Opportunities of Digital Media

The potential of digital democracy lies in its ability to increase democratic participation, embrace diversity of opinion, and empower marginalised groups. We identified six clear opportunities from the literature that digital media offers. These are: the democratisation of information publishing, broadening the public sphere, increasing equality of access to and participation within political processes, increasing participation and engagement in political processes, increasing transparency and accountability from government and promotion of democratic values.

Broadly speaking these opportunities fit into two categories: First, those that enable individuals, citizens or groups, who due to their status in society have been excluded from fully participating in different aspects of the democratic process, through greater access to the levers of democracy. Examples include the use of digital media to: broaden the public's engagement with indigenous people and their lives, give more exposure to women in politics, build well-networked, educated and empowered communities, and encourage political engagement from youth.

The second category of opportunities relate to digital media's use by people in governments to make the processes of democracy more inclusive, to increase engagement with citizens, improve transparency of government work, and rebuild trust in democratic processes. Examples of such work include online deliberative democracy processes, open or e-government initiatives, and funding of public service journalism, platformed on digital media.