GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
Social Media and the Changing Context of Politics in the UAE
Paper Proposal Text :
Both “top-down” and “bottom up” approaches to social media in the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates will be explored. The UAE has one of the world’s highest penetrations of smart phone use – 62 percent in 2013, and projected to reach 71 percent, or 3.75 million by 2016, according to a survey by Google. The UAE has one of the world’s largest participation rates in social media, with more than 3.5 million Facebook users, 69% male and 31% female, as of mid-2013. Government leaders have taken an aggressive approach to using social media, with hundreds of thousands of followers on Facebook and Twitter, holding regular social media symposia for government agencies and launching campaigns to make government more interactive and responsive to UAE residents. At the same time, hundreds of UAE citizens and residents have launched charitable and volunteer campaigns using social media with tangible results, which we will document. We will also report on use of social media by political dissidents, bloggers, satirists, videographer bystanders to crime, and the serious legal problems they have encountered, including jail time. We will examine the UAE’s broad cyber-crime law as well as the broad definition of defamation, and how these laws have been applied in specific cases.

Mr. Buie teaches Media Law and Social Media courses at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, UAE.