Twitter, effective protest tool in Venezuela


Rika Kumar, Features Editor

Twitter and other social networking sites are the best way for young people to organize protests and demonstrations, giving them the right to be furious when the government attempts to silence this voice.

The most recent example of censoring social media is the uprising in Venezuela.

Over the past week, Venezuelan citizens have taken to Twitter to express anger towards president Nicolas Maduro’s economic policies.

Using hash tags to rapidly spread ideas and organize protests, citizens took to the web and streets to protest the dismal economic state of their country.

No matter the topic, Twitter provides users a place to find out what like-minded people are saying, doing and thinking.

Political activism is easier when everybody who shares your ideas is an Internet message away.

Social media has helped global citizens protest against the anti-gay Russian laws during the Sochi Olympics, as well as during the Arab Spring activism in 2012.

Twitter can be a legitimate news source, especially during times of mass censorship as exemplified by the events in Venezuela, because of real-time headlines from all kinds of people, according to The Wallstreet Journal.

To counter the protests the Venezuelan government resorted to censorship.

Last week the government blocked twitter throughout the country.

But blocking twitter, caused an even bigger outbreak of riots and protesting, leading to the deaths of many university students who use Twitter to advocate their cause.

The Venezuelan government imposes threats, fines, manipulation and administrative harassment regarding freedom in news media, according to the Newseum website.

The corruption leads to increases in censorship.

However, the constitution of Venezuela clearly states, “Everyone has the right to express freely his or her thoughts, ideas or opinions orally, in writing or by any other form of expression…and no censorship shall be established.”

Citizens should be furious when their right to free speech is infringed upon, especially when they are actively exercising their rights in an attempt to improve their lives.

Censorship is not an effective tactic.

Instead of using the Internet to stage peaceful protests and demonstrations, protestors were forced to resort to disorganized violence to try and make their point, according to The Atlantic Monthly.

This violence left 11 dead.

The blame falls on the government. If the government had not blocked Twitter the violence would not have been necessary.

Revoking anyone’s right to speak their mind, especially during a protest involving economic matters, will result in an even angrier uproar.