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  1. Internet Enabling the Renewal of Democracy: The Internet-Enthusiasts
    1. The 'Information Superhighways'
    2. Internet as a new 'Public Sphere'
    3. How to promote democracy within an Internet structure?
  2. Internet as a threat for democracy and its value of freedom and equality
    1. The publicists 'dictatorship'
    2. Surveillance and control
    3. Exclusion from participation : the limits of the idea of the Internet creating democracy

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?

[...] Although China has opened up to the global Internet as a means towards becoming a global economic power, it is also facing the problem of the internet being a vast resource of information and news and a forum for the free exchange of ideas. Thus, China has shut down political bulletin boards and instituted strict censorship schemes that prevent people within China from accessing some Western sites such as news from CNN, the BBC, Reuters and The Washington Post. Similarly David Lyon consider that behind their ?Electronic eye' made available by the introduction of the ICT, the states but also the individuals themselves -through voyeurism- create a ?surveillance society' out of our democracies mots. [...]


[...] For example political parties have established ?bulletin boards' on the Internet which permit the availability of information for public access, thus hoping to encourage and increase participation in a time of political apathy. Some states have even seen in the Internet structure a way to deal with the voting-abstention problem trough an electronic voting-system, enabling citizens to vote from their living-room instead of having to go to their polling station. For example, the State of Arizona during the 2000 elections have tried the online-voting system and has found a rise of almost 600% in terms of participation. [...]

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