New Media and Democracy

One of the main characteristics of new media, the flows of information can be possible between user groups or individual users (Törenli, 2005: 159). It is mentioned that when participant emphasis of democracy is realized, internet is a really important tool to improve democracy. So is it really true?

According to information society thesis, while information is spaning, the power will be shared and governments will be more participant, apparent and transparent with the coercion of technology (Neuman, 1991: 32-33). On the other hand, there are some critical thoughts aganist the information society thesis. For Ellul, posibilities of civilan resistance has no chance in view of “system of technicians” which is independent and reproduce itself again and again. Actually, new technologies do not present a different thing from standadized products of culture industry. Accordiing to Schiller, there is not a thing like information society, it is just a conceptualization to reinforce market economy. Tourinne also emphasize that it is a social phase after the industirialization (Törenli, 2005: 225). For Hacker, the discourse of information society and communication technlogies turn democracy into a technical problem (Hacker, 1996: 214).

According to John Street, electronical democracy presents the model of Ancient Greek’s direct democracy (Street, 1997: 31-33). In contrary, the concept of electronical democracy is criticized. Technology can not resolve the problems of democracy. Although one of the requirements of democracy is information freedom, there is no concrete data to prove that majority of information reinforcesthe democracy. Besides, the differnce between information and knowledge is important. Information is a fact that its accuracy is polemical. The other critical thought is “to be electronical” makes nonsense of democracy. It refers to democracy is just perceived as voter behaviour (Timisi, 2003: 210-212).

Most of people believe that information is an easiliy accesiable source anymore, however it is like a fairy tale in this unequal conditions. They desregard economical and technical differences (Törenli, 2005: 220). The possiblities of new media about collecting, processing, circulating and storage of information are instrumental in activity of elites in lieu of ordinary people, so the liberalizing and participatory effect of new media is not realistic (Törenli, 2005: 219).

Bibliography

  • Street, John (1997). “Remote Control? Politics, Technology and ‘Electronic Democracy’”. European Journal of Communication. 12(1): 27-42.
  • Theaker A (2006), Halkla İlişkilerin El Kitabı, Murat Yaz, Çev, İstanbul: MediaCat Kitapları.
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  • Törenli, N. (2007), Bilişim Teknolojileri Temelinde Haber Medyasının Yeniden Biçimlenişi: Yeni Medya, Yeni İletişim Ortamı, Ankara: Bilim ve Sanat Yayıları.
  • Van Dijk, J. (2004). ‘Digital Media’ The Sage Handbook of Media Studies, John D.H. Downing, Denis Mcquail, Philip Schlensinger, Ellen Wartella (ed.) . London: Sage 145-163.
  • Neuman, W. (1991) , The Future of the Mass Audience. Cambridge University Press.
  • Hacker, Kenneth L. (1996), “Missing Links in the Evolution of the Electonic Democratization”, Media, Culture and Society, 18: 213-232.