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From social networking to activism: the role of social media in the Free West Papua campaign


Titifanue, J and Tarai, J and Kant, R and Finau, G, From social networking to activism: the role of social media in the Free West Papua campaign, Pacific Studies, 39, (3) pp. 255-280. ISSN 0275-3596 (2016) [Refereed Article]

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West Papua has one of the most repressive media environments in the world with a long history of media censorship and banning of foreign journalists, and only recently has this policy been somewhat relaxed. The tight media restrictions has led to the increasing use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter by West Papuan activists who broadcast the atrocities and human rights violations committed in West Papua. Driven by ICT developments, Pacific Islanders are increasingly "switching on" and leveraging social media as a political tool. Digital tools such as hashtags are being used to organize, share and disseminate stories and Free West Papuan messages. This has garnered support from all over the world and created "digital villages" of Free West Papuan activists. The Free West Papuan campaign has received an unprecedented level of global attention with prominent politicians such as PNG’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neil, coming out in support of West Papua with reference to graphic images posted on social media. This paper illustrates how social media is ushering in a new wave of Pacific activism and also fostering the rebirth of bottom-up regionalism in the Pacific using the case of the Free West Papua Movement.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:social media, activism, West Papua
Research Division:Creative Arts and Writing
Research Group:Screen and digital media
Research Field:Screen and digital media not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Information and Communication Services
Objective Group:Media services
Objective Field:Media services not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Finau, G (Dr Glenn Finau)
ID Code:139841
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:Accounting
Deposited On:2020-07-07
Last Modified:2021-07-29

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