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Arab turmoil: the role of propaganda and modern information technologies
Material posted: Publication date: 30-09-2012

Propaganda, psychological warfare has always played an important role in internal and external conflicts. However with the emergence of "information society" the value of this means of control has increased substantially. Newspapers, radio, television, the Internet has spawned a hourly rolling over the population flows of information. Reports are immediately analyzed, prepariruetsya, commented upon and disseminated in real time.

A striking example are the events happening in Arab countries. They were generated by a complex of economic, social, political, ideological reasons. But the contribution they have made and modern mass media.

A significant role in the formation of the prerequisites of mass demonstrations played a satellite TV. Telecasting was introduced into the public mind the idea of a luxurious life, which enjoys the de, the population of Western countries. The result was not long in coming. The millions-strong masses of young people have evaluated their own poverty with the prosperity of the Western States, a gap had opened up between expectations of prosperity and reality.

This is vividly illustrated by the example of Egypt, where 30 years in power President Hosni Mubarak gross domestic product (GDP), calculated at purchasing power parity, grew by 4.5 times – from 100 billion to 450 billion., that was one of the best indicators for countries of the third world [1].

Managed to reduce the gap between the incomes of rich and poor people: only in 23 States, social inequality was lower than in Egypt, and according to this indicator, Egypt was significantly ahead of countries such as USA, China or Russia[2]. There are real victories in the fight against corruption, which declined to the level of India, Greece and China, i.e. to a level much lower than, for example, in the Russian Federation[3]. But the light of the economic and social successes of Egypt was the publication in print of dry statistical data, which did not produce proper propaganda effect. As a result, the Egyptians began to dominate the mood that Hosni Mubarak is not doing anything for the country, not only oil-producing Persian Gulf States, but even Malaysia is significantly ahead in its economic development that Egypt has lost the role of leader in the Arab world and Africa[4]. The negative impact was that Hosni Mubarak and his entourage to ignore political advertising, did not understand that in today's world the image of the head of state is an item that you want to present to the masses in appropriate packaging, fulfilling all the details — facial expression, voice, costume, etc.[5].

After the start of anti-government protests in the Arab countries was arranged, according to the head of the Center "Russian-Arab dialogue" Institute of Oriental studies A. Z. Egorin, a real "e Hiroshima" for the first time carried out such a massive and effectively[6]. The propaganda campaign of the West against objectionable heads of States are built on the same model. Media (media) create an image of a bloody dictator, who heads a corrupt and based on nepotism mode and brutally trampling on the aspirations of its own people for democracy. Such a regime supports terrorism and seeks to acquire weapons of mass destruction, which he wants to use against other countries. The attempts of the police and army to prevent destabilization (that is the direct duty of any government in any country) are presented as a war of extermination of the peaceful population. To do this mode to remedy the situation, ongoing reforms are characterized as belated and intended only to mislead the world community. The crimes of the "freedom fighters" are silenced, and aerial bombardment are shown very rarely and as examples of "surgical strikes". When it comes to protests against regimes loyal to the West, the emphasis shifted – emphasis in the media placed on the limited nature of the protests and the desire of the rulers of the respective countries to implement political reforms and improve social conditions.

The main role in propaganda war is given to satellite television creates stereotypes and introducing them into the mass consciousness. The leading place in this respect belongs to "al-Jazeera" and "al-Arabiya", which in Arabic and English, designed to generate sympathy for the rebels, has become the most important source of information for Arab countries and the Western world. The effectiveness of TV is predicated upon, first, its wide distribution and, secondly, the influence of visual range, forcing the viewer a "picture", leaving no time for analysis comes. With this in mind, one can only agree with the opinion of Professor Bamberg University A. Ungerer that "if the social network has mobilized people to protest and hit the streets, these "structures", which "moved" the revolution became a satellite electronic media"[7].

As for the Internet, he has played an important role in the events, although this role should not be exaggerated. Here it is necessary first of all to keep in mind that the coverage of the world network of the Arab population is quite low in Egypt, access to personal computers has 24% of the population, and in Libya – 6%, while, for example, in the U.S. – 81%. However in the middle East and North Africa among Internet users is dominated by young people and political, business and cultural elite, i.e. the most socially active part of society.

The Internet serves a dual function. First, through informing the population about the nature of interventions and the development of the situation, allowing the protesters to counteract the propaganda of the authorities. However, this opens up opportunities for manipulation. Secondly, social media is used for organizational purposes for the dissemination of information, and where the protesters should assemble, what routes do I have to be ready for clashes with police, etc. Previously, for example, during the Islamic revolution in Iran, this information was disseminated by phone. But the Internet has accelerated the transfer of information, allowing to ensure their wide dissemination. In Tunisia, left-wing activists managed 19 January 2011 using the social networks to collect 35 thousand of his supporters, and when, on 25 January 2012 on the square in Cairo took tens of thousands of people, organizers of the March were surprised by their multiplicity[8].

But it should not be overlooked that the Internet mail only seem natural. Assessment of candidate of physical and mathematical Sciences M. V. Lysenko and chief research officer of the Institute of sociology A. A. Davydov, who analysed the information that was published on Twitter during the events in Egypt, the network was "close to the class of ordered (regular) networks, where several participants carried out active information interaction"[9], while in the opinion of the columnist of "" Alexander Efimov, the most popular "revolutionary" microblogging led journalists that is able to select and process information in a given key[10].

On the other hand, it is hardly possible to agree with the statements the media that the events in the Arab world were almost born with Internet, becoming the first twitterno revolution. Propaganda has always played an important role in the revolutionary speeches, acting as the catalyst. But a revolutionary situation arose not under the influence of propaganda, but due to objective reasons. And mass character of performances acquired in the past and also without any Internet. Just think of engulfed almost all of Europe the waves of the revolutions of 1848-1849, and 1917-1918

Misinformation is traditionally and rightly seen as an important means of psychological warfare, but now it has evolved into the most important tool. During the Arab troubles lie permeated the entire range of news – from reports of the nature of interventions and the development of the situation on the ground to stories about the fate of those or other individuals. Noteworthy that all disinformation campaigns are built on the same sample. Reports of massive peaceful demonstrations that were ruthlessly suppressed by the regime, interspersed with assertions about the triumphal entry of the "revolutionaries" in a certain city, move in their side parts and units of government forces and about the impending (or already occurred) escape "bloody dictator". At the same time demonstrations in support of the regime are portrayed as protests against government policies. Invented never existed the people over whom allegedly perpetrated severe violence (as the example was invented by the media Syrian blogers Aminu, Arrafa, which, de "kidnapped Syrian regime in Damascus")[11]. On television and the Internet apply to entire performances, for example of the capture of Tripoli by the rebels on August 21, 2011, showing cheering crowds in Green square, while the centre of the city, including Green square, until 24 August, was in the hands of government Forces, the armed people. About the effectiveness of the deployed at the beginning of events in Libya disinformation campaign is demonstrated by the adoption of Security Council resolutions 1970 and 1973 on the basis that it looks like messages are not the embassies of the countries-members of the security Council in Tripoli, "al-Jazeera" and other TV channels, who claimed that the Libyan air force strikes on peaceful demonstrations and this led to death in Cyrenaica 6 thousand civilians (actually, as it turned out, no air strikes on demonstrators was not, and the total number of victims of clashes in the East SNLD was less than 200 people)[12]. Distorting the true state of Affairs news aimed at undermining public confidence in the strength of the head of state, who is leaving his closest associates. As an example it is enough to cause spread by the media in August 2012 false allegation of fleeing to Jordan, Vice-President of Syria Farouk al-Shara'. Misinformation is used, finally, as a means of undermining the morale of the government forces. So, this objective during the battle for Tripoli pursued and partially achieved – far from reality reports of the captured sons of Moammar Gadhafi — Seif al-Islam, Muhammad and Saadi's surrender and defended the barracks of al-Aziziya Guard Dzhamahirii.


The Arab turmoil has shown, thus, the significance and high efficiency of modern information technologies. And it seems to be a very dangerous error to hope that the "electronic tsunami" will sidestep Russia. In 2008, Russia has become the object of a massive information attack, is built on the same principle as the propaganda campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999, Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011 and Syria in 2012-Enough, apparently, to remind that after Russian TV documentary about utwisi Tskhinvali by the Georgian tanks, which, according to Italian researchers J. Piezo and P. Cabras, "still freezes the blood in your veins", was shown by Western channels as a report about a Russian tank attack on Gori[13].

Unfortunately, not all Russian media were up in connection with current events in the Arab world. One of the eyewitnesses in Libya in 2011 focused on the pursuit of "cheap sensationalism" of the Moscow TV, "repeats after "Jazeera" and other sometimes just idiotic messages <...> We left here, ' said the witness, — do not look more Russian channels. With the same success and greater benefit for language skills, you can watch the Pentagon Channel".

In this connection the question naturally arises whether, and to what extent is Russia ready to repel the inevitable propaganda attack in case she would once again be embroiled in any conflict situation.


[1] V. A. Koroteev, Yu. V Zinkina the Egyptian revolution of 2011 // Asia and Africa today, No. 6, 2011, p.10.

[2] ibid., 13.

[3] ibid., p.11.

[4] O. V. Karpacheva , the Absence of political PR as the factor of the Egyptian revolution. — In kN.: The Arab spring of 2011. M., 2012, pp. 304-305.

[5] See: Haljina M. M. Information space of social and cultural identity – on: knyazeva-000004.html

[6] A. Z. Egorin Overthrow Of Muammar Gaddafi. M., 2012, with 35.

[7] A. Jungherr Role of social networks in the organization of the "Arab spring". // Memoid on: organisazii_arabskoj_vesny

[8] See: Tsirel S. V. Revolution, the wave of revolutions and Arab spring. — In kN.: Arab spring 2011, p. 153.

[9] Lysenko M. V., Davydov A. A. the Egyptian revolution on Twitter – scale-free network? – Ibid., p. 311.

[10] A. Jungherr Role of social networks in the organization of the "Arab spring"...

[11] See: Chiesa J., Cabras P. global matrix. M., 2012, p. 202.

[12] C. Lussato Libye: Amnesty conteste le nombre des victimes et accuse les rebelles. // Le Nouvel Observateur, 17.06.2011 – á:

[13] Chiesa G., Cabras P. , global matrix, p. 184.

A. B. Podtserob, source: Institute for Middle East studies

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