MANILA, Philippines – After months of battling government forces, Libyan rebels have entered the capital Tripoli, signaling the collapse of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
As of dawn Monday (late morning in Manila), Aug. 22, 2011, various news organizations have reported rebels taking over most parts of the Libyan capital, with people celebrating on the streets.
The New York Times reported that the rebels claim to have captured Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi’s one-time heir apparent. On the other hand, the report also said rebels have accepted the surrender of another son, Mohammed, who was earlier interviewed by Al Jazeera.
Social media is playing a big role in chronicling the events in Libya, with updates streaming in from people on the ground, as well as those monitoring from a distance.
Reporters on the ground, as well as eyewitnesses and those with first-hand information from inside Libya, have been using social media extensively to keep the world updated on happenings on the ground.
The BBC’s Matthew Price posted tweets as he and other foreign journalists remained holed up inside the government-controlled Rixos Hotel.
Earlier, Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, who has been trailing the rebel’s progress into the city, said “sounds of explosions” welcomed rebels into the capital.
She later broadcast live reports from the Green Square, where jubilant rebels tore down images of the Libyan strongman and waved the old Libyan flag.
Some residents and bloggers in Libya have also started tweeting and blogging just as the rebels entered the city, coming from several months of silence due to the Gaddafi regime’s crackdown.
Bloggers such as @TrablesVoice and @flyingirdies, who reside in the area, have resumed tweeting, noted the Times, and have been tweeting eyewitness accounts sporadically as gunfire still echo in the capital’s streets.
Major news organizations have set up live streams and live blogs chronicling the progress of the rebels in Tripoli, as well as celebrations in different parts of Libya.
International cable networks such as CNN, BBC, and Al Jazeera, as well as major newspapers such as The New York Times, have set up special pages with live streams of their broadcasts, live tweets from on-ground reporters and desk people, and analysis and commentary.
News organizations from around the world have also resorted to social media to broadcast the news.
Meanwhile, viewers and observers from outside Libya have been tweeting nonstop about the unfolding events there, peppering social media with comments, analysis, and links to relevant stories and multimedia.
A quick Twitter search of the term “Libya” shows real-time tweets from around the world reacting to the story.
Social media has been a major player in the so-called “Arab Spring” sweeping several countries in the Middle East. It has been a major factor in the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, as well as in the ongoing uprising in Syria and other countries in the area.
In these instances, people have turned to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to get information out to the world, as governments tried to suppress information in their battle to control the hearts and minds of citizens.—Newsbreak