Syrian activists are experts on using social media for advocacy and information. Since the beginning of the revolution two years ago, they’ve been Facebooking, Tweeting, and YouTubing. They’re working to let the world know what’s happening and why they believe in a free Syria. Many activists have had to become savvy internet technicians to circumvent the Assad regime’s censorship and keep communications open with other activists. They have developed processes of confirming information in videos and photos of the revolution as they seek to fill in for traditional media outlets that have been blocked from sending reporters into Syria. These citizen journalists and internet activists have used the internet and social media to shape and document the Syrian revolution in ways never seen before during a popular uprising.
This Hangout will feature activists from the Syrian American Council’s far-reaching network discussing their ideas and experiences in using internet technologies for advocacy with journalism and communications students from Washington, D.C. Syria is different from any other case of using internet for activism in a revolution. It provides valuable lessons for anyone interested in the effects of technology on social movements and conflicts.
Hangout discussion topics will include:
• Why activists began using the internet for advocacy
• Reasons they chose specific mediums
• How they decide on and carry through with their message
• Censorship by the regime and tactics to overcome it
• Process of confirming citizen journalists’ content
If The Syrian American Council wins the Google Hangout contest, SAC plans donate the prize money as aid to liberated areas of Syria, which are desperate for humanitarian assistance.
Moderator: Yisser Bittar, Government Relations and Advocacy Assistant at The Syrian American Council and Syrian-American activist who recently returned from a trip to Syria
Speakers: Osama, a Syrian activist from Idlib, Syria, who has been active on social media since the beginning of the revolution
Kenan Rahmani, Syrian-American activist and Notre Dame University law student from Indiana
Delaney Chambers, Political Communication M.A. student at American University in Washington D.C., who studied Arabic and political thought as an undergraduate and was in Syria at the beginning of the Arab Spring. As a part of the Middle East Voices team at Voice of America, she carried out interviews with Syrian activists and civilians during the revolution last year.
About The Syrian American Council:
Founded in 2005 in Burr Ridge Illinois, the Syrian American Council is the largest Syrian-American community organization in the United States. It serves to amplify the voice of the Syrian-American Community. SAC includes members from all segments of Syrian society, and has 19 chapters nationwide with thousands of members. It is an organization devoted to community organizing, media outreach, awareness-raising, youth empowerment, advocacy, and support for Syrians seeking to build a free and democratic Syria.