Technology to Support Participatory Democracy
Ann Macintosh (International Teledemocracy Center, Scotland), Elisabeth Davenport (International Teledemocracy Center, Scotland), Anna Malina (International Teledemocracy Center, Scotland) and Angus Whyte (International Teledemocracy Center, UK)
Copyright: © 2002
This chapter focuses on the development, application and impact of information and communication technology on civic representation and participation in the democratic process. Governments, at local and national levels, need to restore public confidence and interest in the democratic process. They need to improve the turn out at elections and, importantly, they need to address the underlying sense that, except during election campaigns, the views of the public are not actively sought or, importantly, listened to and taken into account. This chapter gives practical guidance on how parliaments and governments can develop, apply and manage information and communication technology (ICT) to address this concern and to support the public to participate in setting agendas, establishing priorities and making policies–to strengthen public understanding and participation in democratic decision making. However, the question is still unanswered as to whether ICT will enable more open, democratic and effective government. In this chapter we will explore this question and consider the positive and negative affects of technology on the democratic process.