The Internet is above all, a decentralised system of interactive communication. And Internet-enthusiasts have seen it as a way to introduce more communication between different communities around the world, as well as an outstanding mean to re-invent and develop democracy. For the first time in human history, we have the means to create a virtual democracy, to test it, and to make it real both locally and globally. But if the technological structure of the Internet institutes instantaneous dissemination and radical decentralisation what might be its effects on the society, the culture and the political institutions? Will the Internet actually be able to decentralise and democratise the flow of communication between different communities? In other words, does the Internet create democracy?
[...] This ‘public sphere' comes into being when people gather to discuss issues of political concern. In history there has always been a ‘public sphere' where critical reasoning over issues of political concerns would be discussed - the Greek Agora or the Coffee Houses in the 17th and 18th Century Europe for example. According to Habermas the crisis currently encountered by democratic politics is due to the collapse of this ‘public sphere' since the traditional print media or media' producing a horizontal flow of news, do not allow any room for its audience to express itself. [...]
[...] In other words, does the Internet create democracy? I. Internet Enabling the Renewal of Democracy: The Internet-Enthusiasts A. The ‘Information Superhighways' Howard Rheingold, whose book Virtual Communities was published in 1993 has emphasised the idea that the Internet would enable a phenomenon of renewal of the democracy within communities, especially virtual communities. ‘virtual communities could help citizens revitalise democracy, or they could be luring us into an attractively packaged substitute for democratic discourse'. To him the Internet is a new possibility for communities to form regardless to the distance or the geographical barriers that had once be restrictions for interaction. [...]
[...] The ITC have had an enormous impact on communication, since for example anyone having a phone line, a computer and a modem can have access to the Internet ‘World Wide Web'. What exactly is the Internet? The Internet is a product of the Cold War. It was originally developed by the Government of the Unites States during the 1970's as a means of sharing information and protecting communications in the event of a nuclear attack. But since its creation the Internet has experienced many changes before stretching to its actual shape: global web of computers on international telecommunication networks' ( M. [...]
[...] the first time in human history, we have the means to create a virtual democracy, to test it, and to make it real –both locally and globally'. W. Foreman in Creative Democracy and The Internet (1995). But if the technological structure of the Internet institutes instantaneous dissemination and radical decentralisation what might be its effects on the society, the culture and the political institutions? Will the Internet actually be able to decentralise and democratise the flows of communications between different communities? [...]
[...] How to promote democracy within an Internet structure? As a result, there has been a blossoming of organisations actually trying to promote democracy within an Internet structure. As an example, the ‘Internet Democracy Project' proposed by Centre for the Evolution of Democracy' is designed: first and foremost, to promote the well-being of human beings and of our planetary ecosystem, and to test the feasibility of establishing local and global democratic organisations using the Internet as a communications medium for building community and for political decision-making'. [...]
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