From Social Networking to Activism: The Role of Social Media in the Free West Papua Campaign
Pacific Studies Journal, Vol. 39, Issue 3, pp. 255-280
26 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2017
Date Written: December 31, 2016
Social Media applications such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have exponentially increased in popularity and outreach. They have come to play an integral role in social networking, business marketing, and more recently, as a political tool. Social Media in politics is now being utilized in a multifaceted manner for political campaigning, as a means for citizens to voice their political opinions and as a medium of activism. With the highly censored media present, social media has become a powerful tool in West Papua’s fight for sovereignty. Free West Papua Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and YouTube Channels have emerged, broadcasting the atrocities and human rights violations committed in West Papua. This study seeks to explore the role of social media is playing in West Papua’s continued struggle for independence from Indonesia. This exploratory research scrutinizes social media and how it has been utilized by Oceanian activists as a means of disseminating and articulating messages of West Papuan freedom. The paper also examines the potential that social media has to foster the rebirth of a bottom up approach to Pacific regionalism.
Keywords: West Papua, Online Activism, Social Media, Public Sphere, Pacific Politics
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