- Connecting Activists and Journalists: Twitter communication in the aftermath of the 2012 Delhi rape
- Journalism Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 16 | 5
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
This article examines how feminist activists, women's organizations, and journalists in India connected with each other through Twitter following the gang rape incident in New Delhi in December 2012. First, the investigation draws on a set of +15 million tweets specifically focused on rape and gang rape. These tweets, which appeared between 16 January 2013 and 16 January 2014, were collected and analysed with the DMI Twitter Capture and Analysis Toolset. Second, to gain further insight into how Twitter enables and shapes civil society connections, the article builds on 15 semi-structured interviews with Indian feminist activists and journalists, who actively participated in Twitter communication on the gang rape incident. The analysis of the Twitter and interview data reveals how the platform allows these actors to make ad hoc connections around particular protest issues and events. These connections alter both activist and journalist practices, and ultimately facilitate the current transformation of public discourse on gender violence. Twitter helps to keep this issue consistently on the front burner. In this sense, a significant shift from the past has occurred, when media coverage typically died out after an incident ceased to be news. Yet, our study also suggests that connectivity is tempered by Twitter's limited Indian user base, and users’ focus on the "crime of the day."
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