Authors: Ms. Moza Abdullah Said Al-Rawahi
Abstract: The climate of frustration that sparked the fire in the Arab countries in 2011 caught the Omani government regime by surprise. After the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak from power in Egypt and just a few days after Tunisian President Zine ben Ali had fled to Saudi Arabia, hundreds of protesters in Oman follow a wave of prodemocracy protests across the Arab countries; demanding for a decent life, justice in distributing the income and increasing the quality of life. At a time when the unrest began, the traditional media ignored the event and public demands, while the social media covered the issue in detail and in a professional manner(Al bahlani 2013). A number of frustrated civilians, that see the limited amount of freedom of expression as an obstacle, tend to use Sablat Oman forum for making some real reforms. Citizens posted a number of articles and complains and they succeed in covering some issues in which Omani media failed to address due to the media censorship and restriction, like the case of eliminating corruption, increasing people’s salaries, changing some ministers, improving the health and education sectors, providing more job opportunities mainly in the army forces and improving infrastructures. This study sought to examine the agenda setting role, by evaluating the coverage of Sablat Oman posts and two dailies newspapers; Oman and Al-Watan from 17 January to 31 March 2011 to figure out whether and how online public opinion influences the agendas of the traditional media during the 2011 Omani reform.
Keywords: agenda Setting; inter-media agenda setting; trendsetters; reversed agenda setting effects and protest.