In the post World War II era, many countries formerly led by oppressive regimes have given way to broader versions of democracy. The latest case is that of Tunisia escaping the clenches of an authoritarian leader who was essentially a dictator operating under the guise of a completely democratic system. With the downfall of the leader, preceded by the jailing of several reporters who had either attempted or been successful in portraying the “voting” as a sham, one wonders how much influence the news media, (which is largely internet based these days) truly holds.
Of course, where democracy is concerned, it never helps to stage an election in which, of the four total candidates, two actually suggest that everyone vote for their choice—the third candidate. What’s of even more concern is that this message was able to be portrayed to the outside world via social media outlets.
Never before has a regime change occurred during an era in which social media is as widespread as it is today. And the smallest things, unexpected things, are happening inside of those media outlets that point to the great sense of relief suddenly flooding the entire nation’s citizenry. The national flag is being shown in many people’s image window on Facebook as they display their proud happiness that democracy has finally, truly arrived in their country. International messages are being sent back and forth on the web as people discuss in real time what has been occurring, from riots to celebrations.
As more freedom and power sweeps the land, online degrees will become even more prevalent, as former internet censorship disappears and free knowledge transfer and education is made available. Those who were formerly repressed (Tunisia’s record was better than the average Arab country, but still behind many nations) will be able to access education in a way that they would not have been able to without online degree programs and in turn, pursue better lives.