Mohamed Nasheed, the recently ousted president of the Maldives, has witnessed first-hand how technology and social media can organise civil society to create change and generate awareness, reports Mashable in an interview with the deposed President.
“Videos activisim is social media. Everything is about awareness, and when people know what is happening it is difficult not to do something about it,” Nasheed told Mashable.
“Social media very helpful in giving out messages, you couldn’t get out through the print and broadcast media, which are censored and regulated.”
The large youth demographic (“60 percent of our population are below 30 years-old) made the country very receptive to social media, Nasheed said.
Twitter has been very popular recently, along with of course Facebook. People are able to give out mesages on what is happening.”
Nasheed became the first democratically elected president of the country in 2008. During his two-decade-long fight for democracy, there were strict government restrictions against Internet communications. As a result, he and his followers leveraged SMS text messages to organize their underground activities.
Since his election, Nasheed has fought tirelessly against climate change. The Maldives, a country of 1,200 islands, will be completely submerged if the ocean level rises a few feet — becoming the first nation of environmental exiles. His story is told in a new film The Island President, which will be released in New York on Wednesday (trailer below).