The Internet has become a space for people to express themselves, to dig up information, even mobilizing the masses.
ICTs for democracy: Information and Communication Technologies for the Enhancement of Democracy - with a Focus on Empowerment
The democratisation process is often uneven and rocky as the power dynamic shifts between governments and their respective constituencies. In practically all cases, however, governments hostile to citizens’ civil and political rights have both the resources and the power to withhold these rights. It is therefore imperative that support be channeled to governments to deepen their awareness of citizens’ rights and the processes needed to ensure they have access to these rights. Equally important is support to civil society groups so that they can demand their civil and political as well as economic, social and cultural rights from their governments. There is ample evidence of the importance of “demand side” approaches for ensuring the longevity of a human rights culture. In the cases of young and emerging democracies, it is essential that institutions, processes and mechanisms be installed to support and underscore national efforts to strengthen democracies. This study by the APC and the Swedish International Development agency explores the potential information and communication technologies (ICTs) have for advancing democracy and empowerment, with a special focus on Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
This is the statement issued by civil society, gathered at the OECD ministerial conference on the future of the internet, which ended on June 18. It says: “The policy goals for the Future Internet Economy should be considered within the broader framework of protection of human rights, the promotion of democratic institutions, access to information, and the provision of affordable and non-discriminatory access to advanced communication networks and services” [pdf format].