Internet and Democracy

Posted: August 29, 2010 in Uncategorized

After reading Morozov’s article, I couldn’t help wondering what is the origin of Internet. What were in those people’s mind when they decided “OK, let’s create an Internet”? I doubt if it was the urge to build a more democratic society at the first place. Such beautiful consequences as “more openly shared information”, “more public sphere” and “a more democratic society” are more like  side effects of the action which was  started by other motivations.

So I googled “the origin of the Internet“, finding the predecessors  of the modern Internet are four connected computers located in four different universities throughout United States. And the purpose of this connection was to protect Pentagon’s confidential information if a nuclear attack occurred.

It was after the appearance of the first World Wide Web browser “Mosaic” in 1993, the Internet began to be used widely and publicly by common people.

The article tended to focus on the “evil” side of Internet, giving examples of how Internet can empower the “enemy of civil society”, increase useless information and generate cyberspace attacks.  But I’m pretty sure the author was optimistic, or at least neutral about Internet, since every drawback is actually a correspondence of a positive trait.

Although Internet belongs to new media, its nature is similar to the traditional ones. In essence, it holds the same benefits as well as defects. Maybe those benefits and defects are bigger or smaller in various cases, they are still there. People discuss freedom of speech and free access to information in cyberspace nowadays just like several couples of years ago when people debated for the same things about newspapers, radios and televisions.  The dilemma of media rights and its responsibilities has never been solved and the debate never stopped. There are always someone who advocate for the total freedom of operations and expressions of media, and others assert the limitation of that. What is media responsibility? To whom media is responsible? Or should there be any responsibility at all? The balance of answers is always inclined.

Here is the link to a book chapter which discusses Gordon-freedom controversies in media ethicswritten by Gordon and Kittross(1999). It provides opposite opinions about this topic and I found it inspiring.

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Comments
  1. The source of your first link (The Origin Of The Internet) is not a good one. Why? Well, ask yourself: Who is “AllSands,” the website? Who is the author of the article? It does not even give the author’s name. There is no date. This information is not reliable. In fact, it is not wholly correct.

    Please do not feel embarrassed — this is a common mistake made by MANY students!

    When we link to a source, we must be able to certify that the source can be trusted. It must be reliable. How do we know? Because we recognize the publisher, the author, and/or the author’s credentials.

    Your post does not make references to anything specific in Morozov’s article. I am sure you read the article, but this blog post does not show any evidence that you read it.

    Your second link is not a good one because it goes to a restricted source. I was not able to view it. Perhaps it was from another course you took, but no one else has access to that.

    Your links in these blog posts must be functioning links that anyone can access.

    • Sijia says:

      Thank you for your comments.

      I’m so sorry about the links. I’ve uploaded the pdf file for the second link so that everyone can actually see it.

      I’ll definitely consider the credibility of sources more carefully next time. And I’ll refer to the article more specifically in my following posts to show clearer associations.

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