E-government - From Real to Virtual Democracy

E-government - From Real to Virtual Democracy -...

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E-Government: from Real to Virtual Democracy By Maria Elena Murru Boston University Brussels, 11 April 2003
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E-Government: from Real to Virtual Democracy Boston University 1 Table of contents 1. Introduction 3 2. Definition of democracy 4 3. E-Government actions in Europe and United States 5 3.1 European Union approach 6 3.2 United States approach 10 4. Participation: how citizens can influence the system 12 5. Equality: e-inclusion 14 6. Access to information: how transparent and accessible are 18 public institutions? 7. State of the art in Europe and United States at March 2003 21 8 . C o n c l u s i o n s 2 3 Annexes Recommendations Bibliography
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E-Government: from Real to Virtual Democracy Boston University 2 1. Introduction In Europe and United States, the use of the Internet and other computer networks in the public sector has sparked a debate about new forms of democracy. This study analyses how the use of Internet technologies by governments to provide services and interact with citizens – so-called e-government – contributes toward the enhancement of democracy. New communications technologies have always significantly altered the nature of communication between citizens and their governments. For example, the printing revolution, the discovery of radio signals, and the television each in different ways facilitated access to information, and helped citizens to participate in the decision- making process, enhancing democracy. However, at no other point in history has a communications technology had such a rapid and broad impact on society as the Internet. Unlike previous media, the Internet represents an innovative democratic tool because it allows people to directly interact with the information with which they are presented, regardless of geographic boundaries. Citizens, for the first time in history, may communicate with each other and with government authorities more freely, associate with interest groups more easily, vote online, and (soon) be able to actively participate in all the stages of the decision making process: evaluation of needs, gathering of information, decision taking, evaluation and correction of actions. Thus, the Net has a number of democratic potentials, including: interactivity point-to-point and non-hierarchical modes of communication low costs to users rapidity as a communication medium lack of national or other boundaries anonymity Information is the “raw material” of a democratic society and Internet can foster dissemination of information and at the same time increase citizen participation. However, the Internet cannot be considered as a solution for today’s democratic deficit, but just as a tool that can be intelligently used to enhance democracy and citizen participation.
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E-Government: from Real to Virtual Democracy Boston University 3 2 Definition of democracy The root of modern democracy is found in the Greek Athenian political model (V Century BC) 1 . The word “democracy” comes from the Greek words ‘ Demos’ , meaning ‘citizens’ and
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This note was uploaded on 10/03/2010 for the course CSE 1234 taught by Professor Cho during the Spring '10 term at Bangladesh University of Eng and Tech.

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E-government - From Real to Virtual Democracy -...

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