Electronic democracy (e-democracy) or e-participation are collective terms for different forms of political participation via new media, especially the Internet, which enable citizens to participate in political decision-making processes. They are to be distinguished from forms of e-government, which aim only at the optimization and modernization of administrative processes through information and communication technology.
The digital change is taking place in many areas of life. It affects society and everyday life and does not stop at politics and democracy. This necessarily leads to consequences for the development of democracy and participation. Around the triangle of internet, politics and democracy, so-called net politics has outlined an independent field of politics, the importance and governance structures of which is being struggled for in society and in party politics.
The Internet itself is apolitical. As a technical aid, however, it offers a variety of options to facilitate the accessibility of political information and political participation as well as the exchange between politics and citizens and within civil society. Online discussions, online voting, online petitions, and online campaigns are specific ways in which citizens can participate and exert political influence. This is where the internet’s democratic potential lies.
Limits and Dangers
Questions of data protection and data security are connected with the use of the Internet and e-mails as well as malaysia seo. The Internet is seen as the ideal way to initiate more citizen participation and increased civic engagement. The new interactive communication and participation options are seen as an opportunity to revive democracy.
In parts of the discussion, there is a technical enthusiasm that suggests that the offer of new technology and a technical infrastructure alone is sufficient to initiate new forms of engagement and participation. But the potential of the internet does not realize itself, it has to be consciously designed and shaped.
Technology does not solve the problems of participation and engagement. Technology can only be the means in the hands of social actors to solve problems. Especially since the Internet not only solves problems, but also intensifies existing problems (marginalization) or creates new problems of its own accord (digital divide in society). Short-term and quick successes are just as unlikely as the solution to the great problems of democracy.
Challenges and tendencies
Without the mass media public losing any of its importance, a series of political processes will take place on the Internet (political information, opinion-forming and deliberation, agenda setting, organization and mobilization) and will radiate to the mass media public in the form of topics, debates and political actions.
The formation of “virtual” political communication communities (based on political interests, sensitivities, topics, world views) is facilitated by the Internet. This not only increases the diversity of political communication, but also the segmentation of the public.
The demands of politically interested and well-informed citizens with regard to access to political information, the transparency of political processes and also participation in decision-making via the Internet will grow.
For user groups with little competence in dealing with the possibilities of political communication and information on the Internet (due to socio-economic status, educational qualification, age), the Internet can remain closed as a source of political information and participation.
As a negative side effect, the openness of the network also implies a lack of quality assurance bodies. The assessment of the reliability and seriousness of the diverse information and sources available on the Internet and the corresponding selection processes could not only pose problems for the last-named user groups.