Internet applications in the political sphere: perceptions and views of political institutions in South Africa

SOURCE: Communication
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2003
TITLE AUTHOR(S): J.Struwig, P.Conradie
KEYWORDS: COMMUNICATION MEDIUMS, DIGITAL DIVIDE, INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY, INTERNET, POLITICAL PARTIES
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 2531

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Abstract

The study described in this article consisted of a survey that was conducted among a sample of South African political institutions and organisations, and that was aimed at investigating their views and perceptions with regard to the use of the internet. The main research question posed by the current study was: What are the views of politically orientated institutions in South Africa on their use of the Internet, and what are their perceptions ion how the Internet could impact on democratic processes in the country? The aim of this exploratory research study was to obtain information that could cast light on the issue of how likely it was that the Internet would contribute to a deliberative democracy in South Africa. The survey revealed that the internet was perceived to have a significant role to play with regard to political and democracy issues in South Africa. However, if certain problems (the lack of access, the lack of basic and computer literacy, and the lack of training) were not adequately addressed by means of an integrated government internet strategy, the ability of the Internet to impact positively on democracy in South Africa would be very limited.