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A Double-Edge Sword? Mass Media and Nonviolent Dissent in Autocracies

Gleditsch, Kristian and Macias, Martin and Rivera, Mauricio (2022) 'A Double-Edge Sword? Mass Media and Nonviolent Dissent in Autocracies.' Political Research Quarterly. p. 106591292210809. ISSN 1065-9129 (In Press)

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Abstract

It is often assumed that nondemocratic regimes will control mass media and suppress independent information, but in many autocracies the media are partially free and imperfectly controlled. We argue that partial media freedom can increase the prospects for mass nonviolent dissent. We develop a theory emphasizing how even less than perfectly free media outlets can increase the ability of individuals to coordinate and mobilize, and provide an informational endowment that can help non-state actors overcome collective mobilization barriers. We further argue that this informational endowment amplifies the effect of other influences spurring mass protests in autocracies, in particular protest contagion and elections. We find empirical support for our argument in an analysis of all autocracies between 1955 and 2013. A case study of the Georgian Rose revolution provides further support for the postulated mechanisms.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: autocracies; media freedom; protest; dissent; collective action
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2022 20:03
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2022 21:26
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/32064

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