The Democratisation of Diplomacy: Negotiating with the Internet
48 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2009 Last revised: 26 Aug 2012
Date Written: November 1, 2004
The worldwide diffusion of the Internet, Web and associated information and communication technologies (ICTs) provides a major challenge across society. Whether as citizens or as users (or non-users) of the technology, the Internet affects us in significant ways, directly or indirectly, because it reconfigures access to you and to the world. Not only does it change how we get information and communicate with people, but it also shapes what and whom we know. The process of appropriating, shaping, and controlling technology, and adapting to the systems we create, is a constant part of our lives. However, the speed with which the Internet has been taken up and its extraordinary acceptance as a tool in most sectors of society, particularly in the developed world, have left governments grasping to find ways of adapting, and of instituting systems that represent best practice for its use in democratic societies. This research report by Richard Grant on the democratisation of diplomacy through the Internet is one attempt to measure the nature of the problems which have arisen, and to define some guidelines on how one part of the Government - Foreign Ministries - might respond. It was the background for a symposium organised jointly by the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) and the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on 11 November 2004, which was attended by distinguished foreign affairs and ICT practitioners, researchers, senior government advisers, and senior media representatives. Discussion at this event confirmed that the issues raised in the paper are valid and pertinent.
Keywords: internet, ICT, democracy, diplomacy, technology, government, communication channels, governance, information
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