Facebook breeds wave of new age humanitarians 

Lecturer in Social Work and Humanitarian Studies, Dan Baschiera believes that new age humanitarians are using Facebook as their vehicle to effect change

Facebook is becoming a powerful tool for human rights activists in their bid to affect political change, according to a leading humanitarian.

Lecturer in Social Work and Humanitarian Studies with Charles Darwin University Dan Baschiera said it appeared that Facebook had succeeded in circumventing the “freedom of speech” controls exerted by repressive governments.

“Humanitarianism is about respecting humanity and, in turn, challenging any political contract that abuses or kills humans for profit,” he said.

When pressure from protesters helped bring down the Egyptian and Tunisian governments in recent months, Facebook was credited by many organisers and outside observers as being a key tool for the revolution.

While it is almost impossible to isolate the impact of Facebook from the general swirl of events that set off the popular uprisings across the Middle East, Mr Baschiera said there was little doubt that change had resulted from ideas and discussion using the cyber media.

“People are taking comfort in knowing there are many others out there who share the same or similar ideals,” he said.

“What we are seeing is a very rapidly changing world that is accelerating the pressures on politics and markets via a human-to-human scale never seen before.”

Mr Baschiera said it was this same interconnected group of people worldwide who would continue to challenge and discredit political distortions and the political contract.

“There appears to be a naturally evolving humanitarianism movement in the hundreds of millions based on direct human-to-human communication using Facebook.”