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Charm Offensives Through Twitter

September 11, 2013

President Hassan Rouhani

 As social media becomes popular in repressive societies with pro-democracy activists using it as a platform in their confrontation with governments, autocrats too have been quick to learn the use of such technology to push forward their version of things and regime propaganda.
An initiative that gained much publicity recently was Iran’s newly-elected leader President Hassan Rouhani wishing Rosh Hashanah on twitter. Although there is some confusion as to whether he actually tweeted Jewish New Year greetings (Wall Street Journal reported he had not), the political implications of autocratic regimes messaging using twitter was featured in a recent article in the New Republic.
“I don’t want to rain on anyone’s New Year’s parade, but it’s worth pointing out that Twitter hasn’t reformed the other unsavory political leaders who have used it as a mouthpiece,” writes Nora Caplan-Bricker.
You can access the article here
Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.