The bond between the citizens and the institutions: the online democracy

It has passed more than four months since the World Forum For Democracy, however the information obtained within that event are useful even nowadays. Through the Council of Europe, the initiator of this project, we can offer all these information to all interested, contained in the final report, Connecting institutions and citizens in the digital age.
The theme targeted democracy revitalization with the help of social networks. The debates have started from the fact that the citizens lost their confidence in their representatives, which leads to the necessity to create new methods of communication between elected and voters. Thus, different initiatives have been analyzed at a global level, for facilitating people’s implication in the decisional process, using the internet advantages. It has been found that the traditional democracy does not meet any longer the citizens’ needs, but it can be corrected through the virtual space. Of course, the implication of the public authorities and representatives is also needed, but it can also get to situations in which one citizen might determine a beneficial change for the society.

For example, the Change.org platform manages by the means of online petitions to grow the participation of the voters to the political life. After a campaign on Change.org, only one girl determined a stricter regulation of the acid sale (the attacks with acid are very common in India , precisely because of the easy way to procure it). Another example, the Russian Public Initiative succeeded to reunite the population for protests against what happens in Ukraine nowadays.

It is obvious the advantage brought by the internet for democracy. We find ourselves in the digital era and in the century of speed, in which the obstacles generated by the physical impossibility to be close to the citizens can be overcome through blogs, forums and other similar communication platforms which can be used by the people representatives to re-engage them in the political life. These projects create hope for the future regarding the reconstruction of democracy at a global level, a democracy based on trust and respect.
People’s possibility of getting involved in the online regulation it is still not used on a large scale because of the problems regarding the data protection and confidentiality, being necessary the creation of a very strong security system. However, the optimists consider that soon there will be a system which will be able to meet the requirements of this kind of relationship between elected and voters, so that the citizens will be interested, will get involved and will have the chance to influence the decision making.

OSPV hopes to participate in the 2014 debates that aim to answer the question: “From participation to influence: can youth revitalize democracy?”.

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