Internet is double-edged sword in Arab revolts: Amnesty

AFP, May 13, 2011

London:  Dictators in the Arab world could crush uprisings against their iron-fisted rule using the same social media that have been credited with boosting the revolts, Amnesty warned in a new report.

In its annual analysis of the world’s human rights, Amnesty International praised the role of websites such as Twitter and Facebook in fomenting the biggest revolt against repressive regimes since the end of the Cold War.

But the London-based rights group cautioned that social networking sites which had helped cyberactivists to outmanoeuvre the authorities in successful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt were a double-edged sword.

“There is no question that social media played a very important role in allowing people to get together,” Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty told AFP.
“There is no doubt that there is a massive opening up of space through the Internet — but we have to remember all the time that this also gives an opportunity for governments to crack down on people.” Continue reading