World Press Photo 2011, presents his photographs as the starting point for a conversation with bloggers and experts on the situation #afterthespring

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“There was a certain mythicisation of the Internet’s role in the Arab Spring”

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The journalist and director of VilaWeb, Vicent Partal, believes that the role played by social networks in the Arab Spring was “mythicised”. “We live in an age in which we love grabbing easy headlines, and ‘the Internaut revolution’ is a really easy headline”, asserts Partal. For the journalist, the uprising in Tunisia would not have transpired without the “objective revolutionary situation” that unfolded in the country. Partal also clarifies the role played by social networks, and links the penetration of their messages to the alliance that was forged with the broadcaster Al Jazeera, particularly in the case of Egypt. “Al Jazeera and social networks fed off one another: Al Jazeera had to rely on other sources since they could not gather the information for themselves on the ground and so used Tweets and Facebook posts as material; in turn, Tweeters and Facebook users availed of Al Jazeera to reach a wider audience”.

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Vicent Partal >

Journalist, editor of Vilaweb
Vicent Partal Montesinos, born in Bétera (Valencian Community) is a journalist. He currently runs the digital newspaper VilaWeb. He has worked for El Temps, El Punt, La Vanguardia, TVE and Diari de Barcelona, where he specialised in international politics. In the 1980s, he published several monographs on NATO and nationalism in the former Soviet Union. As of the 1990s, he became one of the pioneers of the Internet in Catalan by creating Infopista, the first online directory in the Catalan language, which would later become VilaWeb and the first digital newspaper in Catalan.