Political Policy

Web-based Communication on Public Attitudes and Political Policy Making

The communication system of the industrial society was based on mass media, largely television, radio and the print press. Such technologies allow for the mass distribution of a one-way message from one-to-many. New forms of social media, such as SMS, blogs, social networking sites, podcasts and wikis, cater to the flow of messages from many-to-many. They have provided alternative mediums for citizen communication and participatory journalism.
Social media has been used as a tool to support development outcomes and to push for social change and transformation. Despite the growth of information and communication technologies in the developing world, in particular mobile phones, some technologies may not be accessible to marginalized groups, which can reinforce inequalities in society.
Further, there has been little comprehensive research or rigorous evaluation of the causal influence of social media. As such, its ability to contribute to development outcomes and social change remains contested. While recent discussion on the political impact of social media has centered on the power of mass protests to topple governments, social media's real potential may lie in supporting civil society and the public sphere.
It has enabled citizen groups to mobilize and hold governments and politicians accountable as never before, expanding public participation in democratic processes. Social media, in particular, can reconnect citizens with their democratic institutions, whether parliaments or political parties, in new and dynamic ways.
On the other hand, fragmented web-based decision-making is not necessarily suited to complex policy-making, the committee points out. Replacing representative democracy with some form of “direct democracy” via Internet voting would bring the risk that small groups with greater resources could dictate final decisions without being known or required to account for them,...