democracy Archives — LIRNEasia

Challenges of digital-age politics

Posted on April 5, 2018  /  0 Comments

Occasionally, I accept invitations to speak on subjects I am still exploring in my mind. The talk I am going to give today at an event called Festival of our Future falls into that category. Should I apologize for not knowing the full and complete answer on how to fix politics? Not really. This is from a book review written by one of the world’s leading political philosophers: In recent decades, American public discourse has become hollow and shrill.
Nothing really new in my opinion, as the kind referral surmised. Asia is now Facebook’s biggest user base. That has given the company unprecedented political sway across the continent, where it inadvertently shapes the media consumption of hundreds of millions of people. The impacts are amplified in the region because vast swathes of relatively new internet users turn to Facebook first as their primary gateway to the rest of the web. Meanwhile, it’s become clear that the attitudes and policies the Menlo Park-based company adopted when it was primarily a U.
Cass Sunstein wrote in 2001. I have the book. He updated it. The basic thesis was that people would enclose themselves in ideological bubbles and not hear the other side.
The Minister of Science, Technology and Environment, Dr Keshav Man Shakya, who inaugurated the conference said that he kept thinking e governance though he was asked to speak on e democracy. In my talk, I decided to explore the interface between the two. I did not think it very useful to talk in broad generalities but wanted to bring up specific things that Nepal could do within a year or two. What is e democracy? Is it the broadest meaning of replacing representative democracy with direct democracy enabled by the ability of citizens to ostensibly vote on all matters requiring collective decisions?

SMS election monitoring in Senegal

Posted on April 6, 2012  /  0 Comments

I have an unusual interest in Senegal. I’ve been there several times, but more than that, the former Foreign Minister and one of the unsuccessful Presidential candidates, Cheikh Tidiane Gadio is a good friend. So I follow the news more closely than usual. Here is a little piece from the Economist. The novelty is the use of a computer server outside the country.
Since Rheingold wrote of Smart Mobs, activists have been atwitter about the potential of mobile phones and texting to effect democratic change. The ongoing struggle against the theocratic dictatorship in Iran has given many examples. But it also shows the limits. When the government shuts down the SMS system, or indeed the whole network, what happens to mobile based organizing? What are the conditions for the government not shutting down networks?