The mediatization of new movements: the case of "Je suis Charlie"

Rūta Sutkutė
2016 Media Transformations  
The terrorist attacks of "Charlie Hebdo" publishing house led to the creation of online social networking communities, titled "Je suis Charlie" ("I am Charlie") and "Je ne suis pas Charlie" ("I'm not Charlie"). These events enhanced individual participation in public processes and led to the expression of criticism of society as passive construct. However, the new communication technology not only enables the construction of virtual communities but also can lead to discrimination against social
more » ... tion against social groups. The object of the research -the new online communities "Je suis Charlie" ("I am Charlie") and "Je ne suis pas Charlie" ("I'm not Charlie") and their communication and mediatization content on social websites. The main goal of this work is to figure out the role of social media as a mediator in shaping individuals' values, worldview, mobilizing new online movements (communities) and stakeholders, and promoting public polarization, segmentation and the confrontation in different virtual environments through "Je suis Charlie" ("I am Charlie") and "Je ne suis pas Charlie" ("I'm not Charlie") case studies on social websites like Facebook and Twitter. The qualitative and quantitative analysis of social networks content confirmed the hypothesis that in different symbolic (virtual) communities, "Charlie Hebdo" cartoons and the terrorist attacks in France are presented diametrically contrary to the provisions of the target group to which the message is supposed to be addressed to. Concerning the case of "Je suis Charlie" ("I am Charlie"), the information is deliberately intended to form a negative perception of Islam and Muslims in an emphasis on freedom of speech and press, terrorism and the threat of Islamism; thus, it is demonizing, stigmatizing and marginalizing the religious 2029-865X (Print) 2029-8668 (Online) Media Transformations 39 community. Meanwhile, in the social network, "Je ne suis pas Charlie" ("I'm not Charlie") has chosen communication strategy (style and rhetoric) aimed at forming a diametrically opposite counter through religious tolerance concept, as expressed in negative attitudes towards the West, focusing on Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia faced by Muslims -the immigrants in the West. A comparative analysis that was conducted confirmed the hypothesis that participants of different online (protest) movements do not get the equal "mediatised voice" opportunity to be heard in two diametrically opposite approaches by supportive audiences, because of that, information asymmetry and selectivity can enhance the dominant discourse (in their culture medium) and lead to discrimination against social groups: expression of Islamophobia and Christianophobia in the society. In the case of "Je suis Charlie" ("I am Charlie"), speeches of the presidents, politicians, journalists and lawyers encourage Islamophobic and Muslimophobic discourses in society, while "Je ne suis pas Charlie" ("I'm not Charlie") initiators -Muslim representatives -express completely different positions, for example, emphasizing Western cultural hegemony, domination and oppression.
doi:10.7220/2029-8668.12.03 fatcat:67ilnautynh4fokewmq7el3sz4