Traditional intermediary institutions such as parties and the legacy media are not what they once were, and they are not coming back. What are the implications of new social media and digital-campaign techniques?
Ethiopia’s ruling party has long been tightening its grip, using antiterrorism laws and harsh restrictions on media and civil society to silence voices critical of the regime.
The Arab experience shows that the same media that facilitate the toppling of dictators can make it harder to build democracy.
China is aggressively working to reshape its image, touting the “Chinese Dream” and its desire for a peaceful rise to power on the international stage.
The Kremlin is now bringing to the rest of the world the kind of propaganda and conspiracy theories it has been churning out at home.
Media, both new and traditional and both Russian and Ukrainian, played a major role in the EuroMaidan story from the very outset.
“New media” may generate a lot of buzz, but authoritarian regimes are proving disturbingly adept both at counteracting them and at using more traditional media to help themselves hang on to power.
If the PRC moves toward democracy, it is likely to be in some part due to the influence of Taiwan.
A powerful “salafist” public norm has taken root in the Arab world, becoming the main symbol of resistance to Westernization. At the same time, however, new cultural forces in the private domain are promoting a dynamic of secularization.
The Internet, mobile phones, and other forms of “liberation technology” enable citizens to express opinions, mobilize protests, and expand the horizons of freedom. Autocratic governments are also learning to master these technologies, however. Ultimately, the contest between democrats and autocrats will depend not just on technology, but on political organization and strategy.