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Open Government in the social media age? The role of Twitter in the policymaking process in the Shura Council of Saudi Arabia

Alajlan, Abdulaziz 2021. Open Government in the social media age? The role of Twitter in the policymaking process in the Shura Council of Saudi Arabia. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This research examined the role of Twitter in the policymaking process of the Shura Council of Saudi Arabia. The research investigated government use of social media and how it is utilised in a non-western, non-democratic country. Therefore, this study explored whether social media can enhance engagement between citizens and policymakers in a political context where this engagement does not take place through democratic elections. This research investigated how Council members perceive the socio-political use of Twitter and the impact their perceptions have on the policymaking process. It also considers how Twitter enhances public interventions in a legislative/parliamentary process, has changed the views of the legislators/decision makers in the Council, has influenced the agenda setting of the Council during the policy-making process, and has affected the workings of the Council during that process. Using interviews and a survey amongst Council members, and interpretive content analysis of Council members’ Twitter posts, the research explored how Twitter has influenced Council members during the policy-making process. The empirical finding of this research is that in Saudi Arabia, Twitter has opened government to the public, as the appointed Council members have a positive view of using Twitter within decision- and policymaking at the Shura Council. Council members use Twitter to engage in conversations with the public and learn about public concerns. Applying key concepts from both social media and policy studies shows how Twitter has facilitated public engagement. The research found Twitter has facilitated public engagement, but communication is often top-down in nature. Also, only a few Council members found that Twitter affected their decision-making process; Council members see Twitter as a useful public platform, but their primary motivation for using social media is to send out statements and for self-promotion rather than to actively communicate with the public.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 September 2021
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2021 10:19

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