“It has been said, and with good reason, that while society has entered the digital era politics has remained analog. If democratic institutions used the new communication technologies as instruments of dialogue, and not for mere propaganda, they would breathe fresh air into their operations. And that would more effectively bring them in tune with all parts of society.”
These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
“Mobile phones in the developing world have myriad uses: banking services, reminders for medicine regimens, e-governance, and more. This is a far cry from a generation ago when 99 percent of the people in low-income countries lacked POTS, or “plain old telephone service.”
Information and communications technologies are now indispensible for development, prioritized through varying levels of market-driven measures and participatory politics. From international organizations to local administrations, the importance given to these technologies for development today is a counterpoint to the immediate post-colonial era when telephones were considered a luxury and nationalized radio broadcasting was used for bringing “modern” ideas to populations. Along with policy changes, the move toward market forms works to ensure that people have phones and access to communication infrastructures, in turn providing incentives for entrepreneurs and political brokers to develop applications for delivery of social services and provide alternatives to users who in an earlier era lacked even basic access to these technologies.” READ MORE
- Communication Technologies
- The Guardian
- Open Government Partnership
- social media
- Global Voices Advocacy
- Mobile Media Toolkit
- Hosh Media
- youth engagement
- citizen reporters
Much is being made of ICT and social media in the context of public protests. Governments in distress clearly seem to believe in their power, since they continue to try, sometimes successfully, switching off the many-to-many communication channels that protestors use to organize themselves and to distribute information and materials. When new media were truly new and scholars wondered about the phenomenon and its political effects for the first time, the major question was whether ICT could mobilize people that would not otherwise have been politically active or whether it is "merely" a channel for the already active to organize themselves more efficiently.