Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

What's behind Germany's steep drop in juvenile crime?

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: Duck Duck Grey Duck, Femi Kuti, Starchild & the New Romantic

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Greek Cypriot negotiator: 'We stand a chance' of reunifying Cyprus

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Towards a European army? The future of defence for the EU

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Photographer Pete Souza shares his ‘portrait’ of Obama

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Syria's White Helmets: 'We had 400 casualties last week'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Donald Trump Jr.'s India visit raises eyebrows

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Weaving with water hyacinths, the archives of Syria's war, and more

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

How a Sudanese man saved his kidnapped brothers in Libya, and more

Read more

#TECH 24

We explore the digital revolution and check out the latest technological trends. Every Saturday at 2.15 pm Paris time. Or you can catch it online from Friday.

Latest update : 2011-02-28

TECH 24: The Internet, the Libyan uprising, hip-hop, and the Arab world

In this edition of TECH 24, hosts Rebecca Bowring and Eric Olander explore the role the internet is playing in the Libyan uprising. Also, every revolution has a soundtrack and this one is set to a hip-hop beat. Finally, the verdict on the movie industry's latest digital efforts to get you to actually pay for their content.

In sharp contrast to the internet-fueled uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, the current turmoil in Libya is considerably more 'analog.'  Even before anti-government rebels took to the streets to rally against President Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan government imposed far stricter control over its communications networks than in its North African neighbours. Access to Arab-language satellite channels is regularly jammed.

The country is far less communications savvy than others struck by this latest wind of defiance. Internet penetration is much lower than its neighbours and control of the country's major telecom operators was in the firm grip of the president's eldest son, Muhammed Gaddafi.  

Furthermore, when the anti-government demonstrations first began in eastern Libya, there were no foreign correspondents from any international media reporting from inside the country. However, in both Egypt and Tunisia, networks like FRANCE 24, Al Jazeera and others were on the ground in both countries.

The Dictator's Dilemma

The Libyan leader, like his counterparts across North Africa, has been confronted with a phenomenon known as the "Dictator's Dilemma." Twice so far, Tripoli followed Egypt's precedent and shut down access to the internet and phone communcations.

However, it did not take long before the networks were back up again, suggesting that there may be more at play here than just the leadership's wish to appease public opinion. 

Instead, a growing number of academics believe that autocratic families like those of Gaddafi, Ben Ali and Mubarak, have much of their personal fortunes tied up in companies that depend on the same information networks that are being used to subvert their authority.

Their dilemma: keep the networks on to preserve their financial interests while at the same time risk having those same digital technologies used to help overthrow their regimes.

The Soundtrack of a Revolution

With over 50 percent of the population across North Africa under the age of 30, this demographic bulge is far more comfortable assimilating digital technology into their daily lives than that of their parents' generation.

It is not just the text, images and videos that have been the staples of the 24-hour news coverage of the past few weeks. Music, specifically hip-hop, is also serving as a vital communications channel among the under-30s that have, to a large extent, gone unnoticed by much of the international news media.

The anger, frustrations and passions that have fueled the rage on the streets are all central themes of Arabic-language rap and hip-hop. Just as emails and text messages are exchanged across the network, so are the music files that have become the soundtrack of these recent uprisings.

 

 

 

 

 

By Eric Olander

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2018-02-02 music

Coming ever closer to 'touching' sound

Imagine being able to receive data 400 times faster and perform computations at an even greater speed. It's now a reality thanks to light-shaping technologies developed by two...

Read more

2018-02-09 astronomy

Cleaning up the universe of its space junk

This week, we take a look at how space junk can be cleaned up. Also, it's no bigger than three apples stacked on top of each other, yet it's set to unveil many secrets about...

Read more

2018-02-02 technology

How smart cities are becoming interactive platforms

This week on Tech 24, we speak to Guillaume Aurine, the Product Marketing Director of Salesforce. He tells us how much the internet of things is set to transform urban areas,...

Read more

2018-01-19 technology

Will artificial intelligence ever surpass the human brain?

Do you know the difference between "narrow" and "general" artificial intelligence? In this edition, Dhananjay Khadilkar sheds light on where AI stands and how far scientists are...

Read more

2018-01-12 technology

2018, the year of artificial intelligence?

The CES tech show has just wrapped up in Las Vegas, unveiling the latest trends in consumer electronics. It looks like 2018 will be the year of artificial intelligence, with...

Read more