Political parties online: Digital democracy as reflected in three Dutch political party web sites
SourceCommunications, 27, 2, (2002), pp. 189-209
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ NISCO CW
This paper examines how three Dutch political parties employ the Internet as a tool to enhance digital democracy. The potential of digital democracy is considered to be strongest in the sphere of collective action outside the domain of political institutions. In this article, however, attention is given to how institutionalized channels might be supportive of digital democracy. Three components of the democratic process information provision, deliberation, and political decision-making are examined in the content and user assessments of the web sites of the Socialist Party, the Christian Democratic Party and the Green Party. Minor differences were found in the party web sites regarding information provision; substantial differences were found regarding the degree and nature of political deliberation available on the sites. Indicators of the third component, political decision-making, were least evident on all three web sites. User assessments of the sites and opportunities for political deliberation followed, more or less, the general public images of the related political parties.
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