Democracy in essence requires that all members of the society have a say in the decisions that effect their lives. This means that everyone needs to decide what it is they want and then elect those who have the most aligned agenda.
To achieve true democracy people need information so that they can make an informed decision about who they would like to govern them. Sadly our system does not allow for this. Lobby groups often wield fistfuls of dollars to influence politicians and the public that there agenda is not just the right agenda but the only agenda. They often represent minorities yet somehow they have the loudest voice. This system stifles democracy.
I am often accused of being idealistic… Perhaps I am but I see a future where as a result of the ability for anyone to disseminate content of their own creation, those Democratic Nations can become more democratized than they currently are. Not only will people have the right and means to vote, they will have the access to unbiased, honest, real information that allows them to make an informed decision.
The mainstream media used to perform this function however the archetypal image of the journalist who fairly and reasonably presents all sides of an argument is disintegrating. The new model of journalist is a malleable, reporter who presents the side of the argument that their publication espouses. It comes from the top of course. Big business owns big media houses and big business have agendas which are often communicated through their media publications. I know I can go and get a newspaper or jump on the net and find the kind of articles I relate to by journos with similar politics and ideals to me but I know I’m not getting the whole story. How am I to build a formed vision of the world if I can’t access the counter point of view?
So how does this change if it is the big media organisations that dominate the news landscape? Well this too is changing. More people are seeking out alternate sources of information. This is as a result of access. Twitter, Bloggers, organisations like Avaaz.org and GetUp.org are creating an upwelling of concerned citizens who are seeking more information than they would otherwise have access to. They also contribute to the dialogue and agenda. It’s not to say that these groups or the bloggers lack bias… The difference is that they don’t sell their message based on non-bias. In many cases they declare their bias. Armed with this new knowledge I now know I need to seek the alternate view. I am no longer an unsuspecting consumer who is led down the garden path never realising their is an alternative.
So do we live in a more democratic world than we did 10 years ago? Probably not… Could we live in a more democratic world? Yes!