Social Media And Politics In Pakistan
New communication technologies—especially social media via the Internet— have become important resources for the mobilization of collective action and the subsequent creation, organization, and implementation of social movements around the world. The development of social media created opportunities for Web-fueled social movements, or cyber activism, to change the landscape of collective action. Cyber activism is a growing field of scholarly inquiry, though it is not yet well understood, and it is largely lacking a clear, cohesive direction.
In addition to supporting political and social movements in more conventional ways—by providing opportunities for political expression, symbolic identification for collective actors, and information exchange—new communication technologies may serve a novel instrumental function.
There is little doubt that social media played a significant role in the revolutions that have struck the Arab world since late December 2010. In the case of Egypt, activists had been engaged since 2009 in online discussions and debates on sociopolitical conditions, which eventually developed into a full-force revolution. What these activists were doing—in terms of debating, organizing, and planning—is not new in itself, but the means employed to communicate with each other and execute the revolution represents an important new resource for collective action. Social media introduced a novel resource that provided swiftness in receiving and disseminating information; helped to build and strengthen ties among activists; and increased interaction among protesters and between protesters and the rest of the world. Information about the events that led to the protests was spread largely through social media technologies, and the encouragement and sympathy offered via social media channels inspired and boosted Egyptian protesters, who were linked not only to each other, but also to Tunisian protesters, Egyptians abroad, and the outside world.
If one opts for a research I am sure the words CHANGE, REVOLUTION, YOUTH and SOCIAL MEDIA would be beyond any doubt the frequently exploited ones in the political rhetoric and contemporary media in both print and electronic versions in Pakistan. So it is nothing but the E-form of what has been happening all around the world. The uprising in the Arab World, Twitter Revolution of Iran and the Occupy Wall Street are examples of the major movements that were floated as an idea on the social media outlets, discussed, criticized, promoted and then implemented as full-fledged movements where some ended up with expected outcomes and others failed. But the most important point that is to be noted is the use of social media in an objective way can bring desired outcomes.
Following these trends in cyber activism a group of IT professionals and Researchers in Governance, Public Policy and Development sector have developed a project of E-governance named as uElect Pakistan. It is an endeavor to use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for the exchange of communication between citizens in individual capacity as well as in organized social and political associations like political parties, civil society, communities etc.
As electoral process is the only key to a substantial and righteous change in Pakistan, uElect Pakistan attempts to play a vital role in enhancing the importance of this whole process under the principles of good governance with the use of best possibly available modern technology.
uElect Pakistan is meant to work in three phases. First and the most important phase has already begun. This is the pre-election phase where a number of political parties with different agendum are already in the ground to contest for the upcoming elections. uElect Pakistan will get the future agenda of these parties through the rally speeches, press-releases and news reports from Pakistani media and make it public . Being an independent body uElect will simply put forward the plans of the leadership of these parties categorizing it into the indicators of good governance. In brief these indicators will include Provision of Fundamental Rights, Education, Health, Justice, Religious Freedom, Tolerance, Equality,Democracy, primacy of Rule of Law, Employment, Accountability and Transparency, Rights for Women and Minorities, National Integration, Grass root level development, a viable Economic and Public Policy, deferent and equivalent Foreign policy etc.
The first phase will also include the dissection and critical analysis of manifestos of all the contesting political parties in comparison with the aforementioned indicators of good governance.
Hence, this will pave a path for the public to make their choice in voting for that particular party which vows to fulfill their needs and caters their problems.
The second phase of uElect is during the elections. It is to ensure the free and fair status if the elections once again through the party reports of polling , reports from media and uElect Pakistan’s own reporters from all over the Country. uElect Pakistan will attempt earnestly to avoid rigging and fraudulent manipulation of polling.
The third phase of uElect will be after the electoral process completes. It will initially work as a reminder for the elected parties and their candidates of their promises with the public. It will hold them accountable to the public in case of their failure in turning their vows into policies.
In short uElect Pakistan is a newer form of social media that will initially work as an independent and neutral campaign for the best parties to come forward through the electoral process and bring about the long desired substantial and righteous change through viable options. Later it will hold the leadership accountable to the public with a comparison of their pre-election vows and post-election performance and policy. By creating a healthy debate among various stakeholders, Uelect will ensure the party politics is based on policy matters and not mere rhetoric and blame games. Specific technology tools and application and partnership with likeminded individuals and organizations, Uelect will generate a broader policy paradigm and guiding principles for all political stakeholders.
Once all the basic data from various sources are collected, the Uelect, as an independent organization will be open for academia, researchers, think tanks, media personals, and other national and international organizations working for sustainable democracy and governance.