Edward Fox


Citizen participation is a key factor in open government and a fundamental form of collective problem solving in democratic societies. Citizens need reliable information to support collective sense making and decision-making. During crises, such as political uprisings and controversial elections, reliable information sources are essential for citizens to stay informed and make sense of rapidly changing developments. In countries that exert control over media, citizens try to access alternative information sources, such as unfiltered Internet and social media. Using two rounds of surveys with young, educated adults in Tunisia, we examined their use of diverse information sources during the 2011 revolution. We update these findings with a third survey round asking similar questions to young, educated Tunisian adults’ about their use of diverse information sources during the 2014 presidential and parliamentary elections. Our results show there have been dramatic changes in the use and perceptions of the reliability of broadcast media as Tunisia builds a new government with more open participation and national communication media. The Internet and social media still play an important role in informing the Tunisian public, but new government and private sources are perceived as significantly more reliable than they were under the authoritarian regime overthrown by the 2011 revolution. Our election survey results show that higher perceptions of information reliability, along with the sharing of online information, lead to greater political information efficacy (PIE). Prior studies show higher PIE is associated with greater democratic participation. This finding bodes well for the nascent democracy emerging in this small North African state.


Edward Fox

Publication Details

Date of publication:
October 20, 2017
IOS Press
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Andrea L. Kavanaugh, Steven D. Sheetz, Hamida Skandrani, Edward A. Fox: Media use by young Tunisians during the 2011 revolution vs 2014 elections. Inf. Polity 22(2-3): 137-158 (2017)