Internet for participatory democracy The experience of Indonesian NGOs to develop participatory democracy by the use of the Internet Yohanes Widodo Supervisors: Dr. Rico Lie Dr. Ir. Freerk van Wiersum Communication Strategies Group Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group
Strong democracy: “A democracy that reflects the careful and prudent judgment of citizens who participate in deliberative , self-governing communities .” (Barber, 1994)
Deliberative democracy: “Democracy should be more than just a process for bargaining and aggregation of preferences. True participation requires citizens to engage in direct discussion with other citizens”. (Hindman, 2008)
Discursive democracy is “An approach which puts discourses at the centre of democracy. It starts from the assumption that the deepening of democracy requires the intensification of communicative exchanges in several social contexts, encompassing the definition of rules and institutions, processes of decision making and everyday interactions .” (Dryzek, 1990)
Key Characteristics: Information refers to knowledge and information. Interaction refers to deliberative; direct discussion; communicative exchanges. Participation refers to citizen’s participation. Decentralization refers to self-governing.
Applies qualitative method using the case studies of three Indonesian NGOs:
WWF-Indonesia, WALHI, and Combine Resource Institution (CRI).
(1) different level of the organization.
WWF-Indonesia: international/global organization.
WALHI: national NGO as a forum in Indonesia.
CRI: local NGO (based in Yogyakarta province).
(2) different focus/concern of the organization.
WWF-Indonesia: environmental NGO focuses on conservation.
WALHI : environmental NGO focuses in advocacy and conservation.
CRI : intermediary development organization, focuses on the development of media/ICT.
Primary: Interviews and Web analysis/online observation
Secondary: Literature research and workshop participation
Web analysis/online observation Observing online media (website, mailing list, etc.) used by the NGOs. Methodology (2/2) http://www.combine.or.id http://merapi.combine.or.id http://suarakomunitas.net http://www.siar.or.id CRI official website Jalin Merapi (Merapi Network) Suara Komunitas (Community Voice) Saluran Informasi Akar Rumput (SIAR) (Information Channel for Grassroots) CRI 3. http://www.wwf.or.id http://www.supporterwwf.org http://groups.yahoo.com/group/supporter-wwf WWF-Indonesia official website WWF Supporter website WWF Supporter mailing list WWF-Indonesia 2. http://www.walhi.or.id http://groups.yahoo.com/group/walhinews WALHI official website WALHI official mailing list WALHI 1. URL Name of the medium NGO No.
The main strategic uses of the Internet by Indonesian NGOs are various.
The NGOs have different strategic uses of the Internet, depend on the visions or orientation of the NGOs.
WALHI uses the Internet strategically for political movement, shaping public opinion, and collaboration.
WWF-Indonesia uses the Internet strategically for communication, knowledge management, and environmental contribution.
CRI uses the Internet strategically for developing content management, citizen journalism, and strengthening grassroots.
There are similarities regarding to the main characteristics of Internet use in internal NGOs.
The main characteristics of internal use of the Internet by the NGOs are for communication and collaboration; workplace participatory democracy; and consumption and production (searching and publishing information).
The Internet is as a potential medium for participatory democracy because the Internet contributes toward the main characteristics of participatory democracy: Information, Interaction, Participation, and Decentralization.
These characteristics are the ‘cornerstones’ of developing participatory democracy by the use of the Internet.
Indonesian NGOs develop participatory democracy by creating websites, mailing list or forum.
However, they have different strategic uses of the Internet, so that the implementation and the achievement in respect to stimulating participatory democracy are various.
The Internet plays a role as an empowering tool to strengthen community development because it enhances public dialogue, civil society networking, and strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations.
Citizen journalism or community-based journalism is the best and the most effective medium to develop participatory democracy.