Abstract

In recent years, the international community has seen the Internet ascend to prominence in transforming the way people communicate, organize, and achieve common goals. From an International Relations perspective, do we see the Internet as a tool used for principled good or as a weapon for the wicked? This study examines the implications of Internet repression on the emergence of human rights issues held dear by transnational advocacy networks (TAN) through a comparative case study of Egypt and Syria and a content analysis of Newsweek articles from 1980-2012. This study hypothesized lower levels of Internet repression would lead to greater success of human rights issue emergence. Consequently, the inverse is expected for higher levels of Internet repression. Using the number of Newsweek articles per country-year as a gauge of international discussion, issue emergence was indirectly measured. Ultimately, within the limits of this study the hypothesis is proven correct. Egypt, with lower levels of Internet repression than Syria, had a greater number of articles published regarding human rights abuses, whereas Syria had fewer. Thus, the greater Internet freedom a country has, the more success human rights issues have galvanizing on the international stage, ultimately gaining the attention of the relevant TANs. If identical or similar results are found in future tests of this nature, the implications of this information could be vast. Such implications could include helping preempt human rights abuses by incorporating information and communication technologies such as the Internet into aid projects in developing nations. Furthermore, TANs could use the Internet as a tool to expand their capabilities in promoting and campaigning for issues, leading to potentially huge gains in the fight for human rights across the world.

Advisor

N'Diaye, Boubacar

Department

International Relations

Disciplines

Communication | Comparative Politics

Publication Date

2013

Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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© Copyright 2013 Kurt Eicher