ICT in Direct Democracy: E-Referendum, a Well-Structured Direct Democratic Participation Evolvement or a Democratic Illusion?

ICT in Direct Democracy: E-Referendum, a Well-Structured Direct Democratic Participation Evolvement or a Democratic Illusion?

Stavros Amanatidis (Novo Nordisk, Denmark) and Olga Eirini Palla (Copenhagen University, Denmark)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9461-3.ch007
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Abstract

This chapter presents and analyzes the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in public participation and more specificly in e-referenda as an aspect of direct democratic participation. It aims to explain the correlation between ICT and e-referenda. Referendum, used as an instrument to accept or deny a proposed political decision, has a strong function of controlling political power and securing the openness of political power structures. It serves as an instrument of division of powers and opens roads to opposition outside parliament. In general, it provides the people with veto positions (Schiller, 2003, p. 12). By presenting the evolvement of the ICT and the technological developments that resulted an impact on the way democracy is being exercised in the modern societies, there is an attempt to provide ideas and solutions on the use of e-referenda in modern democracies. The dangers, the advantages, and the disadvantages of the use of ICT in democracy are presented and analysed as well. All these issues are being discussed, as this chapter tries to give a clear and objective perspective regarding the role of e-democracy and the problems that come along with its implementation.
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3. The Right To Internet

The right to Internet access, also known as the right to broadband, is related to the availability of people’s access to the Internet in order to exercise and enjoy their rights to freedom of expression and opinion and other fundamental human rights. According to the United Nations Human Rights Council report, which examined the important question of whether internet access is a human right, access to the Internet has two dimensions: access to online content, without any restrictions except in a few limited cases permitted under international human rights law; and the availability of the necessary infrastructure and information communication technologies, such as cables, modems, computers and software, to access the Internet in the first place.(UN Human Rights Council Report, 2011, p. 4).

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