Keeping up the Cyber Fight
“We must continue the fight” for cyber-activist Lina Ben Mhenni, EPITA received March 3, new technologies and social networks have played a decisive role in the Tunisian revolution.
In her speech to students at EPITA on March 3, in the presence of the journalist and editor of the journal Strategic Forecasting, Nicolas Arpagian, the Tunisian cyber-activist Lina Ben Mhenni reversed a revolution in which new technologies have played a decisive role. “When the dispute began to dawn, when the revolt of the Gafsa mining region in early 2008, social networks and blogs were not really well known or used by opponents as a means of action to communicate” emphasized the blogger.
Mobilization by Blogs & Social Networks
For Lina Ben Mhenni, “if the Tunisian revolution began in the street, May 22, 2010, when the Tunisian cyber-activists have issued a first call for protests, represented a turning point. Social networks and blogs started to play a role not only reporting but also awareness and mobilization. This situation is ironic because Internet Education, which increased our influence among the people, was made under Ben Ali, who had encouraged the use of new technologies with its “One Computer per Family” program.” The authorities then arranged to meet the threat. “Internet has gradually been considered a danger to halt priority, says Miss Ben Mhenni. The new media has gradually transformed into a battlefield: censorship of blogs cyber-activist also exerted against their profiles social networks, searches, lynchings, arrests of dissidents, exploitation of some of them, responsible for discrediting others through false rumors.”
Internet Turned Into a Battlefield
In response to this repression, cyber-activists have also used media strategies. “We issued a statement falsified the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT) calling for demonstrations, storytelling was used during the self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi which catalyzed the revolution in December 2010,” recognizes Lina Ben Mhenni. On 2 January 2011, their action is supported by the Anonymous, “hacktivists” international activist for free speech on the internet, attacking government websites.
After the departure of Ben Ali, 14 January 2011, the Islamists came to power in October, the news increased the difficulties for cyber-activism. “While the revolution was confiscated by the Islamists, the risk for cyber-activists today is growing because the ruling majority is less concerned with image problems than was the Ben Ali regime”, says the blogger. “Faced with new restrictions, dissidents must become more organized and gather evidence against the regime. The departure of Ben Ali was a starting point and we must continue the fight. “ After this intervention, the debate continued with students of EPITA around some refreshments.