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Carrots and sticks: internet governance in non-democratic regimes
by Martin Karlsson
International Journal of Electronic Governance (IJEG), Vol. 6, No. 3, 2013
Abstract: The utilisation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) by non-democratic regimes remains one of the most widely debated issues within the e-democracy field and has gained further importance as global e-participation rankings have indicated an expansive growth of e-participation development in non-democratic countries in recent years. Do these developments indicate a democratisation of these regimes in which online participation plays a central role? This commentary article states the opposite argument, drawing on empirical data on e-participation as well as filtering, surveillance and internet censorship. The analyses indicate that non-democratic states characterised by high levels of e-participation generally combine these utilisations of ICTs with reactive strategies for controlling citizens' internet use. These dual strategies of internet governance generate substantial doubts about the democratising potential of the internet.
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