Digital Apartheid

 Silencing the Palestinian voices
on Social Media

By Ramz Atari

Back In 1984, Professor Edward Saidalong with American-Palestinian academics issued an argument that Palestinians are denied
permission to narrate”.

As an indication of the repression policies of the main stream media back thin against the Palestinian voices and their viewpoint of narrative for their side of the story.

While recently decades after Said's argument, the same issue was relaunched and proven once again by Maha Nassar who investigated the lack of Palestinian voices in the American mainstream media Newspapers for the past 50-years period.

To spot the light with what she found on The history of media bias in reporting the Palestinian-Israeli case which was shown clearly in the thousands of opinion pieces that were published in this context and among them in the Americans main newspapers .017% of were written by Palestinians or in the side of the Palestinian point of view.

as it appears in the slides below:

but before we dive in this area..

let us go back a few years back first in to the beginning of Social media era..

when this platforms managed to break lots of limits and Restrictions that the previous traditional Media has in most of the world.

to Become a lifeline for many peoples and groups around the world who used it to raise awareness about their causes.

also to be used as a key mean of revolution and breaking restrictions and highlighting ignored and underrated issues, insurgency and expressing opinions more freely.

and as a result for all of the above this new tool considered by the Palestinians in the past few years as a key platform and an important method to use towards rising awareness about their struggles globally.

These violations and acts have all been documented and monitored during the past period to reach some of the results indicated by these acts as the following:



The escalation in these violations comes with the increase in interest in publishing about the Palestinian cause through the internet, which notices an increase in interest in it in a fluctuating but gradual manner during the last five years at least.

This last number is considered one of the highest numbers of digital violations against Palestinian content for the past years, which came with the recent events that took place in all of palestine, which were accompanied by a wave of huge digital content about what was happening in Jerusalem, Gaza, and recently in Beta.

Palestinians’ struggle to secure their digital rights is crucial in the face of mainstream media spin and collaboration of social media platforms with Israel to stifle their voices.and These procedures were varied between different platforms and in different methods, as some of the following examples shows:

And Although all of this may not be seen as a unique phenomenon to the Palestinians and obviously not new,

These recent events in Palestine elevated this phenomenon of social media censorship represents a growing and significant concern with regard to human rights and freedom of expression connecting it more than ever with apartheid.

which is "apartheid" still used to express the use of the occupation and the colonial force in order to deprive one of the weaker or the least resourceful party from one of the basic human rights.

such as freedom of expression and the use of media in narrating and raising their voice in this case.

and in this area digital apartheid as a term refers to:

the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology, and those that don't or have restricted access.

On the other hand, it was noted how tech giants have come under intense scrutiny, finding themselves accused of censoring Palestinian content, of failing to crack down on disinformation, and allowing the incitement of violence.
Platforms were also manipulated and used as vehicles of state propaganda.

which has came as a result to the Palestinian and international voices that were able to refer to these violations and showing it clearly and condemn it in various parts of the world Demanding its immediate termination.

to the extent that many of these companies were forced to make justifications and to communicate with various Palestinian parties in an attempt to resolve the issue.

Lastly, This conflict may be have been extended for more than 70 years, but as this new chapter of it shows this new stage and tools are forcing a new rules to the game aligned with an equivalent to the different forces at the ground and in this digital space with different conditions, laws and different features.

and It may contribute, to upholding some of the truths or concealing and obscuring it.

All options are open actually, but the bet remains on the ability to change this reality to a better, more free and a clearer one.

Previously apartheid has ended on the ground before and in its birthplace, so can it be ended once again in this new area and status?

Probably Only time and persistence can answer this question one day.

Created by: Ramz Attari

Presented to "We Are Stories" project

Supervised by Dr. Nader Salha

Media Department | Al-Quds University | Spring 2021