Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 7

Political Communication Related Abstracts

7 Social Media: The Major Trigger of Online and Offline Political Activism

Authors: Tang Mui Joo, Chan Eang Teng

Abstract:

With the viral factor on social media, the sense of persuasion is generated by repetition and popularity. When users’ interest is captured, political awareness increases to spark political enthusiasm, but, the level of user’s political participation and political attitude of those active users is still questionable. An online survey on 250 youth and in-depth interview on two politicians are conducted to answer the main question in this paper. The result shows that Facebook significantly increases political awareness among youths. Social media may not be the major trigger to political activism among youths as most respondents opined that they would still vote without Facebook. Other factors could be political campaigning, political climate, age, peer pressure or others. Finding also shows that majority of respondents did not participate in online political debates or political groups. Many also wondered if the social media was the main power switch that triggers the political influx among young voters. The research finding is significant to understand how the new media, Facebook, has reshaped the political landscape in Malaysia, creating the Social Media Election that changed the rules of the political game. However, research finding does not support the ideal notion that the social media is the major trigger to youth’s political activism. This research outcome has exposed the flaws of the Social Media Election. It has revealed the less optimistic side of youth political activism. Unfortunately, results fall short of the idealistic belief that the social media have given rise to political activism among youths in the 13th General Election in Malaysia. The research outcome also highlights an important lesson for the democratic discourse of Malaysia which is making informed and educated decisions takes more commitment, proactive and objective attitude.

Keywords: Democracy, Social Media, Political Communication, Political participation, political activism

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6 Political Communication in Twitter Interactions between Government, News Media and Citizens in Mexico

Authors: Jorge Cortés, Alejandra Martínez, Carlos Pérez, Anaid Simón

Abstract:

The presence of government, news media, and general citizenry in social media allows considering interactions between them as a form of political communication (i.e. the public exchange of contradictory discourses about politics). Twitter’s asymmetrical following model (users can follow, mention or reply to other users that do not follow them) could foster alternative democratic practices and have an impact on Mexican political culture, which has been marked by a lack of direct communication channels between these actors. The research aim is to assess Twitter’s role in political communication practices through the analysis of interaction dynamics between government, news media, and citizens by extracting and visualizing data from Twitter’s API to observe general behavior patterns. The hypothesis is that regardless the fact that Twitter’s features enable direct and horizontal interactions between actors, users repeat traditional dynamics of interaction, without taking full advantage of the possibilities of this medium. Through an interdisciplinary team including Communication Strategies, Information Design, and Interaction Systems, the activity on Twitter generated by the controversy over the presence of Uber in Mexico City was analysed; an issue of public interest, involving aspects such as public opinion, economic interests and a legal dimension. This research includes techniques from social network analysis (SNA), a methodological approach focused on the comprehension of the relationships between actors through the visual representation and measurement of network characteristics. The analysis of the Uber event comprised data extraction, data categorization, corpus construction, corpus visualization and analysis. On the recovery stage TAGS, a Google Sheet template, was used to extract tweets that included the hashtags #UberSeQueda and #UberSeVa, posts containing the string Uber and tweets directed to @uber_mx. Using scripts written in Python, the data was filtered, discarding tweets with no interaction (replies, retweets or mentions) and locations outside of México. Considerations regarding bots and the omission of anecdotal posts were also taken into account. The utility of graphs to observe interactions of political communication in general was confirmed by the analysis of visualizations generated with programs such as Gephi and NodeXL. However, some aspects require improvements to obtain more useful visual representations for this type of research. For example, link¬crossings complicates following the direction of an interaction forcing users to manipulate the graph to see it clearly. It was concluded that some practices prevalent in political communication in Mexico are replicated in Twitter. Media actors tend to group together instead of interact with others. The political system tends to tweet as an advertising strategy rather than to generate dialogue. However, some actors were identified as bridges establishing communication between the three spheres, generating a more democratic exercise and taking advantage of Twitter’s possibilities. Although interactions in Twitter could become an alternative to political communication, this potential depends on the intentions of the participants and to what extent they are aiming for collaborative and direct communications. Further research is needed to get a deeper understanding on the political behavior of Twitter users and the possibilities of SNA for its analysis.

Keywords: Interaction, Political Communication, Social Network Analysis, Twitter

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5 New Media and the Personal Vote in General Elections: A Comparison of Constituency Level Candidates in the United Kingdom and Japan

Authors: Sean Vincent

Abstract:

Within the academic community, there is a consensus that political parties in established liberal democracies are facing a myriad of organisational challenges as a result of falling membership, weakening links to grass-roots support and rising voter apathy. During the same period of party decline and growing public disengagement political parties have become increasingly professionalised. The professionalisation of political parties owes much to changes in technology, with television becoming the dominant medium for political communication. In recent years, however, it has become clear that a new medium of communication is becoming utilised by political parties and candidates – New Media. New Media, a term hard to define but related to internet based communication, offers a potential revolution in political communication. It can be utilised by anyone with access to the internet and its most widely used platforms of communication such as Facebook and Twitter, are free to use. The advent of Web 2.0 has dramatically changed what can be done with the Internet. Websites now allow candidates at the constituency level to fundraise, organise and set out personalised policies. Social media allows them to communicate with supporters and potential voters practically cost-free. As such candidate dependency on the national party for resources and image now lies open to debate. Arguing that greater candidate independence may be a natural next step in light of the contemporary challenges faced by parties, this paper examines how New Media is being used by candidates at the constituency level to increase their personal vote. The paper will present findings from research carried out during two elections – the Japanese Lower House election of 2014 and the UK general election of 2015. During these elections a sample of candidates, totalling 150 candidates, from the three biggest parties in each country were selected and their new media output, specifically candidate websites, Twitter and Facebook output subjected to content analysis. The analysis examines how candidates are using new media to both become more functionally, through fundraising and volunteer mobilisation and politically, through the promotion of personal/local policies, independent from the national party. In order to validate the results of content analysis this paper will also present evidence from interviews carried out with 17 candidates that stood in the 2014 Japanese Lower House election or 2015 UK general election. With a combination of statistical analysis and interviews, several conclusions can be made about the use of New Media at constituency level. The findings show not just a clear difference in the way candidates from each country are using New Media but also differences within countries based upon the particular circumstances of each constituency. While it has not yet replaced traditional methods of fundraising and activist mobilisation, New Media is also becoming increasingly important in campaign organisation and the general consensus amongst candidates is that its importance will continue to grow along as politics in both countries becomes more diffuse.

Keywords: New Media, Political Communication, elections, political campaigns

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4 Metaphorical Devices in Political Cartoons with Reference to Political Confrontation in Pakistan after Panama Leaks

Authors: Ayesha Ashfaq, Muhammad Ajmal Ashfaq

Abstract:

It has been assumed that metaphorical and symbolic contests are waged with metaphors, captions, and signs in political cartoons that play a significant role in image construction of political actors, situations or events in the political arena. This paper is an effort to explore the metaphorical devices in political cartoons related to the political confrontation in Pakistan between the ruling party Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) and opposition parties especially after Panama leaks. For this purpose, political cartoons sketched by five renowned political cartoonists on the basis of their belongings to the most highly circulated mainstream English newspapers of Pakistan and their professional experiences in their genre, were selected. The cartoons were analyzed through the Barthes’s model of Semiotics under the umbrella of the first level of agenda setting theory ‘framing’. It was observed that metaphorical devices in political cartoons are one of the key weapons of cartoonists’ armory. These devices are used to attack the candidates and contribute to the image and character building. It was found that all the selected political cartoonists used different forms of metaphors including situational metaphors and embodying metaphors. Not only the physical stature but also the debates and their activities were depicted metaphorically in the cartoons that create the scenario of comparison between the cartoons and their real political confrontation. It was examined that both forms of metaphors shed light on cartoonist’s perception and newspaper’s policy about political candidates, political parties and particular events. In addition, it was found that zoomorphic metaphors and metaphors of diminishments were also predominantly used to depict the conflict between two said political actors.

Keywords: Political Communication, Metaphor, political cartoons, Panama leaks

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3 The Mediatization of Political Communication in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Cases of Cameroon and Ghana in a Comparative Perspective

Authors: Christian Nounkeu Tatchou

Abstract:

The concept of mediatization of politics describes changes with regards to media and politics, as the political sphere is increasingly shaped by the media and conforms to its logic. The mediatization of politics in established democracies of the West has been the object of several researches. However, there is an overwhelming paucity of literature on this reconfiguration of the political life around the media in the emerging democracies of the Sub-Saharan Africa. A majority of Sub-Saharan countries have been progressively experiencing the modernization of their societies and significant developments with respect to political communication since the early 1990s. This has been facilitated by factors such as the adoption of democratic reforms, the development of mass media, the advent of social media and the rapid spread of new information and communication technologies. Thus, this paper investigates the extent to which political communication in Sub-Saharan Africa is mediatized, especially with regards to the social media. Through in-depths interviews with twenty political leaders and political observers in Cameroon and Ghana, this article argues that the social media has become the main arena of voters’ mobilization and political participation in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, a greater extent of freedom for political activism on social media is observed in the new democracy of Ghana, unlike in the enduring authoritarian political system of Cameroon where the government attempts to control the use and content of political discourse on social media.

Keywords: Social Media, Political Communication, Sub-Saharan Africa, mediatization

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2 Islamic Extremist Groups' Usage of Populism in Social Media to Radicalize Muslim Migrants in Europe

Authors: Muhammad Irfan

Abstract:

The rise of radicalization within Islam has spawned a new era of global terror. The battlefield Successes of ISIS and the Taliban are fuelled by an ideological war waged, largely and successfully, in the media arena. This research will examine how Islamic extremist groups are using media modalities and populist narratives to influence migrant Muslim populations in Europe towards extremism. In 2014, ISIS shocked the world in exporting horrifically graphic forms of violence on social media. Their Muslim support base was largely disgusted and reviled. In response, they reconfigured their narrative by introducing populist 'hooks', astutely portraying the Muslim populous as oppressed and exploited by unjust, corrupt autocratic regimes and Western power structures. Within this crucible of real and perceived oppression, hundreds of thousands of the most desperate, vulnerable and abused migrants left their homelands, risking their lives in the hope of finding peace, justice, and prosperity in Europe. Instead, many encountered social stigmatization, detention and/or discrimination for being illegal migrants, for lacking resources and for simply being Muslim. This research will examine how Islamic extremist groups are exploiting the disenfranchisement of these migrant populations and using populist messaging on social media to influence them towards violent extremism. ISIS, in particular, formulates specific encoded messages for newly-arriving Muslims in Europe, preying upon their vulnerability. Violence is posited, as a populist response, to the tyranny of European oppression. This research will analyze the factors and indicators which propel Muslim migrants along the spectrum from resilience to violence extremism. Expected outcomes are identification of factors which influence vulnerability towards violent extremism; an early-warning detection framework; predictive analysis models; and de-radicalization frameworks. This research will provide valuable tools (practical and policy level) for European governments, security stakeholders, communities, policy-makers, and educators; it is anticipated to contribute to a de-escalation of Islamic extremism globally.

Keywords: Social Media, Islam, Terrorism, Political Communication, Refugees, Models, Europe, Extremism, migrants, Jihad, Radicalization, Islamic Extremism, Strategic Communication, Populism, predictive analysis, Taliban, Shariah, ISIS, de-radicalization, global terror, early warning detection, populist narratives

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1 The Flashnews as a Commercial Session of Political Marketing: The Content Analysis of the Embedded Political Narratives in Non-Political Media Products

Authors: Zsolt Szabolcsi

Abstract:

Political communication in Hungary has undergone a significant change in the 2010s. One element of the transformation is the Flashnews. This media product was launched in March 2015, and since then, 40-50 blocks are broadcasted daily on 5 channels. Flashnews blocks are condensed news sessions, containing the summary of political narratives. It starts with the introduction of the narrator, then, usually, four news topics are presented and, finally, the narrator concludes the block. The block lasts only one minute and, therefore, it provides a blink session into the main narratives of political communication at the time. Beyond its rapid pace, which makes its avoidance difficult is that these blocks are always in the first position in the commercial break of a non-political media product. Although it is only one minute long, its significance is high. The content of the Flashnews reflects the main governmental narratives and, therefore, the Flashnews is part of the agenda-setting capacity of political communication. It reaches media consumers who have limited knowledge and interest in politics, and their use of media products is not politically related. For this audience, the Flashnews pops up in the same way as commercials. Due to its structure and appearance, the impact of Flashnews seems to be similar to commercials embedded into the break of media products. It activates existing knowledge constructs, builds up associational links, and maintains their presence in a way that the recipient is not aware of the phenomenon. The research, firstly, aims to examine the extent to which the Flashnews and the main news narratives are identical in their content and, secondly, whether the Flashnews has a similar structure to a commercial block. These aims are realized, firstly, with the content analysis of the two news products by examining the Flashnews and the evening news during main sports events from 2016 to 2020. Secondly, the structure of the Flashnews will be analyzed in detail to make a throughout comparison with the structure of commercial blocks imbedded into the break of media products. The initial hypothesis of the research is that Flashnews is the combination of commercials, making the audience aware of brand attributes, and the dominant political narratives, which are also integrated into this structure of communication.

Keywords: Political Communication, political marketing, flashnews, political narratives

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