Democracy is the government of the people. In some cases or often said, democracy is misused and misunderstood. The most common phrase used to define democracy is of the people, by the people and for the people. While democracy comes along with freedom, it has paved a way for a democratic foundation. The use of people’s freedom has created a sense of relief and peace-making at most. In a democratic country, human rights are considered as well as equality for all, they are all interlinked. Just as to say that if there was no democracy then there would not be any sort of freedom, along with human rights and equality. (Ait).
New media is not an easy definition, as how new media evolves so does its own definition. It is used through mass communication and has become a central use in the political development.
According to Socha and Eber-Schmid, in the Information Age, new media may have its disadvantages. For example the digital divide, citizens that are divided according to the access of social media. In comparison with those in rural areas and those in the suburbs. If a customer is interested in buying a product online, he is more likely to come from the suburbs then from an individual in the rural era. In the good light, new media is not only used for social entertainment purposes by in businesses as well. Today new media is in fact a breakthrough revolutionary because it enhances/enables the way people can construct information in different ways. It has made work or publishing more organised and broad; one has options to post a photo, video and blog.
In today’s world of digital age and democracy, there have been a number of good impacts towards society. The rise of those that have been silent and abused, have been given a chance to voice their struggle. Social media has played a role of fighting against inequality and brutal treatment among each other. Some have raised issues of corrupt systems or the dislike of the upbringing of the state. Blogging and other online sites have captured the cruelty of the GOP’s reputation which was conveyed by George Allen’s incident and Mark Foley’s pages. In good use of the social media, elections are progressed through social networks. Most candidates, ministers and Presidents are part of the constant update of social networks. The way people approach others evolves with time and leads to how one uses social media no matter the position they hold.
Looking at the history of Hong Kong, it is one of the few countries that do not participate actively in the activities of the new media world. Yeung (2008) claimed that their systems are restricted from certain sites and are not able to freely use the media however they would like to. Since the early 2000s, more citizens are taking part in the new media and democracy movement. Some citizens in Hong Kong that go against these systems are fined or prisoned. This goes back to the practice of democracy, though living in the 21st century how can this be the representations of democracy? Observing on the United States and Hong Kong, they both have well access to technology and good economic development. But have complete different views on cultural, political and social developments.
If one can compare United States to Hong Kong, it is rather known for its active participation in politics or the economy from mouth to mouth. United States is in fact a democratic country. While in Hong Kong it is not the case of free-willingness. There is a difference in how one can participate in the U.S and in Hong Kong. As a result it disables those in Hong Kong in how they use new media in a so-called democratic country.
There are a number of examples of political change. In Philippines, citizens used phone texting in the People Power II-which reached a disaster of the former President, Joseph Estrada in 2001 and led to losing his position. Technology and its advanced social media facilitate the issues of a state more openly. It acts as a tool to help recognise crisis or any problems that an individual can pick up. Even if new media had not existed, these issues would have still been addressed through another alternative. Chances are that it would have taken a longer period.
The democracy movement is more of an advantage then a distraction overused rights. It gives one the ability of self-empowerment. When in a democratic country, citizens are given the chance of participating and being active in whichever party. It becomes a worthwhile experience for each individual. New media plays a role of more competitive elections, which leads to candidates to explore more of their weaknesses and challenges.
In terms of statistics of the Eurostat (2014), one will find that they are those that have never used a computer in their lifetime. In the beginning of digital age, when internet was first introduced it could only be accessed by a computer. As technology has developed and advanced, internet is accessible on several of technology devices such as cell phones, laptops, iPads, etc.
In Europe, looking at 26 regions, there are 35% of the population that have never used a computer. It was estimated that in 2013, 19% of the population from ages of 16-74 fall under the category of no use or knowledge of a computer. In Southern Romania, Sud-Muntenia, the majority of its population 51%, have never used a computer. Out of 187 regions in the EU, of 62 regions were counted down to 90% of those that have used a computer. New media has an effective role in those that are divided between rich and poor and those that do not have any knowledge of what is a computer.
Government Communications (2014) states that in South Africa, currently in the year 2014, we celebrate 20 years of freedom but is there really democracy in this country? Though are a number of households that have water, electricity and public goods. And it is said that it is not enough there is still a route to a better life for all. Challenges will always be part of the development of better standard of living. In the South African Constitution; it is of open societies which every citizen is equal and is protected by law. There must be a continuous path to strengthen and protect each individual’s freedom.
Ait. (n. a. ). What is Democracy?-Defining Democracy. Available: http://www.ait.org.tw/infousa/zhtw/docs/whatsdem/whatdm2.htm [Accessed: 12 September 2014].
Eurostat. (2014). Information society statistics at regional level. Available: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statitics_explained/index.php/Information_society_statistics_at_regional_level [Accessed: 12 September 2014].
Government Communications (GCIS). (2014). Key issues-20 Years of Freedom. Available: http://www.gov.za/issues20years/background.htm [Accessed: 12 September 2014].
Socha, B. & Eber-Schmid, B. (n. a. ). What is new media? Available: http://www.newmedia.org/what-is-new-media.html [Accessed: 12 September 2014].
Yeung, R.L.K. (2008). Digital Democracy: How the American and the Hong Kong Civil Societies Use New Media to Change Politics. Available: http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2008/04/digital-democracy-yeung [Accessed: 12 September 2014].