Knowing the Promises, Facing the Challenges: The Role of the Internet in Development and Human Rights Campaigns and Movements in the Arab Middle East
Over the last decade, there has been mounting interest in the uses of Information CommunicationTechnologies—ICTs—(satellites, computers, telephones, faxes, and the Internet) in human rights and developmental movernents and campaigns around the world. The Internet is the quintessence of this new ICT technology, with its speed, lack of centralization, and citizen-to-citizen connectivity. According to some analysts, the Internet has shifted power to access and present information from governments to people, which has given rise to the hope, and fuel to the claim, that it is indeed a possible democratizing force. While there is truth to those claims, one must not lose sight of the problems and challenges that impede such progress. After all, the Internet continues to be an elitist tool whose access, cost, and skills make it prohibitive to many in the Global South. It is specifically controversial in the area of development—should we use development in a much narrower sense—where the rate of illiteracy is high in some poor countries, not to mention the rate of computer literacy and technical skills.
KeywordsCivil Society Middle East Internet User Arab Country Arab World
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