From Media in Transition
Democracy and New Media
Digital technology is changing our politics. The World Wide Web is already a powerful influence on the public's access to government documents, the tactics and content of political campaigns, the behavior of voters, the efforts of activists to circulate their messages, and the ways in which topics enter the public discourse. The essays collected here capture the richness of current discourse about democracy and cyberspace. Some contributors offer front-line perspectives on the impact of emerging technologies on politics, journalism, and civic experience. What happens, for example, when we increase access to information or expand the arena of free speech? Other contributors place our shifting understanding of citizenship in historical context, suggesting that notions of cyber-democracy and online community must grow out of older models of civic life. Still others consider the global flow of information and test our American conceptions of cyber-democracy against developments in other parts of the world. How, for example, do new media operate in Castro's Cuba, in post-apartheid South Africa, and in the context of multicultural debates on the Pacific Rim? For some contributors, the new technologies endanger our political culture; for others, they promise civic renewal.