About IPDI

Since the debut of the World Wide Web, we have learned that networks of computerized media can accommodate as much and as many kinds of communication as we care to bring to them. Many things can, and will, happen online. There is room enough in the exceptionally malleable and decentralized multimedia environment referred to, for simplicity’s sake, as “the Internet” for a variety of political voices to be heard, and for a profusion of political entities (parties, interest groups, personal followings) to coexist. To a great extent, the pandemonium that is contemporary politics will be replicated online. However, if the history of technology is a reliable guide, a general template for what occurs online will be stamped for most Internet users during the next few years. Corporations and governments will consolidate their presence, and set a pace, tone, and context for politics. Consumer tastes and habits will form; production standards will be established; and myths will spread about an election winner here and advocacy group there who prevailed “because of” their online prowess. To what extent will the “norm” which emerges in this formative period be harmonious with the values we have associated with democratic communication at its finest? Freedom of expression. Universal access. Government accountability. Social tolerance. Public deliberation.