Reading list

How did social media play such a significant role in fueling popular revolutions in the Arab region? These recommended journal articles, websites and videos demonstrate how leaders and activists used social media to take action. These articles prompt readers to reflect more purposefully on the various Citizen Journalism practices that occurred during the Arab Revolution. These readings also encourage participants to seriously consider the usefulness of fact-checking in Citizen Journalism. Collectively, these materials represent general practice which largely support the learning resources.

English Reading List

Smartphones in the Arab Spring

This concise article provides a practical insight on the important role smartphones played during the Arab revolution. The reading also captures the ways mobile phones have impacted the construction and communication of information for the general public. This article also features Sultan Al Qassimi, prominent tweeter and commentator from the United Arab Emirates.

Verification and Geolocation Tricks and Tips with Google Earth

Google Earth is a useful open source tool with many features that aids the investigation and geolocation of images. In this reading, Elliot Higgins provides a practical guide to a few techniques and tips used for studying content in conflicted areas. This reading focuses particularly on the use of Historical Imagery, 3D Terrain and Landmarks features.

New research suggests it’s possible to automatically identify fake images on Twitter

The internet is proliferated with fake images, and this study provides an insight on detecting fabricated photos. This feature also highlights some appropriate measures that can be taken for reporting tweets containing false information. Also, this reading re-emphasises the importance of using best-practice for verifying user-generated content.

Bellingcat’s Online Investigation Toolkit

This online toolkit created by Bellingcat offers a listing of practical tools and steps for verifying accuracy of social media and user-generated content. The list is extremely useful because it provides very detailed information on the tools, source, description and relevant links.

Verification Handbook

“There’s always a lot of misinformation,” says Craig Silverman, the editor of the Verification Handbook. In light of this phenomenon, this book assists citizen journalists with verifying digital content. It also offers a list of cases illustrating strategies for assessing user-generated content.

The truth about Twitter, Facebook and the uprisings in the Arab world

This article looks at the power of social media, particularly the “Twitter Revolution” in the Middle East. Although Twitter may have had negligible influence on events in Tunisia, the same could not be said for Egypt. As such, this report uses several cases to analyse the impact of Twitter and Facebook.

Cyberactivism in the Egyptian Revolution: How Civic Engagement and Citizen Journalism Tilted the Balance

This article provides a concise perspective about the use of new media as an effective tool for public mobilisation in Egypt. This article features the political struggles between the Egyptians and the government. There is also some chronological insight into the manner in which Egyptians broke their silence using social media.

How the Rouhani Meter fact-checks Iran’s president from 6,000 miles away

“Meters and fact-checking websites are ultimately there to help citizens to make informed, evidence-based decisions in a democratic process…” (Rouhani Meter Fact-Checking Website). In this article, readers learn about the intricacies of setting up the Rouhani Meter Fact-checking website. This article is important as it highlights the various indicators that were used to measure President Rouhani’s accountability while in government.

Networked Communication & the Arab Spring: Linking broadcast and social media

In this study, the author makes a connection between broadcast and social media during the Arab revolution. More importantly, the role of verification is recognised in this piece as an integral part of this networking process. There are several pertinent authentication practices that can be adapted for citizen journalism.

The role of social media in the Arab uprisings - past and present (Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture)

This reading contains a series of six articles about the role of social media in the Arab uprisings. These various features analyse the function of Facebook, blogs, Twitter and other forms of new media tools.


This report specifically assesses the use of user-generated content during the Syrian Revolution. In this piece, readers understand the importance of collaboration among mainstream media organisations and citizen journalists when producing media content. As such, this report features some media verification practices usually undertaken by media organisations.

A False Photo From a Real Massacre

“Somebody is using my images as propaganda” (Marco Di Lauro). Despite all of the fact-checking and verification processes involved in media organisations this article highlights quite often stories utilise false photos or images. The core lesson in this commentary is “first impressions matter” especially when fake images are widely disseminated on social media.

“Iran Protests: A Woman Dies on Camera – To Post or Not to Post?”, The Hub blog, original post June 24, 2009,

The author uses the death of Neda Agha-Soltan, an Iranian protester, to call for justice and accountability. Her death underscored the important role citizen journalism plays in exposing oppressions and injustices. The writer uses this post to open up various dialogues particularly on mitigating security risks.

Mary Jordan, “Amateur Videos Are Putting Official Abuse in New Light,” Washington Post, November 15, 2006,

“See it. Film It. Change it ” says Gillian Caldwell, executive director of Witness, a New York-based human rights group. In this article, the author discusses many instances where photos have been used to highlight worldwide cases where officials abuse their power. The main take away from this piece is the power images hold.

Arabic Reading List

10 steps to learn journalism on the web

In this article published by the International Journalists network, the author defines 10 steps to learn how to do online citizen journalism in an interactive guide.

Express yourself and be free

This is another guide for bloggers written by Egyptian bloggers and experts to empower citizens and teach them all the basics of blogging.