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Citizenship, media and activism in Turkey during Gezi Park protests

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Research on alternative media indicates the blurring of boundaries between users and producers, thereby increasing the capacity of the ordinary citizens and activists to participate in the production of news and content. During the Gezi Park events in 2013, the news of police brutality spread quickly on social media whilst the mainstream media looked the other way. Thousands of protestors used social media networks to disseminate information, create awareness about police interventions, direct protestors to safe zones and medical help points, as well as mobilize people to support Gezi Park resistance. This article explores the ways in which Twitter as a social platform empowers citizens in democratic participation. It focuses on the motivations of citizens for their involvement in news and content provision during the protests as an act of democratic citizenship and participation. The data reviewed are drawn from an original research project in which a quantitatively driven social network analysis (Twitter) is used to identify the most frequent users who tweeted during Gezi protests and later include these users in qualitative in-depth interviews.
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Keywords: Gezi Park protests; Turkey; activism; citizen journalism; democratic participation; social media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Kadir Has University

Publication date: November 1, 2017

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