"If they come they will build it" : managing and building e-democracy from the ground up

Flew, Terry & Young, Graham (2004) "If they come they will build it" : managing and building e-democracy from the ground up. In Chen, Peter (Ed.) The Australian Electronic Governance Conference 2004, 14-15 April, 2004, Centre for Public Policy, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.


The possibilities for using online media to promote deliberative democracy and enhance civic participation have been identified by many. At the same time, the ‘e-democracy score card’ is decidedly mixed, with the tendency of established institutions in both government and the mainstream media to promote a ‘push’ model of communication and information provision, which fails to adapt to the decentralized, networked, interactive and many-to-many forms of communication enabled by the Internet. This paper will discuss the experience of the National Forum, which is building an Australian e-Democracy site of which <www.onlineopinion.com.au> is the first stage. It aims to be a combination of town-square, shopping centre of ideas, and producers’ co-operative which will allow citizens, talkers, agitators, researchers and legislators to interact with each other individually and through their organisations. Its aim will be to facilitate conversations, and where required, action. This project can be understood from a myriad of angles. At one level it is an open source journalism project, at another it deals with knowledge management. It can also be approached as a forum, an archive, an internet arketing initiative and an eCommerce resource for civil society. Central to the project is the development of feedback mechanisms so that participants can better understand the debates and where they stand in them as well as gauging the mood, desires and interests of the nation on a continuous basis. This paper deals with the practice, theories and economic models underlying the project, and considers the contribution of such sites to community formation and the development of social capital.

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ID Code: 393
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: To appear in Australian Studies in Journalism, Volum 13, No. 1, 2004.
Additional URLs:
Keywords: electronic democracy, online communications media, open source journalism, social capital, citizenship, civic participation
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100) > Communication and Media Studies not elsewhere classified (200199)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 (Please consult author)
Deposited On: 07 Dec 2004 00:00
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2017 14:37

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