According to Professor John Merrill, “A country is not democratic simply because voting is permitted. Only a small portion of the people vote, and those who do have no real say in determining who runs for office. Then, after the election, the people recede back into oblivion, and they have little to say about ongoing government decisions. Rather than democracies, what we have around the world are various kinds of plutocracies, aristocracies and autocracies. People rule only in theory, and, at present, a meaningful democracy is a myth… What we have worldwide today is democratic rhetoric. There appears to be no real attempt to open the doors to the people and provide real democracy. Vested interests in the capitalistic media and in the autocratic or party-dominated media conspire against democratization. Presently, media are used chiefly as advertising channels, propaganda instruments and entertainment havens. There is no real effort to expand democracy either in the media or in government… The media, especially the new media, can perhaps do something about this. Without the authority of media owners and strong governments interfering with interpersonal communication, the new media may be able to reach millions of people directly without any “gatekeepers” and achieve a level of freedom never before seen in press-government-people relationships.” Read more

How does the Internet impact our democratic process? Do you agree with Professor Merrill? What attempt is being made by political entities (traditional political parties and others) to use the new media to influence the way that we vote?

If you are aware of any pertinent links besides those which I have listed here and would be nice enough to pass them on to me, I would appreciate it.


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