Internet’s only as Good as Its Users

Abstract

The ‘democratizing’ influence of the Internet is only as effective as the political culture and the people's readiness to actively use the medium for meaningful engagement, as well as a mainstream media that is capable of being a watchdog on those in power. To achieve the democratic potential of the Internet, (a) we need to develop best practices in socio-political blogging; (b) the basic principles of ethical journalism - transparency, accuracy, accountability, fairness, verifiability - should apply to blogs that claim to provide readers a space to engage in free and honest intellectual exchanges; and (c) the Internet as a tool to instigate fundamental reforms is only as effective as its users, and the environment that allows users to generate new knowledge and critically engage in the political process.