E-democracy, E-voting

Week 7


E-democracy, E-voting

The rapid development of information technology has opened a whole new field of research on the relationship between new technologies and media, primarily the Internet, and the process of democratization. The media have always played a significant role in the deliberations of democracy and democratization.

E-democracy is a relatively new concept, which is still to a lesser extent describes current practices and more closely describes the potential of new communication technologies in the creation of opportunities for implementation, expansion and deepening of democracy.

The functioning of a contemporary democracy can not be considered completely separate from functioning of mass communication, if for no other reason, because of that is a fundamental right that democracy means and without which it is impossible to access to information and especialy to alternative sources of information. In this sense, the internet, because of the number of its content and its sources  (which results in a virtually complete absence of any kind of censorship), certainly provides capabilities which are far beyond the capabilities of any other media. However, the Internet is still a wide range of specificities, among which are the interactivity and speed that allows obtaining confirmation information in real time.

It is interesting that with the development of the Internet, since the seventies of the 20th century to the present, in the social sciences the concept of network takes more central place. According to some authors, the network will be the next leading form of organization – after tribes, hierarchies, and markets that will redefine the society, and with iy the nature of conflict and cooperation. In the context of democracy and democratization should be noted that the network is essentially non-hierarchical form of organization, (which does not mean that the essential democratic).

As an activity that regulates all other activities, politics can not remain unaffected by the changes that internet brought into society. Interactivity of the Internet may have opened up new opportunities for citizens’ participation in political life.

E-democracy is a relatively new concept, which is still to a lesser extent describes current practices and more closely describes the potential of new communication technologies in the creation of opportunities for implementation, expansion and deepening of democracy.

Role of the Internet in the process of democratization can be explored in all contexts the democratization, process of democratic transition, democratization of society in the broadest sense, and the democratization of international relations sphere . Electronic democracy involves the use of other technologies, such as mobile telephony or cable television.

As an activity that regulates all other activities, politics can not remain unaffected by the changes that internet brought into society. Interactivity of the Internet may have opened up new opportunities for citizens’ participation in political life. It is noted that the political parties relatively slow adapting to this new technology. On the other hand, the possibility of voting via the Internet  opened many problems and controversies, like the potential threat to the secrecy of the ballot, and the possibility of manipulation.

Some countries are already using electronic voting. This e-voting map visualizes the current status quo of the world wide use of electronic voting and new voting technologies.




According to International Foundation for Electoral Systems Most of Europe was not using electronic voting in 2012.


Regardless of whether the electronic democracy understood only as a means or as an entirely new form of democracy, it clearly provides some opportunities for democratization.

Internet Revolution

Social movements such as the environmental movement, the human rights or nationalist movements have been making use of Internet as a communication channel to promote relations both among its members and to encourage protest actions. I want here highlight the positive side of the Internet as a resource in the hands of movements which, by its democratic and widely participatory, connected with the aspirations of most humans, but this does not preclude recognizing the “dark side” of the Internet, and that the network can also be used by fundamentalist movements that preach intolerance or totalitarian political groups.
The peculiar characteristics of the Internet favor the use of the network by the effect sociales.In movements, Internet communication is bidirectional, which means a model of man as active versus passive man model (reader, listener or viewer ) promoted by the mass media and often by psychology (man as passive recipient of a stimulus to which responding). The actor model, which grants it the starring role, with initiative and control over your life, is consistent with the social actors involved in collective movements and direct their action, consciously and deliberately, toward its goals.

Internet communication is horizontal, from user to user, and contrasts with the vertical communication hierarchical of some institutions. The alternative non-institutional communication and makes it particularly suitable for use by large numbers of people without access to official media and trying to express opinions and interests opposed to those of the dominant groups.


Participatory journalism which is also known as citizen journalism, street journalism or public media is the act of citizens “playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information.” According to Shayne Bowman & Chris Willis “the intent of this citizen participation is to provide independent, reliable, accurate, wide-ranging and relevant information that a democracy requires.” Citizen journalism is a specific form of citizen media as well as user generated content. The spread of the computers and rapid communication systems has induced the people to deal closely with the media. Especially, the fast development of social media networks, provides a new concept all around the world; “amateur reporters”. The citizens have started to spread the news that they gather, the research results that they find by completing them with photographs, to the online news websites and online newspapers. To transfer the videos on YouTube has become a task for people and everyday thousand of videos have begun to be uploaded on YouTube. Everyone sees him/herself as a “journalist”. Rather, the definition of media journalism has changed.

In recent years, the habits of the readers and viewers have changed because of the rapid development of digital technology. Readers, who have been contended just with newspapers in order to get news for many years, have started to change their attitudes when they see the unlimited possibilities of the internet. New and different behavior modals, trends and preferences have emerged with the technology. Today’s reader and consumer is no longer see the news that are imposed on them by the newspapers sufficient. The reader wants to contribute to the news and they want to be the part of the news. The facilities that are offered by the internet and latest models of 3G mobile phones, allows readers to participate increasingly.

The “citizen journalists” have begun to put forward that they are much more objective and they announce the news, which the media does not want to feature, to the public and they claim that they have an important role in the fulfillment of democracy.

The newspapers and the professional journalists, was not very pleased with this “citizen journalism” concept previously. They side against the citizen journalists. But later, they have realized that they can benefit from that news. Then they have decided to evaluate these free sources after a strict control.

Turkey’s first and only citizen journalism program is “Haber Sizsiniz”. The increasing number of citizen journalists, send news to this program from all over Turkey. It broadcasts the news that comes from the audience every week. Haber Sizsiniz meets with its audience every Saturday.





1-      Keşişoğlu, G. (2009). Vatandaş Gazeteciliği ve Bloglar. Dünya’da Medya. Retrieved from; http://www.dunya.com/

Dictionaries as Online Public Spheres

To start with, public sphere (or public space) which is higlighted and conceptualized by Jürgen Habermas can be described as the areas of interaction within its contributers in fields of political and social issues. To make this notion more dramatized, public spheres are the places like coffee houses in which people gathers and sicuss abut the agenda. However, I believe that, it is not true to limit public spheres as coffee housed. Any place can be a public sphere where people meet and discuss. In this sense, we can include theatres, meetings, formal and informal conventions to the definition. Public sphere plays a significant role in producing public opinion.  

However, as our world grows more global and interconnected, people are now being linked to each other excessively. At this stage, it becomes possible to make some modifications for the definition of public sphere. Hereby, I would like to menion dictionaries which are very popular in our country.  These digital public spheres give chance to people to gather in virtual place and discuss about the agenda. In ‘ekşisözlük’, ‘itüsözlük’ and ‘uludagsözlük’ there are thousands of people interconnected to each other.

Apart from this, can we give Facebook and Twitter as an example of public sphere? My opinion is partly yes and partly no. The reason for this, even though there is an interaction within followers and followed ones, the communication stage is not two step most of the time.  That means, sometimes most people ignore what is shared; sometimes there is a limited space and time to discuss about the agenda which is not sufficient in order to produce public opinion. Nevertheless, these social media tools can be considered as a good way to disseminate the latest topics.

To come back our main concern, dictionaries, they are more likely to be considered as public spheres. In my opinion, virtual world give chance to people to be connected to each other. In recent years, modern social construction gives people almost no chance to meet in large numbers like it is used to be (for example in the ancient Greek gatherings).



– Dahlgren, P. (1995). Television and the Public Sphere: Citizenship, Democracy and the media. London: Sage Publications.

– Habermas, J. (1991). The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Massachusetts: MIT Press.

What We Understand From Citizen Journalism?

Citizen Journalism

Before I start to talk about citizen journalism, I firstly give way to defitions of it. One of them is ‘Citizen journalism is the gathering, writing, editing, production and distribution of news and information by people not trained as professional journalists.’ (http://www.uncp.edu/home/acurtis/Courses/ResourcesForCourses/Journalism/CitizenJournalism.html)  The other  definition is ‘Citizen journalism is seen by  some as an antidote to the widening information gap in societies where traditional news media–print and  broadcast–are in decline.’ (http://cima.ned.org/sites/default/files/CIMA-Citizen_Journalism_Report.pdf) I think that citizen journalism which predominantly appear with the Internet and improvement of technology  because with the Internet which is huge space and create environment for self expression behalf of citizens to promulgate their voices about dissimilar issues. With the improvements of technology citizen use cell phones, computers, tablets to share something. Also, this climate which shows opportunities to citizens.One of the opportunity is to discrimate from mainstream media because in mainstream media people must proffesional writers and they are trained and through citizen journalism,it isn’t important to become  proffessional or not they write whatever they want because there isn’t any limitation or some criterion onto people about what they should be writing. In addition to this, they have freedom to write which unfolds that they are producer and creator about their writings, photos, videos and other things to their interests because they have chance to discuss issues according to their perspectives and the resourse of news are citizens and this is how citizen journalism start to appear.  In addition to this, citizens who set their agendas as they select issues to talk about onto them.

I want to give some examples of website of citizen journalism;

One of the example is that Harass map which is a new social initiative to help restore Egypt’s tradition of public safety for women using an SMS reporting system for sexual harassment to change its social acceptability, spread awareness and revitalize the public movement.

The other example from Egypt. The example is Shayfeen.com which is a popular movement working on monitoring the legality and integrity of the elections in Egypt, through participating via a wide ranging web of Egyptian volunteers.


My last example about citizen journalism is from Tunisie. The wensite which is called Nawaat.org. It is an independent collective blog hosted by Tunisians. It gives voice to all those who, through their civic engagement, spread awareness through media coverage. Our editorial decisions are guided by concerns that affect the lives of our countrymen and our fellow man.


(This informations are taken from : http://storify.com/oms2012/best-practice-examples-for-citizen-journalism-site)

On the other hand, there are some disadvantages of citizen journalism. Yes, Internet is vast amount of information because there isn’t any pressure on citizens to write something and they have chance to write whatever they want in terms of economy, politic, social problems, education etc. I think that this cause information complexities which mean as people read or see, they don’t seperate that which information is true or not becasuse information that citien share is so subjective. The other one is citizen who take hold of freedom of expression and they react something in a harsly way, they criticize brutally and maybe say bad things to other person or things and I think that this situation sometimes cause unrespectful environment.

In conclusion, development of Internet and technology which creates more democratic, participatory environment behalf of citizens in the journalism area. It unfolds that freedom of press, flow of information, mass distribution. With the citizen journalism citizen who don’t only share something in a freely way but also they manipulate people to have an idea about issues and provide take an action about issues. I think that this freedom fetches threat out of advantages side because everyone has right to write and this cause increasing of their aggressive attitudes.











(WEEK 8)

Before I start to talk about media activism, I want to unfold what activism means and what social movements are and then I talk about this issue behalf of alternative media.

Activism is quite simply taking action to effect social change; this occur in a myriad of ways and in a  variety of forms. Often it is concerned with ‘how to change the world’ through social, political, economic or   environmental change. This can be led by individuals but is often done collectively through social movements. (http://www.permanentculturenow.com/what-is-activism/)

Social movements  are purposeful, organized groups striving to work toward a common social goal and social movements happens not only in one country but also actualizes from country to country, region to region, culture to culture, social issues in terms of political, economic, educational and they are categorized with local, state, national and global. In addition to this, social movements are examined under four types which are called ‘Reform Movements’ . Aim of this movement changes social structure. ‘Revolutionary Movement’ which wants to change every aspect of society. The 1960s counter movements are exampled by link which I examine because 1960s movement is anarchist movement. ‘Religious/Redemptive Movement’which aims is to provoke spiritual growth in individuals. The last one is ‘Alternative Movement’ which focuses self-improvement and change individuals behaviour. (I summarize these informations from this link: http://cnx.org/content/m42945/latest/?collection=col11407/latest )

These are firstly I underline activism and social movements so activism and social movements doesn’t appear now it comes from past because people who encountered problems, and wanted to propagate in order to defend their own right, in order to promulgate their voices through protest for organizing collectively. If I give example from history, ‘Anti-consumerism’, ‘Arab-spring’, ‘Ecology movement’, ‘Human right movement’, ‘Women’s Liberation Movement’ were some examples of how activist people took an action for creating social movements .( I take some names of  social movements from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_movements)

Now, I want to take hand that how alternative media makes a contribution behalf of social movements and activist people. Especially, in social media, which are modern version of terms of Habermas (public sphere). My first example is avatar activism. In this activisim is conducted for serving guy rights in USA in 2009. What social media users is that they change their avatars at the same time for showing logo of guy rights. Its effectiveness were argued because it didn’t measured but this shows that how people take an action for guys and make contribution for enlarging their rights to take attention of other people to their rights. (I drew upon this informations from http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/us-news-blog/2013/mar/27/social-media-gay-rights-avatar-activism)

On the other hand, in this link, writer who talks about higher percentage of  using social media since 2008. Yes, the writer talks about how American people especially adults who has posted links about political issues and he gives statistical information about portion which started with %33 and then increases %69 online population and the crucial point which writer want to take attention of readers is ,that social media users  in USA who participate political meeting around Interned and talk about problesm, higher education and their economic condition is so good than non user of social media to talk about political matters. (I benefited from this link before I summarize information (http://www.nextgov.com/technology-news/2013/04/social-media-activists-are-wealthier-more-educated-and-rise/62789/)

Lastly, I give crucial information from article about ‘Social Media Activism from Malaysia and Pakistan’ behalf of social media activism particularly taking hand of Twitter. In this esay, what writer want to examine is to see behaviour of social media activists and sharing issue of media activist from different regions of the world. Writer who take hand 70 Malaysian twitter and 118 Pakistani twitter. What writer did is that looking for content of twitter, retweeter of tweeters.In addition to this, writer aim is to show how people share and talk about political issues and their interests and at the end of the statisques they see that how Malaysian and Pakistani people share same issue through Twitter . As I read this paper, I want to combine theoretical terms of Marshall McLuhan which time space compression. What I mean is wherever people live, they have chance to share and have an idea about what other people thing about different issues in terms of dissimilar topics without boundries. (Link : http://www2012.wwwconference.org/proceedings/nocompanion/wwwwebsci2012_qureshi.pdf)

In conclusion, social movements, activist people which hold a place world which we live because people organized for resisting something for rights, for laws, for political issues, for socio- economic application, justice and education . All these issues happens in our inner life  but every day many things happen and people try to adapt something or against them. Particularly,  with the media people start to awake and want to have an idea about every issue. They search , they take place in the Internet what other people think, how they make a contributions about dissimilar issues. Before movements actualize, they organize, establish contact with them in an easily way because they build networks to take an action collectively and create democratic environment according to their benefits so this is positive and general perpective todays life behalf of media activism, alternative media activism but the question comes to my mind are they effective, are they draw a conclusion as they want to because in behalf of alternative media activism, issues are temporary because people make an effort in a short time, they express their points of view in a freely way , they support movements which available their lifestyles, their ideologies,their political views and they react but I think that many of them don’t mirror their reactions physically in spaces or how many of them take responsibility in a seriously way and because of this reason there is an artifical environment and the effectiveness of movements open discussion.








6- M.Atif Qureshi, Arjumand Younus, Lay Ki Soon, Muhammad  Saeed, Nasir Touheed, Colm O’Riordan and Pasi Gabrielle


Technology Fosters Citizen Journalism

As mainstream media get more and more controlled by states, governments or owners of them, the need for alternative media channels rises up. Some media owners can manipulate information just to preserve their economical interests or relationships with political parties. Luckily, people have some courageous individuals who aim to disseminate events and news in an objective way.

Citizen journalism is getting more common in time. To define shortly what  citizen journalism is, Rogers indicates that, “put very simply, citizen journalism is when private individuals do essentially what professional reporters do – report information.” In this aspect, we cannot neglect the importance of technology. The reason for this, since citizen journalists does not perform this information reporting job in a proffesional way, they need some tools to disseminate their findings. At this point, they are able to use some video, photo or text-based sharing websites to let others know what is happening. Also. integration of cameras with phones permit these amateur journalists to perform journalism. Thus, they do not need to have a TV channel, newspaper or expensive camera stuff.

With the emergence of smartphones, there are many applications became available for anyone who uses that gadgets. One of these applications, called Guardian Witness, which was released recently, made possible to share almost any information with other users.

Link for Guardian Witness:


However, people can use Instagram, Twitter or Facebook accounts to share information with their followers. If we consider that today almost everyone is connected to the internet consistently, loading and uploading information is easier than ever.

Here is a video about citizen journalism;