Perse student acclaimed in illustrious politics essay competition
16 Sep 2020
Maahika Singh (Upper Sixth) has been highly commended for her entry in a prestigious politics essay competition.
Students from across the world took part in the Lucy Cavendish College Essay Prize on Contemporary Issues, with entrants invited to write a 1,500-word essay on one of four subjects.
Maahika delved into the question ‘Is social media dangerous for democracy?’ as she felt it was an intriguing and timely field to explore.
She said: “It resonated with me because social media is something that’s very prevalent as a tool used by governments and democracies all over the world. With the 2020 US elections coming up in November, I think it’s so important to see how social media plays a role, especially after what happened in the 2016 elections with the fake news campaigns.
“Since the 2016 elections, there has been a lot more research because people have become more aware of the impact of social media, but I still felt I could add something new to the area, looking at the extent to which social media affects government and democracy.”
In her essay, Maahika contrasted Jair Bolsonaro’s use of WhatsApp in his campaign for the Brazilian presidency with how protesters utilised social media during the Arab Spring of 2011, leading to governments being overthrown in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia.
She said: “I looked into income-developing countries where they don’t have the infrastructure for other sorts of communications and have skipped straight to phones, social media and wifi-connected programmes for their messages. This hinders access to other information.”
Maahika was delighted her essay was highly commended, adding: “I’m pleased with how I was able to get contrasting points and different examples into a short word count. It was a very useful experience in learning how to write concisely and get my point over in as few words as I could.
“I really enjoyed doing it and I was very happy I learned something new. Although we look at voting behaviours in the UK and the USA in our A level politics course, I got to look at other international examples which really helped enhance my knowledge.”
Click here to read Maahika’s essay.