Political Participation and Power Relations in Egypt: The Scope of Newspapers and Social Network Sites

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Political Participation and Power Relations in Egypt: The Scope of Newspapers and Social Network Sites


  • Mostafa Shehata Department of Communication and Arts, Roskilde University, Denmark


Abstract  The political use of media in Egypt post-2011 revolution brought about drastic transformations in political activism and power structures. In the context of communication power theory, this article investigates the effects of newspapers and social network sites on political participation and political power relations. The research employed a mixed methodology, comprised of a survey of 527 Egyptian youth and semi-structured interviews of 12 political activists and journalists. The results showed a significant relationship between reading newspapers and youth’s political participation, but not between using social network sites and political participation. In addition, newspapers and social network sites were platforms for a series of conflicts and coalitions that emerged between pro- and anti-revolution actors. Despite the importance of social network sites as key tools for informing and mobilizing the public, they eventually failed to empower new political actors, and this was because old actors, supported by newspapers and other mainstream media, managed to obstruct the new actors’ progress.


Keywords  communication power; Egyptian newspapers; Egyptian political actors; mediatization of politics; political participation; politicizing newspapers; power relations; social network sites


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17645/mac.v5i2.898