A visualization of routing paths through a portion of the Internet.
A common definition of Internet democracy is using the Internet, and other Information Communication Technologies (ICTs), to further democratic ideals and forms of governance through “the Internet’s information flow, augmented by ever increasing rainfaills of data, constantly alter[ing] people’s knowledge of public affairs and more broadly the political relations of citizens within and between societies.” In numerous instances, social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress and Blogspot, are used heavily to promote democracy.
One view by academic researchers and observers is that the Internet has molded politics into a global and universal phenomenon that assists in making consumers (i.e. citizens) more active “shoppers” of political messages and “goods.” However, the value of the Internet at truly improving democratic processes is heavily debated. Many scholars and popular observers believe that the Internet just merely adds another avenue for the established powers, such as medial moguls, major executives in multinational corporations and other affluent individuals, to influence citizens because they “own” the Internet and affect its usage.
Some individuals believed that “Internet Democracy” was being attacked in the United States with the introduction of H.R. 3261, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), in the United States House of Representatives. A Huffington Post Contributor noted that the best way to promote democracy, including keeping freedom of speech alive, is through defeating the Stop Online Piracy Act. It is important to note that SOPA was postponed indefinitely after major protests arose, including by many popular websites such as Wikipedia, which launched a site blackout on January 18, 2012. In India, a similar situation was noted at the end of 2011, when India’s Communication and IT Minister Kapil Sibal suggested that offensive content may be privately “pre-screened” before being allowed on the Internet with no rules for redressal. However, more recent news reports quote Sibal as saying that there would be no restrictions whatsoever on the use of the Internet.
- Margolis, Michael, and Gerson Moreno-Riano. Prospect of the Internet Democracy. 2009.
- Madhavan, N. "Is Internet Democracy under Threat in India?" Hindustan Times 2011.
- Fox, Brian. "Protecting Internet Democracy". 2012. The Huffington Post. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-fox/protecting-internet-democ_b_1242483.html>
- Smith, Congressman Lamar. "H.R. 3261." Ed. Representatives, House of. Washington, DC: 112th Congress, 1st Session, 2011. Print.
- Pepitone, Julianna. "Sopa and Pipa Postponed Indefinitely after Protests". 2012. CNN Money. CNN. September 24 2012. <http://money.cnn.com/2012/01/20/technology/SOPA_PIPA_postponed/index.htm>.
- Staff, IT News Online. "Kapil Sibal: Internet an Indispensible [sic] Tool for Governance in a Free Democracy". 2012. Ed. Online, IT New. 2012 September 24. <http://www.itnewsonline.com/news/Kapil-Sibal:-Internet-an-Indispensible-Tool-for-Governance-in-a-Free-Democracy/28482/8/1>.
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