004 - Civil Society and International-Mindedness

Geographic Knowledge and Understanding

The role of civil society in promoting international-mindedness and participating in global interactions, including social media use and campaigning for internet freedom.


Civil society has the power to promote international-mindedness and the participation of its citizens in global interactions.


  • To have knowledge and understanding of the role of civil society in promoting international-mindedness and participating in global interactions.

  • To have knowledge and understanding of how civil society uses social media to promote internet freedom.

Case Studies

Two detailed examples of places where restricted freedoms have been challenged.

Key Terminology

            • International Mindedness

            • Internet Freedom

            • Digital Authoritarianism

            • Encrypted Messaging Applications

Define the key terms above by using the 'Useful Links' below.

Useful Links

Activity One - Comprehension

We think that most people have the freedom of speech these days but this is not always the case and as a result, people are increasingly using social media to share their thoughts. As we have seen in previous lessons everything that is written online is not perceived to be positive which has forced companies and governments to reassess the amount of freedom people should have. It is well documented that countries are becoming increasingly authoritarian when it comes to digital platforms.

      1. Watch the YouTube clip and write down how internet censorship occurs in different countries.

      2. Click on the link in the 'Useful Resources' box and explore the changes in freedom countries have experienced between 2018-2019. Write down any changes that surprise you and give reasons for your answer.

Activity Two - Two Detailed Examples

We are now going to investigate two places where the freedom of expression online has been challenged. We are going to focus on the Electronic Frontier Foundation which is an international non-profit organisation that was set up in 1990 in San Francisco. It probably doesn't surprise you that a digital rights company has set themselves up in the heartland of Silicon Valley. We are also going to look at the GreatFire who challenge internet censorship in China. This is also a non-profit organisation that helps users to circumnavigate the internet blockages that the Chinese government put in place to channel what their population can see. It was formed in 2011 and has worked with the BBC to get them access to China. Answer the following questions:

      1. Who is the Electronic Frontier Foundation?

      2. How is the EFF challenging the restrictions on internet freedom?

      3. Who is GreatFire?

      4. How are GreatFire challenging the restrictions on internet freedom?

Activity Three - Discuss

We have now explored how civil society groups are trying to give people access to information that may be blocked in certain countries so does social media really give people a voice?

      1. Collect a piece of A4 paper and divide it in half to create two columns.

      2. At the top of left hand column write 'YES' and the other write 'NO'.

      3. Discuss with the person next to you if social media gives people a voice and then write down your thoughts. Try and give examples of where you have seen this work.

      4. Discuss the whole groups thoughts.

      5. Using the 'Useful Resources' below 'flesh' out your own thoughts with the details that are given.

      6. Re-discuss the key ideas.

Activity Four - Civil Society Example

We couldn't leave this section without having a look at how GreenPeace is using social media to impact how citizens can become more internationally minded with their actions. We have looked at them before when we investigated climate change and resources so hopefully you have remembered that they have come along way from their 'hippie' beginnings.

      1. Why are Greenpeace's campaigns different in different regions of the world? Use the YouTube playlists that Greenpeace have created for the UK and the USA to help you with this question.

      2. How successful do you think Greenpeace and their use of social media is to effect change? Remember to give examples and go beyond the one sentence answers.

Exam Style Question

'Social media is the primary tool that enhances international mindedness.' Discuss [16 marks]

This lesson was development in collaboration with Richard Allaway from geographyalltheway. For more resources please visit www.geographyalltheway.com