The Ballot or the Meme: Propaganda in the Algerian Hirak 2019

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The trinity of public opinion, social networks and propaganda has gained more light recently, especially after playing a major role in the outbreak of the Arab Spring and in a recent case; The Algerian Hirak1 2019. The purpose of this study is to analyze the ideology, purpose, objectives and techniques involved in the Algerian movement’s memes 2019. Moreover, it seeks to demonstrate the participatory nature of the propaganda shared through social networks and evaluate the audience’s reaction to participatory propaganda. The qualitative methodology is what this research required and a 10-point framework suggested by Jowett and O’Donnell was used as a tool to examine the aforementioned propaganda using memes from the Algerian movement 2019 as sample material collected from the internet. The memes analyzed were found to play a rather crucial and logical part in recruiting new members to the movement, promoting the peaceful image of the Hirak inside and outside of Algeria, and have succeeded in combining the past, the present and the future to serve the objectives of the propaganda. However, the propaganda’s participatory nature prevented the identification of a clear apparent propagandist. This study proves that memes present in the Hirak were, indeed, propaganda. They served the movement’s objectives and fit perfectly into the techniques proposed by Jowett and O’Donnell. Further studies are needed to investigate Algerians’ awareness of the memes they were exposed to, and to assess the extent of contribution of Algerians into the making of those memes.