Just been watching an interesting debate at FORA.tv. The debate was on how the internet affects democracy in the hands of its users. This being the people or the masses.
Lets look at the for and against on the topic of how the internet affect democracy.
1. We have those who use the internet themselves and set up facilities to encourage people to use the internet as freedom of speech. Here they feel that this is the main idea of a democracy where people can get to use their voice.
2. We have those feel that the so called experts of the old communication medium, being the newspapers, radio and TV make mistakes and so this leads to people looking for other opinions on the internet.
3. We have those who feel that it is too hard for the ordinary public to express themselves on TV, radio and older sources of communication. They feel that you would have to be rich, famous or exceptional to be heard and thus the internet is a great source of expression and creativity.
1. We have those who feel that the internet is getting over satiated with information that after a while the quality of the information goes down.
2. We have those who feel that the internet can not be fully trusted because it is in the hands of those who produce information that cannot be viably trusted.
3. We have those who feel that the internet is a dangerous weapon against democracy, because it allows the power of mass media and communication in the hands of the uneducated.
Who are those against?
Farad Monjoh and Andrew Keen
Who are those for?
Jimmy Whales and Micha Sifry
My View on the debate
I have not fully finishing watching the debate, but I am leaning on the side of the Internet being no threat against democracy, but that does not mean that there are no dangers. Why?
It is true that the Internet is much content that cannnot be easily viable, but then this can also be the fault of the researcher or user who does not look for more than one source of information. There are also those within our society that seek to use the Internet to spread rumors and lies, but then this can be done with other forms of media. Still, the Internet can allow such false information to spread rapidly.
But what of the dangers of those who seek to control the Internet?
Well for instance, what if our so called experts decide to dismantle the internet because they feel it is a tool that is too dangerous for those who do not understand the notion of freedom or the responsibility of producing correct information?
Well my blog here would go! Does it mean I have a set agenda to destroy democracy? No! That is not my agenda, my main agenda is to share what I have learnt. I could be wrong in what I know or I could be right, but if I have no channel to express myself, then I would never be heard. There will be no debate and no one would learn anything.
There are plenty of countries out there that will curtail peoples freedom in the name of that the Internet is too dangerous a tool and it will cause chaos in society, but then is this in the name of democracy? Somehow I do not think so.
I feel democracy itself has allowed the Internet to appear, if this was not the case then the Internet would have never been born in the first place. Democracy is more than a form of government, it asks for inventiveness, creativity, expression and opinion for the people and by the people. Democracy is rule by the mob and cannot easily be protected by the elites who feel they know best. The internet can be dangerous for not just one form of government, but for many forms.
Still who is to say that democracy is not any more dangerous for those who live by this form of government?
At the end of the day, the internet or any form of government are just tools that are meant to better our lives, but what really counts is the agenda of the individual or the masses who use the tools.
You can watch the debate here