This project has been formulated keeping in view two independent concepts- ‘Digital Technique’ and ‘Being in Sync with Democracy’. We know that the digital technology has made huge strides in its reach and that too at a very fast pace over the last 3 decades.
The significant characteristic of this development is that unlike the traditional media or communication media, it is not under the control of a few vested interests- whether individuals or the Media Houses or groups.
On the contrary, the digital platform renders freedom of expression and affords a platform to every individual, as long as s/he knows how to make use of it and uses it. In other words, it is neutral to class, caste, creed, color, poor or rich and simply the technology is at her/his disposal to communicate, read, write, and engage in dialogue or make submissions or statements. It is the devices like laptop, Smart Phones, Internet that make the on-hand platform available to every person who wants it.
It is not a one-sided entity in the arena of communication. Rather, it is endowed with immense potential for multi-pronged communication across multiple layers. Every person can chose to define his own sense of information and news and assess its utility and determine to share it with the world at large. Today, this freedom is no more available to an individual in the traditional media. Now it has become necessary to expand what we call the mass media of the mainstream. What appears to be the mass media is in effect the mouthpiece of the few!
We believe that newspapers published from the districts carry the local news on local issues. However, the truth is that the news remains confined only to the district circulation. They never reach the state and the national level. This is the reason that despite the publication in the media, albeit the local level, situation remains unchanged.
Today, the media stands fragmented in small parts. Under these circumstances, digital technique can reach the hitherto untracked ears and eyes and make issues and problems transmitted founded on real time facts and Call to Action. India has adopted the democratic mode of governance whereby it is the rule of the people, by the people and for the people. We follow the representational politics whereby the elected representatives formulate policies, laws and rules and regulations.
Experience over the last 7 decades; however, show that people’s role is diminished once they have cast their votes. Accordingly, digital technology renders a significant forum for the people to express themselves in a continuing manner to voice their aspirations and expectations on issues that affect them the most.
The common man today can help in creating public opinion and mandate and can say what is right or what is wrong. When lakhs of people make their point on a common cause or stand, we get to know about the diversity of thoughts that can be enabled by the role of Digital Technology.
In a dispensation marked by exploitation, social and cultural milieu equally share the digital platform. We believe that if the system of governance has to be improved and become pro-people, it must seek to get the feedback from the society, the common people, women and different sections of the society. This will mark a welcome change for the better as it helps in redefining the priorities of the executive, legislature and the judiciary and sets the agenda for restructuring their modus operandi and modus vivendi.
After all, when the barriers of gender give way or geographic distances are bridged, communication and dialogue can leave a lasting imprint on the system of governance.
Now the digital technique is being utilized in monitoring the deliverance of public services and transparency is being sought in an authorized manner. Thus, inequalities are bound to be removed by ensuring that the fruits of development are equitably available to all sections without any favour or fear. Likewise, digital techniques offer significant opportunities to highlight any irregularities when the grievances are raised and addressed in a transparent manner. Digital Democracy is the answer to call to action for securing sustained equality and repelling discrimination in all its forms.
The Project and its Thrust Areas
The project intervention on Digital Democracy addresses the following objectives:
- Ensuring equal access to digital technique and its allied tools for the community, particularly for the marginalised across both the areas, urban and rural.
- Develop community’s technical knowhow and skills so that not only it can use it in accordance with its needs but also it can participate in the development of plans for better, transparent and accountable governance in an informedmanner.
- Bring about inclusive digital literacy across all significant stakeholders, using differentiated and yet intensive advocacy.