Saturday, June 05, 2010

Facebook and plans of the Party

'Plans of the Party - my plans'
(A Soviet poster)
Recently, the opposition newspaper Azadliq reported that the ruling New Azerbaijan Party had organized a closed meeting with a group of pro-government young people.

The Executive Secretary of the Party and his deputy inquired about needs and opinion of the participants in order to boost government propaganda at a time of all kinds of disasters that the country faces.

For the reputation of the government has plummeted after the infamous Dubai story, serious incompetence leading to floods in rural districts and major foreign policy disasters such as the rift with the United States. Also, the situation with media has deteriorated so much that even the most intellectual pro-government newspaper 525ci sells only 40 copies a day. People have abandoned watching local TVs and turned towards Turkish satellite channels.

The reputation of the government has never fallen to such low and all carefully designed PR moves are ruined by some small missteps. For example, pro-government forces spend big efforts to improve image of Baku and advertise newly rebuilt Chinar lounge in The Financial Times and The Evening Standard and even the Daily Mail, but then a young freelancer takes a picture in a rally in Baku dispersed by plainclothes police and the next day Reuters spoils all food cooked at our truly magnificent Chinar.

'Here we'll live, work and study'
(A Soviet poster)

OK, back to our point - many aspects of this closed event at the ruling party headquarters will always be a matter of guess, but Azadliq has learned an interesting part of it - one youth had complained about the hyperactivity of independent and opposition activists in social networking sites such as Facebook and said that pro-government users were losing ground to them, especially in online discussions.

When asked what should be done in order to make pro-government youth more active in Facebook, the participants asked for an office (!).

Thus, in the end of the meeting it was decided that there would be an office with high-speed internet in the city centre for pro-government young people and they have to start to sign up for Facebook immediately and en mass.

However, the question that keeps me wondering all days and nights is how on the earth do independent and opposition youth manage to survive in Facebook without such an office?

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