Revolution 2.0: Democracy Promotion in the Age of Social Media

New communication technologies from the printing press to Facebook and Twitter don’t cause revolutions alone, argues Mark Sedra in an essay for the Globe and Mail. But fast means for distributing criticism and making plans can spur activism, particularly in promoting democracy. Social networking has emerged as the Web communication “medium of choice in the developing world, with those who are wired typically spending more time on social networking sites than e-mail,” explains Sedra. Foreign intervention or haranguing can backfire, leading to setbacks for local movements. Instead, democracy promoters in the West can develop a strong infrastructure, enabling social-media tools and innovations that allow citizens living in authoritarian states to access a free internet. Of course, the same principles apply for governments and citizens in the West – blocking or criminalizing criticism, as has been done with WikiLeaks, protects a powerful few rather than society. Sedra concludes that an open and free internet is a strong internet. – YaleGlobal

Revolution 2.0: Democracy Promotion in the Age of Social Media

A free and open internet spreads the best ideas and unnerves the powerful
Mark Sedra
Friday, February 18, 2011
Mark Sedra, a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, teaches at the University of Waterloo.
© Copyright 2011 The Globe and Mail Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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