Nowadays a lot of people in the World have access to computers and cell-phones, and a lot more people have accustomed themselves to the notion of being digitally literate. In doing so, there has been an increase in radio stations, television channels, an increase in web pages and web bloggers. The media in the contemporary world is more disseminated and disorganised than ever. This has resulted in the formation of a new concept in political communications both the opposition and the ruling parties are using it (Economist, 2011). The purpose of this essay is to argue that, the Internet and World Wide Web are changing the boundaries, functioning and meaning of the political process in contemporary society. This will be done by evaluating the accuracy of this statement, by addressing the issues of ‘in what ways’ and ‘why’. Furthermore this essay will also give a brief description of how political transitions and information communication technologies are connected, how the internet and World Wide Web and the democratisation process affect each other, the factors that limit the impact of the internet and World Wide web, and the results of the internet in the changing the boundaries, functioning and meaning of the political process in contemporary society. 2.1. Political Process in Contemporary Society and the Media Egypt and Tunisia’s political uprisings in 2011 have deepened thoughts on the potential of political internet communication which, has always been linked to the global development of the medium. Information Communication Technologies (ICT’s) are viewed as enabling an easier and open exchange of information, the shaping of different political views plus the inclusion of social actors which were previously excluded from participating politically. For example, a couple of months after a Twitter message circulated around the World, about how Iranian voters protested against the corrupt manner in which the elections were handled in June 2009, managed to capture the World’s attention. Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, stated that, the internet and World Wide Web should be declared as the latest main concern in the foreign policy of America. Making reference Cold War rhetoric, she said a sliding “new information curtain” is most likely to fuel authoritarian rule (Clinton, 2010). Furthermore, the Egypt uprisings were allegedly the protesters made use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, to organise everybody’s presence in Tahrir square in Cairo, lead to the observation that, the internet can be used in processes of political development, democratisation and therefore has made it clear that the internet and World Wide Web will eventually be able to influence future political decisions and form future political expectations. Consequently, this new form of communication caught the interest of development organisations, policy makers, and civil society activists. In western countries, this notion has lead to the enhancement of projects dedicated to the development of potential democratic powers of the internet. The tale of the Facebook/Twitter-revolution has been challenged. Evgeny Morozov argued that, by only focusing on access to information freedom technology, the use of the internet by authoritarian leaders to spread their propaganda ideologies and to intensify censorship is overlooked. He further states that, an approach of this nature would lead to a waste of resources and funds; in addition it would also lead to dangerous consequences for the activist which it aims to assist (Morozov, 2011). Furthermore, research conducted on in 2007 regarding the outcome of the Kenyan post-election crisis showed that it is because of new communication technologies that the conflict and violence erupted (Goldstein and Rotich, 2008 and BBC, 2008). 2.2. Political Transitions and Information Communication Technologies In the European and Latin America region in the late 1980s political...
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