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Internet Makes Governments More Responsive To Voters

December 9, 2013

The transformative role played by the internet is highlighted in an article in CircleID that says the top-down approach the conventionally powerful – politicians, business elites, international organisations among others – use to control the less-empowered masses is changing due to technology.
“Governments and international organisations will need to transform like all the other sectors. The top-down paradigm no longer works; a much broader approach needs to be taken, from the bottom up, if they are to remain relevant in the new digital age,” says Paul Budde of Paul Budde Communication.

Interestingly, as it is published, mass agitation for internal political change is taking place in Thailand where the people want a more responsive government, while in Ukraine people are using their power to influence the government in making foreign policy decisions – to break ties with Moscow by leaving the customs union or strengthen relations with the European Union by entering a stronger trade agreement. But in neither country is the media fully free.
Budde goes on to state that internet surveillance has alienated users from governments.”The current spy scandals are placing a further strain on the people-politician relationship. People might not react strongly to the issue but the spying situation will most certainly make them more wary of their governments. They will be more guarded towards them, and less trusting. This is, of course, further undermining the status of politics and politicians,” he says.
He goes on to say encryption and other methods will secure internet data leaving it invulnerable to mass surveillance.
As interesting is the role he sees for traditional media not as gatekeeper but as promoting of mass participation to enhance the quality of information and deepen its penetration.
“The internet enables people to obtain a much broader view what is going on around them. In the past political outcomes often had to be simply accepted, as — beyond elections — the people were unable to effectively influence them. Now these outcomes can be ongoing scrutinised and checked against the real facts. (…) Not only this — they have access to each other, and can organise themselves online to more effectively influence such outcomes.”
To read the full article click here
Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.