Luana Maria BIDAȘCĂ
In this article, I attempt to discuss how the internet can be used to stimulate an effective communication between citizens and decision-makers. In particular, I will aim to see if it can facilitate a greater degree of deliberation among citizens, if it can make democracy more inclusive and if it can make decision makers more responsible. I will first look at the definition and characteristics of deliberative democracy. Then after looking at what has been written so far about the effect of online discussions on democracy, I shall analyze the role the internet played in two case studies: web based participatory budgeting (PB) and domnuleprimar.ro (DearMrMayor.ro). Both of these platforms were designed to create a closer bond between decisionmakers and citizens and will thus prove relevant to the discussion. Finally, I conclude that while the two case studies seem to favor increased inclusiveness, it only partially increases accountability and does not register any significant progress with regard to deliberation. Still, I argue that reasons for optimism exist even with regard to the deliberative aspect. Since the debate regarding the value of online deliberation is far from over, more research is needed in order to perhaps design a framework which will allow us to exploit the democratic value of the internet to its full potential.
- Deliberative democracy
- Participatory budgeting
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