I enjoyed the story about a King Juan Carlos’ rant becoming a ring-tone hit in Spain and Venezuela. The King’s outburst came during a summit in Chile, after the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called Spain’s ex-Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, a “fascist”.
In Venezuela, a group of students who oppose Mr Chavez’s government have also been downloading the ringtone, a US newspaper reported.
“It’s a form of protest,” a 21-year-old student in Caracas told the Miami Herald. “It’s something that a lot of people would like to tell the president.”
It is yet another way in which the ubiquity and pervasiveness of technology undermines authoritarian power. In itself, it may not change or bring down a regime. It is, however, a form of protest and dissent that cannot be easily suppressed. It therefore emboldens, and gives succour to opposition.
While the internet can help spread campaigns, it can also undermine them. In 2003, Howard Dean looked set to win the Democratic Presidential nomination, until his infamous “Dean Scream” took the web by storm.