The Arab countries are typically described as lacking democratic traditions, freedom of the press, human rights and civil liberties. The utilization of social media for political purposes became crucial to the widespread expression of pent-up social discontent that precipitated the Arab Spring. Uploaded videos, photos, and Twitter feeds served to outrage people in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria. This volatile combination of a young population, authoritarian rule, corruption and poverty is prompting youth to spearhead political demonstrations and the demand for regime change.

Note on the Author

Jabbar Al-Obaidi is Professor in the Department of Media Studies and Communication Technologies, and Director of the Center for Middle East Studies.