A New Medium For
Assess the impact of the development of the Internet on the nature and quality of political participation in modern liberal democracies. Has it had a positive or a negative impact? In your answer provide at least two examples that support your position. In recent times, it has become impossible to deny the impact the Internet has had over the lives of private citizens, corporations and states. Not only has it affected economies, education and governments worldwide, it has also opened up an unstoppable flow of information. Not so long ago, people only had periodical access to the news; one would read the newspaper in the morning about yesterday's events. Nowadays, information has become much more instant, direct and readily accessible through a multitude of platforms. The political arenas, ranging from the smallest communities, to international interest groups, have also been deeply affected by the ease of access brought on by new technologies. But to which extent does the Internet affect the political participation on the local, national and international scale in the Western World? Does the Internet influence the political scene for the better or for the worse? This paper will attempt to build a case towards the improvement of political participation through the use of new information and communication technologies and will touch on three major aspects. Firstly, we will analyze the means of communicating political ideas. Secondly, we will examine how political participation has changed and how much power it has granted new actors. Lastly, we will examine a case study of how the Internet played a major part in a monetary scandal in France earlier this year, leading up to the dismissal of the freshly appointed Minister of the Budget. It is critical however, before delving any further into the matter, to define clearly what political participation implies. According to Hague and Harrop:
“Political participation is activity by individuals formally intended to influence who governs or the
decisions taken by those who do so. Citizens can be classified both by the extent of their political involvement (e.g. gladiators, spectators and apathetics) and by the form their engagement takes (e.g. conventional, unconventional or ...