Social media aim for universal education rights condemned by the Taliban

article-0-1891315D00000578-146_634x530Malala Yousafzai, who received a Pride of Britain Award from David Beckham
Image source: Dailymail

Social networking platforms have led way to a new form of activism. No longer are activist’s confined to merely demonstrating plights in their local areas, with social media tools they are now able to demonstrate such plights on a global scale. Social media is now used to co-ordinate, mobilize and disseminate protests around the globe in order to bring a large amount of individuals together from all corners of the globe.

When I think about how social media has changed activism, I think about Malala Yousafzai. Malala is a young girl from Pakistan who since the age of eleven has written an online diary (blog) for the BBC fighting for the right of young girls to be allowed to get an education (Synvitz 2012). This was directly protesting against the Taliban who are stopping young women getting an education in her village by destroying their schools. Sadly Malala was shot in the head at point blank range by the Taliban who wanted to put a stop to her message as it has been receiving global attention.  Malala survived this attack against all odds and now lives in Birmingham (UK) and her campaign has never been stronger. She is now an international icon for girls’ rights and is globally know by “Malala” (Synvitz 2012).

Her blog and brave acts have led to global support for the education of women, many have signed the online petition to stand with Malala and fight for education for children all over the world who do not currently have any kind of access to it. She also has a dedicated hashtag on twitter for her cause #IamMalala here an aggregation of tweets can be viewed from all over the world of individuals campaigning for better education for young girls and children in general, another clear example of activism through social media.

Malala started simply as an online blog protesting for the rights of girls’ to receive an education this sadly led to her being shot but post this event she has received global support and was even rumored for the Noble Peace Prize award. She has continued on with her success and gave a speech to the UN about her cause and has persuaded the UN to recommit to Millennium Development Goal two (Dias 2013), which states; “by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling.” (Dias 2013).  Social media; including blogging was the key for Malala to be an activist for educational rights especially within a country such as hers. With another example of the Arab Spring it is clear that social media activism is an important tool for activists in countries such as these where Governments or rebel forces will attempt to suppress campaigns. Online activism allows these individuals to share their campaigns on a global scale.



Dias, C  2013, ’10 ways Malala Yousafzai Has Changed the World’, policymic, 14th July, viewed 12th October 2013, <>

Synvitz, R 2012, ‘Malala Yousafzai, the Girl shot by the Taliban, Becomes a Global Icon’, The Atlantic, 12th October, viewed 12th October 2013, <>



8 thoughts on “Social media aim for universal education rights condemned by the Taliban

  1. The Malala case is an excellent example of where social media (and in particular Twitter) has not simply been used as a tool for organisation like the belief of the cyber-realist. I am more inclined to agree with the cyber-utopian view that social media is more than a tool, and it seems that the Taliban also think this way. If they were not scared of Malala’s presence on social media, they would not have felt the need to silence her. That is my key argument, Twitter or other social media are not simply a tool for activists to use in organising protests, they can pose a treat to an authoritarian or corrupt regime. Great post.

  2. Malala is such an inspiring girl, who has been heard through social media. Another great example of social media empowering people, giving them a chance to have their voices heard.It shows how social media can be used as a tool to address real issues, not just update statuses about what somebody did on the weekend. With the use of social media it brings attention to these issues and allows for large audiences and global support as well as communicating these issues in a quicker more organised fashion.
    Here is a really interesting interview Malala did on the Daily Show

  3. What an inspiring story. I personally have taken a cyber-realist approach to this weeks lecture topic, and this story is a reminder that social media is a fantastic tool for bringing issues such as this to light. I do still believe that the internet is a tool. A great tool, and a tool that fosters connectivity and power, but overemphasising social media here almost discredits Malala – she is the one who started this revolution – her determination is the cause of this social change. The internet is just an effective tool she utilised.

  4. Malala is the example that I also turn to when justifying the roles of social media in revolutions and activism. I really think we way you have framed her in this piece is very lovely. There are plenty of causes that have sprung up as a result. It may not be a physical revolt but it is certainly a media one. And it is raising awareness and funds for the real revolution.
    I know girls who did Tough Mudder in a dress to raise money to pay for a girl in Sierra Leone to go to school. They are being proactive and certainly are contributing to the original cause.

  5. She is such an inspiring woman. Such courage and determination should not be overshadowed by the medium through which she conveys her messages. I believe that for Malala, social media and the internet are simply tools that disseminate her messages. As Sam said, calling them anything else, would be discrediting to her efforts.

  6. Yep yep yep. I definitely thought of Malala when I was reading Gladwell’s criticism of net activists, because they don’t face any “real danger”. I think Malala’s story certainly disproves that theory, along with the 22 bloggers/citizen journalists killed this year + 157 bloggers/netizens that are currently imprisoned because of what they have been writing and posting ( there are definitely online activists out there who put their life on the line when they sit down to a keyboard.

  7. That Malala Yousafzai case is a holy S#!+ moment is I have ever seen one to be honest, shot point blank in the head and is still around today spreading her word… she really is a great Icon for girls rights. Her story really shows the danger in starting these online campaigns if someone who doesn’t like what you write finds you.. The scary part of that in this day and age there is always ways to track you online if you don’t take precautions against it. Her success is a great example on how if you have an opinion and you are heard anything can happen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s