Traditional media refers to the older methods of communication that though not out dated, are slowly being overtaken by events with the coming of the social media. Traditional media that is also known as industrial media involves the use of such avenues as television, film, radio and print to pass information. Print may comprise of such thing as books, newspapers, magazines and journals among others. Alternatively, industrial media can also be described as any media that existed before the coming of the new age media which is the internet.
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As opposed to the social media, traditional media is mainly a one-way mode of information whereby the receiver of the information can do little about the information they receive. Experts will at times refer informally to it as ‘spoon-fed’ information sources.
In the Egyptian revolution, the local traditional media of the country had tried their level best to keep the sensitive information from the citizens. This is largely because most of these media houses were state owned or owned by the friend of the high and mighty in the Hosni Mubarak’s government. The crisis coverage by the local media was wanting and it only took the likes of international media houses like the American Cable News Network (CNN) and Al-Jazeera to try to report the situation as it occurred on the ground.
The Egyptian revolution of 2011 saw the ousting of the then sitting President Hosni Mubarak his Prime ministers Shafik and Nazif together with his allegedly corrupt government that commenced on the twenty fifth of January 2011. The people of Egypt were protesting against the government because of, among other things, the rising crime rates, police brutality, and low minimum wages, and widespread corruption, high number of unemployed people as well as inflation. The revolution was fuelled further by influence of similar uprisings in the nearby country Tunisia.
Civil resistance, riots, demonstrations and online activism among others characterized the revolution. Although intended to be peaceful in nature did not come without resistance from the authorities and a clash between the rioters and the police that led to the death of eight hundred and forty six people and injury of six thousand others in Cairo and other cities around the country. The riots led to Cairo being referred to as a “war zone” and saw a curfew imposed a curfew that the protestors took no note of and neither did the authorities act to enforce it.
The social networks, specifically Twitter and Facebook played a fundamental role in the Egyptian revolution. The fact that Egypt has the highest number of unemployed college graduates in Africa who are technologically savvy coupled with low opinion for the traditional media, most of which is state owned led to preference of the social networks Twitter and Facebook as the main avenues of communication during the Egyptian revolution.
Though others may argue that Facebook and Twitter may have caused the revolution, the truth is that they did not. The part played by these two social networks was that of accelerating the already on-going process by helping in organising the revolutionaries and at the same time transmit their messages to the world in a bid to attract the support of the international community. The social media also played a major part in the reporting that was done by Western media houses and media houses elsewhere across the world. For instance, videos from You Tube were available for everybody interested in the same across the world.
The debut pro- revolution page on Facebook was started by a young Google executive called Woel Ghonim and was known as the Egyptian Upheaval, “Revolution 2.0.” Ghonim has since been translated into a symbol of Egyptian pro-democracy revolution.