We all love Democracy right? Its one of those things you love without fully understanding what it is, like freedom or hot dogs. So what does it mean when the Council of Europe starts calling for more democracy on the web? This week the Council of Europe will be holding the 2009 Internet Governance Forum in Egypt. While it would be beyond the scope of this blog to point out the irony of holding a forum on e-democracy in a country with a sham democratic system of government, it would behoove us to discuss what e-democracy is.
The internet is recognized to be the means by which everything comes to pass. It can be said that a large number of people in the world effectively live on the internet. Their financial transactions, social interaction, entertainment, learning and working are all done on the internet. So like every aspect of human life, the internet needs to be controlled and it needs to be done in a way that will jive with current governmental/ economic setups, so what else but a democracy?
What does this mean? Are we voting on internet content? e-democracy, according to the Council of Europe, means equal access to content and equal opportunity to produce content. The internet then is an extension of "freedom of expression" or "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" The country of France went so far as to decide that internet access is a fundamental human right. But will the internet become intrinsically linked to our understanding of democracy?
So what do you think? Is the internet a fundamental human right? What does democracy on the web mean to you? Is democracy the best way to govern the web? Should national governments decide how the internet should be run? Should only national governments with democratic systems be allowed to decide? What about China, who currently hosts the highest number of internet users in the world? What should they talk about at the 2009 Internet Governance Forum?