voluntary participants. Traditional media had all been referencing posts from the Facebook fan page in professional news reporting, and even comments to the post would be recited in the news article as “opinions of the internet users”. Live stream of the parliaments had also been available since almost the very beginning of the occupation (Fuchs, C 2014: 24 March), making it transparent and available to anyway who is interested in the issue. The students were highly organised and, with Facebook group they managed to control, plan, and communicate with thousands of voluptuary participants(Chao, C 2014). Using Skype, international interviews were done inside the parliament with media like Al Jazeera(Al Jazeera 2014). The students press team not only aimed to provide first hand informations for Taiwanese but also a wilder international...

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