• Civilmedia09, Day 1: The Emerging Power of Social Media and the Post-Election Violence in Iran (Irfan Rajah)
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This presentation examines the prospects of mobile phones and other forms of social media such as Facebook, YouTube, Demotix, Twitter and blogs that foster the possibility of more democratic practices in the countries where the suppressive communities are embracing these tools to spread their message across over. This paper suggests that mobile phones are not only incredible medium of communication and information sharing but are also multiple service tools with significant functions. Thus by examining the exclusive role of mobile phones in the recent elections in Iran, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Malaysia this article propose in future the electoral process particularly in the oppressive regimes have to face a strong opposition in case of systematic rigging. As Toni Ahonen, has called the mobile phone the „7th Mass Media“ (Quoted by Verclas and Mechael, 2008:10).This paper finds despite the crackdown of Iranian government thousand of images, short video clips and eyewitness commentary reached to millions of viewers and audiences worldwide through social media sites that demonstrates its fastest speed and unimaginable growing power. This paper also explores that the notion of ‘Twitter Revolution’ cannot be justified as it was mostly used by Iranians living outside the country. Perhaps it was an attempt to boost ‘Twitter’ as competitive product in new media market. This article finds that few mainstream media organisations news coverage of Iranian elections has once again have raised concerns about fairness and accuracy. Finally this article maintain that it’s too early to embrace the concept of social media as being ‘warning signs’ to power-elites since there is reliable evidence of new mergers, taking over social networking sites by media conglomerates and also the build-in technological mechanism for control, authenticity and credibility of social media are few central features that have opened a new debate about its impartial stance while operating under authoritative government and reporting sensitive issues.