Political change in the digital age


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C.P John, politician from Kerala, India, talks about how the process of political change is affected in the digital age and by the advent of websites like wikileaks, twitter, facebook etc

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Political change in the digital age

  1. 1. ‘ Political Change in the Digital Age’ – an overview CP John 15 th December 2010, S.N College, Chempazhanthy
  2. 2. “ The Internet is one of the most democratising forces humankind has ever known..” - Ian Henderson, Writer and Conflict Practitioner, African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes
  3. 3. How has the internet aided democracy? <ul><li>Participatory Democracy </li></ul><ul><li>Transparency in Government and Military </li></ul><ul><li>Citizen Journalism </li></ul><ul><li>Crowd sourcing </li></ul>
  4. 4. A Timeline of the Internet influencing Political Change
  5. 5. 2002 - South Korea <ul><li>Development of Citizen Journalism and Independent Online media </li></ul><ul><li>Important factor in the Presidential elections of 2002 </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional Korean media controlled and manipulated </li></ul>
  6. 6. Citizen Reporters in Korea Korean Internet Users
  7. 7. <ul><li>S Korea has one of the highest rates of overall internet connectivity in the world </li></ul><ul><li>The website ohmynews.com, created by Oh Yeon Ho, played a pioneering role with nearly 40000 citizen reporters </li></ul><ul><li>Internet activism developed with the CAGE (Citizen Alliance for General Election). </li></ul><ul><li>CAGE releases 3 sets of ‘blacklisted’ candidates </li></ul><ul><li>Roh Moo-Hyun adopted a largely online strategy for his Presidential campaign, including his fund raising strategy and was the eventual winner </li></ul>
  8. 8. 2004 –‘ Orange Revolution ’ in Ukraine <ul><li>In Nov 2004, Victor Yuschenko was reinstated after being defeated in a fraudulent election (Victor Yanukoych was defeated) </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Orange Revolution may have been the first in history to be organised largely online” </li></ul><ul><li>Coordination of activists and protesters via SMS </li></ul><ul><li>Development of independent, online media </li></ul><ul><li>Website discussions to share best practices among activists and reporting of electoral fraud </li></ul>
  9. 9. 2007 - ‘ Saffron Revolution ’ in Burma <ul><li>Unprecedented event in the intersection between politics and technology </li></ul><ul><li>Interaction between eyewitnesses within the country and a networked public sphere of bloggers, student activists, and governments around the globe </li></ul><ul><li>It is also an example of an internet driven protest which did not lead to real political change </li></ul>
  10. 10. 2008 - Egypt <ul><li>A general strike organised against President Mubarak, by young activists using blogs, YouTube and Facebook, matched with a textile workers’ walkout over low wages, became one of the most prominent and effective protests in Egypt in years. </li></ul><ul><li>Incidents of torture in detention centres were revealed by bloggers online. Some blogs now systematically map detention facilities which conduct torture. </li></ul><ul><li>Religious minorities have used the internet to transmit their views and to protest against the discrimination practised against them – the most important example being the blogs of the Baha’i religion. </li></ul>
  11. 11. 2009 - Iran <ul><li>Protests following the 2009 Presidential elections was largely internet driven </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter was the most important tool of the protesters. The U.S Government asked Twitter.com to postpone a maintenance shutdown to avoid any disruption to the protests in Iran </li></ul><ul><li>A widely distributed YouTube video documenting the death of Neda Agha-Sultan became a rallying point of the protests </li></ul><ul><li>Realising the importance of controlling the online discussion space, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) initiated a project to launch 10,000 blogs for the paramilitary Basij forces. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Map of Iranian Blogosphere
  13. 13. China <ul><li>The internet has become the leading platform for dissidents, students, democracy activists to communicate with one another, organise, access banned information etc. </li></ul><ul><li>This has greatly eroded the Chinese Govt’s ability to control the flow of information, even though China has one of the most regulated internet infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>In June 2010, the Chinese Govt published a white paper on its internet policy stressing the guarantee of citizens’ freedom of speech on the internet and suggesting more intensive application of it. </li></ul><ul><li>In order to facilitate the public's reporting of corrupt officials, the central discipline inspection and supervision authorities, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and other relevant bodies have set up informant websites. </li></ul>
  14. 15. USA <ul><li>The Obama campaign used online tools in an unprecedented level, raising hundreds of millions of dollars online through small individual donations, connecting with millions of supporters etc </li></ul><ul><li>MoveOn.org, a liberal and left leaning public advocacy group, raised millions of dollars online and has become a major opinion maker due to its online strategies. It was created in response to the impeachment attempt of Bill Clinton </li></ul>
  15. 16. Africa <ul><li>In 1998, only 1 million people were online in Africa, most of it in S Africa. Today, the average internet penetration has increased dramatically. Now Africa has 51 million internet users. </li></ul><ul><li>Cheap, high speed internet access needs to be implemented in a centralised way in Africa, as consumers are too poor to drive the process </li></ul><ul><li>The internet enables children in Africa to plug in and gain the same access to knowledge and opportunities that exist elsewhere in the world. </li></ul>
  16. 17. <ul><li>&quot;Ushahidi&quot;, which means &quot;testimony&quot; in Swahili, was a website that was initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008. It has now evolved into a powerful platform used by people across Africa. </li></ul><ul><li>Conflict intervention and migration tools are using technology in innovative and effective ways to play a role in managing conflicts on the continent. </li></ul>
  17. 18. Government and Military Transparency in the Digital Age The Wikileaks phenomenon
  18. 19. WikiLeaks: Cablegate <ul><li>On Sunday 28th November 2010, Wikileaks began publishing 251,287 leaked United States embassy cables, the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain. </li></ul><ul><li>The documents will give people around the world an unprecedented insight into the US Government's foreign activities. </li></ul>
  19. 20. Map of leaked cables
  20. 21. WikiLeaks: ‘Collateral Murder’
  21. 22. Suggestions and Next Steps for Kerala
  22. 23. Internet enabled Local Self Government <ul><li>Every elected representative could be given an individual website </li></ul><ul><li>The website should enable people to submit petitions and track progress </li></ul><ul><li>It could become a platform for the elected representative to effectively and constantly interact his/her constituents and vice-versa </li></ul>
  23. 25. Open Government <ul><li>All Government data should be released online in easily accessible formats </li></ul><ul><li>This will ensure transparency and increase citizen participation </li></ul><ul><li>Innovative analyses and correlations using the government data could lead to new and useful insights </li></ul><ul><li>Releasing data related to Govt appointments and contracts will provide much needed transparency </li></ul>
  24. 26. References and further reading <ul><li>Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University ( http://cyber.law.harvard.edu ) </li></ul><ul><li>Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford ( http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk ) </li></ul><ul><li>Ushahidi ( www.ushahidi.com ) </li></ul><ul><li>ACCORD (African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes) </li></ul>
  25. 27. Thank You [email_address]