Digital democracy: How the American and Hong Kong civil societies use new media to change politics

1 Aug 2008

Democratic participation faces challenges in many modern societies, including the United States and Hong Kong. Americans are confronting growing executive power and legislative gerrymandering, and the resulting disillusionment of the electorate. Hong Kong citizens are struggling for something more basic about democracy?universal suffrage. New media, based primarily on the Internet, which allows users much more autonomy to create and distribute content than traditional mass media, are being heralded as the savior of government by and for the people. Time Magazine, for instance, selected "You" as its 2006 Person of the Year, in part due to the emergence of blogs and YouTube videos as a political force in the 2006 U.S. mid-term elections. Can new media actually boost democratic participation and change politics in a lasting way? Or is such optimism as inflated as internet stocks during the dot com mania at the beginning of this millennium?

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