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U.N. examines media in Arab Spring

July 14, 2011 at 12:04 PM
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BUDAPEST, Hungary, July 14 (UPI) -- Peace in the Middle East is no longer a matter for politicians but involves journalists and social media, a U.N. communications official said from Hungary.

Observers of the so-called Arab Spring are crediting social networking Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter with mobilizing the masses.

Evgeny Morozov, a contributing editor for Foreign Policy magazine who examines the political effects of the Internet, wrote in The Guardian newspaper in London in March that it was too early to give credit to social media.

"One reason we keep talking about the role of Twitter and Facebook is that the immediate aftermath of the Middle Eastern spring has left us so little else to talk about," he writes. "(Thorough) political analysis of the causes of these revolutions won't be available for a few years."

Kiyo Akasaka U.N. undersecretary for communications and public information, called on the media to examine what role, if any, they can play in ushering in peace in the Middle East.

Akasaka said during two-day talks in Budapest that social media is having a transforming effect on societies.

"It is important to remember that peace is not something that politicians alone can create," he said in a statement. "Journalists and artists have a critical role."

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