The Pacific Islands region is a latecomer to telecommunications regulation and reform. But cheap mobile phones have flooded the region over the last 5 to 10 years, coinciding with the rise of social media. Now Pacific Islanders have the means to access political debate in ways they had never been able before. Facebook discussion groups, mass meetings and social media-organised protests are increasingly prominent, especially among youths.
In the above short video I talk with former Lowy Institute research associate Danielle Cave who, before leaving the Institute to work for the Australian Government, released Digital Islands: How the Pacific's ICT Revolution is Transforming the Region.
I ask Danielle (at 2.17) if there is the potential for the Pacific Islands region to have its own Arab uprising. Her answer brought to mind the work of BBC journalist Mishal Husain, who was a guest of the Lowy Institute in March 2012. Mishal delivered a fascinating lecture on 'How Facebook Changed the World', based on her experience reporting from the Arab Spring. Her post-event video discussion with Anthony Bubalo is a great one to watch if you're interested in the role social media played, and continues to play, in Middle East politics.