Lets be honest: There is no clear or single definition of eDemocracy – however, there seems to be agreement that eDemocracy describes the use of ICT to promote democracy and to practice democracy in the widest sense, and that eDemocracy is closely related to Open Government.
eDemocracy can be applied to the democratic processes of local communities, federal states, nations and on the global stage. Democratic actors and sectors in this context include, in order of importance, citizens, political organisations, the media, elected officials, and governments. eDemocracy, like democracy in its ideal form, is a direct democracy.
Social networking is an emerging area for eDemocracy, as well as related technological developments, such as argument maps and eventually the semantic web. Another related development consists in combining the open communication of social networking with the structured communication of closed panels including experts and/or policy-makers. Those are seen as important stepping stones in the maturation of the concept of eDemocracy. The social networking entry point, for example, is within the citizens’ environment, and the engagement is on the citizens’ terms. Proponents of eDemocracy also perceive government use of social networks as a medium to help government ‘be more human’ and act more like the public it serves.
The Nordic countries have a strong tradition of democratic dialogue and engagement and are actively using digital tools to support these processes. Our senior consultants have worked on a number of government eDemocracy projects and campaigns.
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