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Abstract

This study explores the social media campaign related to the disappearance of a journalist in the Maldives in August 2014. At a simple level, this study asks whether the Facebook and Twitter hashtag postings meet the standards of a human rights document. At a more complex level, using Genette’s concept of transtextuality, it explores the relationships between the social media campaign and its relationships to statements made by human rights NGOs, by UN agencies and in foreign parliaments. Although the social media campaign does not meets the standards of a human rights document, contributions from other agencies would unquestionably be recognised as human rights documents. The postings and tweets give rise to memes may be considered ephemeral and trivial, but in the absence of witnessing, in this context they are the mechanism through which information is shared beyond the immediate location in Maldives. This study has shown how one form of textuality, statements about lacks – a missing journalist and police inaction – can evolve into others, including press releases, formal statements and speeches in foreign parliaments among others, as authors and audience merge into a collectivity concerned with the re-working and dissemination of a particular message.

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