How invention of the Internet changed the world? How it contributes to the spread of democracy? Does it have any impact on it? These questions are under debate till nowadays. In this paper, I will try to express my viewpoint on this dispute. To begin with, let briefly look at the Egyptian revolution which was held in 2011. It was the first revolution where social media and Internet played the crucial role. ” After 30 years of living in a “fake democratic system” under Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian people had had enough” (Pritamkabe, 2011).
After fake election in 2010, people, especially young generation, decided to make a protest in order to create a real democratic system. “There was no freedom of assembly in Egypt, and protests or political activism was banned” (Pritamkabe, 2011), but social media helped people to band together . Using Twitter and Facebook, people were discussing and organizing protests against the government. Government was not happy about this and later it shut down access to the Internet for 5 days. It made situation even worse and people started to show their disappointment on the streets.
A lot of videos were posted on the Youtube and the whole world could be aware about the following circumstances. All in all, the new elections were held and citizens had an opportunity to elect the new president. From this revolution, we can see how much power Internet has nowadays and that this type of media can provide actual and not fake information for other countries. One of the key elements of democracy is the good governance that means that government should focus on public interest and act in behalf of its citizens.
Everybody would agree that due to the Internet, it is easier to access information you need. It enables governments, political parties and other political organizations to interface with citizens and present their ideas that lead to an increase in political participation and stimulate democracy. In addition, it allows you as the citizen to meet and exchange the views all the parties concerned. Moreover, Internet and other media help people to be aware what is going on around the world and to be up-to-date about global events.
It makes people more educated and helps to make rational decisions. The other element of democracy is a freedom of opinion, speech, press and mass media. Internet is a place, where all these things became possible. Due to the Internet, people can speak their mind, share their own opinions and the most importantly – they would be heard. Now people have an opportunity to come together online and discuss on worldwide problems, provide advices and try to find solutions.
Here even long distance does not play a role and it is a huge advantage of the Internet. Government accountability, and have checks and balances in a constitutional system, are crucial elements required for the functioning of a real democracy” (Pritamkabe, 2011). In order to build a good relationship between state government and its citizens, there must be transparency of governmental actions. As the result, it builds trustworthy relationship between people and government that leads to better political participation and fair elections, better observation of election results and reduction of corruption.
In fact, Internet and e-governance helps to create it. Certainly, Internet has its negative side. It can be used to promote violence in the world, such as terrorist attacks. For instance, “terrorist groups like Al Qaeda have been using internet for spreading extremist and anti-American view” (Pritamkabe, 2011). There are still a lot of gang-related videos in such sites as a Youtube, which promote violent actions and incorporates more and more people.
Moreover, from the Egypt example, we can see that government have a power to turn off Internet connection with respect to its own interests. It seems to be a violation of democratic system, there freedom of speech, press and mass media have to exist. To conclude, even that Internet have a negative effects on the spread of democracy, generally its positive factors overweight the negative side. I estimate that Internet possibilities, such as we know them today, are not available in non-democratic states.
The development of the Internet is a result of joint actions among governments, commercials companies and individuals. It is the result of free movements of ideas and international cooperation on a global scale. In fact, these actions are heavily restricted in non-democratic countries. In authoritarian countries, Internet is used as a tool for the democratic opposition. It is used by the people who are fighting for human rights, free elections and political freedom. Therefore, Internet is a tool for spreading democracy and rooting out authoritarian rule.
Courtney from Study Moose
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