The influence of social media on democracy in Côte d’Ivoire

The influence of social media on democracy in Côte d’Ivoire

Ivorians, just like their counterparts in several African countries are increasingly using the various social media channels to communicate, to be informed and to make demands on social and political issues. These virtual spaces are becoming powerful tools for popular protest, promoting a new form of citizenship and participation in political action. Thanks to these tools, the expression of public opinion have acquired an unprecedented political force that has led to a disruption of a power balance.

The popular protest materialised on social media most often compels the government to act.  However, if social media make it possible to shift position lines, in a generalised social context of discontent, they can also be stirrers of collective fears, laying the foundations for all kinds of abuses, and instead of contradictory debates based on objective analyses, we witness a recurrence of abusive comments in discussions.

This paper presents the contribution of social media in strengthening democracy in Côte d’Ivoire, as well as the challenges.  As a matter of fact, much remains to be done to achieve a significant change that will transform the current power relations. While the author acknowledges the positive impact of social media, she argues that politics is not limited to technology. Social media is only a tool for a cause. Considering this fact, the virtual struggle for democracy would benefit from materialising, alongside communities, both urban and rural, in order to counter any attempt by the government to censor them.

 

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