The Paradox of Digital Democracy: How Technology is Both Empowering and Limiting Political Participation

The formation of the information society raises many issues related to the peculiarities of the functioning of the political system. The prospects for developing electronic democracy, electronic governance, and changes in citizens’ participation in political processes can be considered the most relevant. Here is more about it.

What is the introduction of impact of technology on politics

The existence of humanity, the formation and development of society, and the state are connected with information. The evolution of means of collecting, processing, and transmitting information includes events that led to information revolutions. The widespread use of Internet communications affects politics. Today, the Internet is increasingly a platform for implementing political practices. Internet communications and information technologies are being introduced into the work of public authorities; they serve as tools for the political mobilization of citizens, contribute to the emergence of new forms of citizens’ participation in making political and managerial decisions, and expand the possibilities for conducting political campaigns. However, the potential of Internet communications, like any other innovation in politics, can be used by political actors in different ways. Thus, in the political practice of modern states, one can find many examples of how Internet communications turn into channels for manipulating the mass consciousness of citizens and are used to disrupt the stability of political regimes.

The central problem of the topic of the impact of technology on politics that gives rise to many acute discussions among researchers is the question of the nature of the influence of the Internet on democratic institutions and processes. Do Internet communications have a significant positive impact on the state’s political system and contribute to the democratization of the regime?

Indeed, Internet communications carry enormous potential. The development of electronic services of citizens’ circulation to the bodies of state power, the application of Internet voting, and the development of electronic participation – all undoubtedly change the appearance of modern democracy. An essential condition for realizing this potential is the nature of the political regime.

Beneficial effects of technology in politics and governance

The critical area of modern changes in political management is digital transformation and transition to communication technologies such as Web 3.0 technologies, social networks and media, direct online and online voting platforms, software for joint use of data, and placing open data sets. The innovation of digital management and communication systems is associated with their interactiveness. Providing party members and its activists access to the preparation and discussion of political decisions will increase the level of self-organization of the party and its readiness for constant changes. Based on this, the following advantages of using digital technologies in the activities of political parties can be distinguished:

  • Efficiency and convenience

Modern information technologies allow you to create horizontal communication networks and transfer political participation into the format of media platforms, significantly reducing transaction costs of political participation and decision-making.

  • Motivation and stimulation of political participation

In the context of a crisis of confidence in political institutions, new mechanisms to stimulate political activity and participation become popular. In this regard, the use of new technologies contributes to the motivation of the involvement of both involved activists and interested but inactive citizens. The main communication tools are official sites of political parties, video blogging, social networks, and media.

  • Improving pluralism and transparency of solutions

The low level of intraparty political participation and confidence in party institutions is also associated with the opacity of the decision-making system, the absence of collective negotiation systems, and the coordination of interests. Digital management and communication systems can increase the transparency of decision-making since their use involves the promotion of the open data policy and participants’ access to sensitive information.

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