ICT and the Democratization Process in North Africa: Tool of Freedom or Instrument of Oppression?
Sammanfattning: The events of the Arab Spring sent a wave of revolutions, followed by the start of an early democratization process, through many countries of the Middle East and North Africa. What stood out was the extensive use of ICT, which played a crucial role during the uprisings. Tunisia, the place where it all began, is no exception to this as ICT played a key role during the uprisings of the “jasmine revolution”, whose outcome has led to the early and fragile stages of a democratization process. This thesis investigates the impact the use of ICT has had on the democratization process in Tunisia during the Arab Spring and onwards. It uses Larry Diamond’s book “Developing Democracy: Towards Consolidation” (1999) and what he outlines as the ten components of a liberal democracy as the main theoretical framework that guides the analysis. The empirical material will be analyzed within a case study design. This thesis concludes that ICT has had both positive and negative impacts on Tunisia’s democratization process. However, the positive impacts seem to largely outweigh the negative ones thus far and it could be speculated that ICT will continue being a tool that is mostly conducive towards democracy.
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