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Can e-democracy improve participation?. What is E-democracy Synonyms- tele-democracy, direct democracy, digital democracy, e- governance, e-participation,

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Presentation on theme: "Can e-democracy improve participation?. What is E-democracy Synonyms- tele-democracy, direct democracy, digital democracy, e- governance, e-participation,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Can e-democracy improve participation?

2 What is E-democracy Synonyms- tele-democracy, direct democracy, digital democracy, e- governance, e-participation, deliberative democracy, cyber democracy… ICT based solutions that offer the public an opportunity to influence and participate in the policy process.

3 Why is it necessary? Political Participation declining Membership of political parties down Voter turnout low General distrust in politics

4 Examples of E-democracy Online Questionnaires Discussion Forums Webchats with elected representatives directories Online Voting (Estonia and Switzerland) Streaming footage of debates Political information

5 Why has e-democracy become popular? More people have Internet Access: 13.1 million had home access in May 2005 Government increasingly obligated to show accountability Internet is becoming a media for protest (e.g Make Poverty History and Fathers for Justice) Novelty factor

6 Arguments for e-democracy Facilitate dialogue between public and government Empower populations and strengthen community engagement Reduce barriers to participation such as time, geographical location and allow for views to be expressed in a private non- confrontational arena

7 Arguments for E-democracy cont. Appeal to “hard to reach” groups (e.g young people) Innovative solutions could encourage “bottom up” participation. Knock on effect on “conventional” democratic process

8 Arguments against e-democracy Undermine legitimacy of institutions/ Institutional reform not keeping up Could be dominated by well-organised groups Danger of abuse/ Security Issues Limits of participation: how much participation do people want?

9 The Digital Divide Approximately 1/3 rd of the UK population have never used the Internet 74% of 18 to 24 year olds used the internet compared to only 15% of those over 65 (Curtice et al 2005). Wide differences in use between highest qualified and least qualified 85% of professional and managerial households have home computers with internet access in 2004 compared, at the other end of the social scale to 35% of those people who are unemployed or reliant on social benefits (ODPM 2005).

10 Is E-democracy Effective? How are the results collected and analysed? If anonymous how can abuse be prevented? Do the results feed into the policy process? Limits of democracy and participation Whose problem is digital exclusion? Paradigm shift or simply another tool?


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