0 IntroductionWith the gradual penetration of Internet into all aspects of human life, all aspects of information are more easily to get, information is more transparent. Social groups are connected through the Internet, the boundaries of various classes are being broken down or disappeared, and people demand more respect, call for equal treatment and require democracy and freedom. With the Internet as a basic tool, everyone can contribute to democracy, the power of democracy is exerted through the Internet, the power of democracy is growing, and media liberalism is realized through the power of the Internet. Therefore, in our research, we will find the evidences to prove that the Internet is a democratization tool and focus on the ways Internet can be used to promote democracy in the big background of liberty in a digital era.2.0 Research questionsHas the Internet become a democratization tool?In which ways can it be used to promote democracy? 3.0 Research objectivesTo identify if the Internet has become a democratization toolTo describe the ways can be used to promote democracy by the InternetTo determine in which ways can Internet be used to promote democracy in different countriesTo estimate what degree of democracy can be promoted by the InternetTo compare the degree of democracy promoted by the Internet in different countriesTo analyze the condition for democracy promoted by the Internet in different countriesTo collect proof to prove that the Internet is a democratization tool4.
0 Expected outcomesInternet has become a democratization tool in many countries. The Internet’s ability to enhance political debate, mobilization and participation can be used to promote democracy ( Hoff, 2006, p41). Besides, the globalization and globalized markets largely facilitated and accelerated by the Internet leads to the consequent free flow of information allows for the efficient passage of more “democratic” information (Best & Wade, 2009, p256).
Education and middle class was the crucial aspects (Chen, 2013, p45). The political realities of a democratic society will manifest themselves only if democracy is cultivated and nurtured at the grassroots, which is, established from the ground up in schools, families and the wider communities (Loo, 2007, p14). The ‘democratising’ influence of the Internet is only as effective as allowed for by the country’s communication, political, legal and institutional structures, the public discursive culture and the people’s readiness to actively engage in the political process by using the Internet as the medium for this engagement (Loo, 2007, p2).If the government can filter the content on the Internet and remove the ‘undesirable’ ideologies which are recognized to be wrong universally, then to some extent, democracy can be achieved.5.0 Significance of researchThe need for democracy caused by the Internet has become a kind of pressure and responsibility for the government, and affects the making of policies, and these are precisely the significant impact that Internet has brought to the world. The Internet connects the world together, making the flow of information more real-time and smart, allowing us to deliver the right information to the right people in the right way, at the right time, right place. With the Internet as a basic tool, everyone can contribute to democracy, the power of democracy is exerted through the Internet, the power of democracy is growing, and media liberalism is realized through the power of the Internet.
6.0 Discussion6.1 The ways Internet uses to promote democracyThe key impact of the Internet on democracy follows from its ability to enhance political debate, mobilization and participation. The Internet is said to be providing radically new forms of information access and dissemination that are critical for the active participation of citizens in the political arena.
As political participation, especially in participatory theories of democracy, is a measure of democratic politics, the Internet thus becomes a major tool for democratization (Hoff, 2006, p41).(Thiagu, 2000, p52) suggests that the Internet, for example, offers us a ‘new paradigm for the spread and accessibility of information’, which is the ‘lifeblood of a functioning democracy’. It is founded on the idea that globalization and globalized markets largely facilitated and accelerated by the Internet force governments to keep their countries’ communication borders open.
The consequent free flow of information allows for the efficient passage of more “democratic” information (Best & Wade, 2009, p256). 6.2 The precondition for Internet as democracy toolThe single most important question to ask about the role of the Internet in emerging democracies is the extent to which the Internet serves the democratic aspirations of the citizens of these countries (Zaid, 2016, p50).Users of the technology determine if the civic and democratizing potential of interactive communication technology can be realized.
Therefore, the Internet is only a tool that enables users to disseminate their ideas and opinions. The ‘democratising’ influence of the Internet is only as effective as allowed for by the country’s communication, political, legal and institutional structures, the public discursive culture and the people’s readiness to actively engage in the political process by using the Internet as the medium for this engagement (Loo, 2007, p2).In Freedom and Culture (1939) philosopher John Dewey suggests that democracy must begin and end in a culture of equity and freedom; that the political realities of a democratic society will manifest themselves only if democracy is cultivated and nurtured at the grassroots, that is, established from the ground up in schools, families and the wider communities. Without a viable culture of freedom, the constitution (or the Internet for that matter) can do very little to salvage the political reality of democracy (Loo, 2007, p14). (Chen, 2013, p45) believed education and middle class was the crucial aspects.
6.3 The content on the Internet need to be filtered(Best & Wade, 2009, p255) show that some regions do not enjoy a positive Internet/democracy correlation suggesting that the Internet can be used both as a tool for democratization as well as an instrument for authoritarianism.To the governments, the Internet is seen as a double edged sword — as it opens up the marketplace of ideas, it also ushers in ‘undesirable’ ideologies, thus justifying the need for governments to cast wider the net of state censorship, firewalls and data filters(Loo, 2007, p8).(Thiagu, 2000, p52)warns that the mastery of the tools of information technology by itself is not enough; even more crucial is the content of the information that is disseminated through the electronic channels of this new age. They can control what kind of information that is being shared and Internet is simply just another tool to spread information, argues (Chen, 2013, p43).If the government can filter the content on the Internet and remove the ‘undesirable’ ideologies which is recognized to be wrong universally, then to some extent, democracy can be achieved.6.4 World overviewWhile this global dimension of the Internet can indeed contribute to the democratization process, it has to be contextualized and examined within specific national contexts (Hoff, 2006, p30).
6.4.1 AfricaFor Sub-Saharan Africa, the analysis reveals a close alignment between ICTs and democratization. But the Internet is primarily used by the elite (Akpan-Obong, Alozie, & Foster, 2010, p2).For African countries dealing with unique and increasingly complicated political and socio-economic issues, the Internet provides a platform from which citizens can now address these issues themselves and, in doing so, contribute to a public sphere that strengthens the democratic fiber of their countries (Van Rensburg, 2012, p93).It is glad to see that the Kenyan government has recently given priority to ICTs for the promotion of democracy in recognition of the important role it can play. Several projects have been launched in support of government objectives to enable all citizens to be part of a political and public sphere (Van Rensburg, 2012, p110).
6.4.2 AsiaAsian nations can be considered generally as fledgling democracies and the advent of the Internet definitely has varying possibilities and implications on the polity of these nations (Hoff, 2006, p22).In relation to the impact of new technologies, especially the Internet, on Asia, (Thiagu, 2000, p51) suggests that there are, today, in Asia, ‘progressive currents’ and ‘retrogressive countercurrents’, which cannot be ignored. Ibrahim states that the ‘contest between the ‘ardent advocates of democracy and civil society’ and the reactionary elements (usually those in positions of political and/or economic power), who are opposed to any type of democratic expression is one of the great themes of Asia today and will remain so in many decades to come’. 6.
4.2.1 ChinaFor China, information on the Internet is still subjected to censorship for the Chinese citizens today (Chen, 2013, p5).
18.104.22.168 MalaysiaWhether or not the Internet has facilitated a successful alternative public sphere in Malaysia, is too early to tell at this stage. However, since the arrest of Anwar Ibrahim, there have been, and still are, signs and evidence of the Internet facilitating increased political activism by some Malaysians (Thiagu, 2000, p76). 6.4.
2.3 KoreaThe varied forms of online media that have developed in the past several years in Korea are helping to nourish a new form of democracy, participatory democracy. Participatory democracy, in turn, is helping to foster the continuing development and spread of the internet in Korea. The continuing development of the internet and of the netizens protects and nurtures new online forms that have become a new institution for the continuing struggle to maintain and extend democracy (Hauben, 2014, p37).6.4.3 Egypt (Arab area)While it might be early to assess the effects of the internet on Egypt and on the Arab world in general, (Abdulla, 2005, p158) believe the new medium offers a chance for political and social transformation, and for the creation of a more active civic society.
It can be argued that free flow of information is bound to be enhanced by access to the internet and would force Arab leaders to be more open and allow greater freedom of speech in their countries. Such a free flow of information would undermine censorship and force a more active public sphere, and eventually, have an effect on political decision-making. Thus, access to the internet could eventually lead to a freer, more liberal and diverse media and a more democratic, decentralized and open political system (Abdulla, 2005, p159).It is an advantage of the Egyptian government that its members realize the potential of technology and the internet for the advancement of society (Abdulla, 2005, p160).With a new government that believes in the importance and potential of informational and communication technologies, Egypt now has the chance to serve as an information technology center, and eventually, as a model for political and civic participation in the Middle East and the Arab world(Abdulla, 2005, p162).
However, the 2013 and 2014 reports show that the Arab countries use almost all types of Internet control. The reports found that surveillance was the most significant trend. On a global scale, the report also found that 35 of the 60 countries that were assessed had widened and reinforced their technical or legal surveillance powers over the 2-year period (Zaid, 2016, p57).6.5 LimitationMany of these studies have essentially extrapolated the democratizing properties of the Internet from its technical characteristics (Hoff, 2006, p22). Most studies on the democratic potential of the Internet reveal significant theoretical gaps and recent experiences of the political impact of the Internet in Asia cannot be understood without a thorough contextualization of the analysis (Hoff, 2006, p23).
The majority of earlier studies of the effects of the Internet on democracy are case studies and/or largely theoretical analyses. Few previous studies approach the issue of Internet and democracy with data-driven analysis (Best & Wade, 2009, p255).BibliographyChen, F. (2013).
Internet and Democracy– A study of the Internet’s influence in China. Huddinge Municipality: Södertörn University.Hauben, R.
(2014). The New Dynamics of Democratization in South Korea: The Internet and the Emergence of the Netizen. The Amateur Computerist, 31-38.Hoff, J. (2006).
Political Participation and Democratization. Copenhagen: NIAS Press.Abdulla, R. A. (2005). Taking the e-train: The development of the internet in Egypt. Global Media and Communication, 149-165.Akpan-Obong, P.
, Alozie, N. O., & Foster, W. (2010). Cell vs. Internet: The Impact on Democratization in Africa. Santa Catalina: Arizona State University.
Best, M. L., & Wade, K. W. (2009). The Internet and Democracy: Global catalyst or democratic dud? Bulletin of science, technology & society, 255-271.Loo, E. (2007).
The Internet and Governance in Asia: A Critical Reader. Singapore: Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC).Thiagu, J. (2000). The revolution will not be downloaded? (Internet and democratization in Malaysia). Melbourne: Victoria University of Technology.
Van Rensburg, A. H. (2012). Using the internet for democracy: A study of South Africa, Kenya and Zambia. Global Media Journal, 93-117.Zaid, B.
(2016). Internet and democracy in Morocco: A force for change and an instrument for repression. Global Media and Communication, 49-66.