Public Participation and Internet Regulation

1432 Words6 Pages
Public participation, a process involving citizen or stakeholder engagement in decision-making, has gained increasing emphasis in recent years. Interestingly, the emergence of the concepts of “e-governance”, “e-government” and “e-democracy” reflects the increasing connection of online tools such as the Internet with the concept of public participation (Freeman, 2013). Does governmental regulation of the Internet necessarily not promote public participation then? I think not; to my mind, there are two different kinds of regulation – “positive” and “negative” regulation, implemented with the purpose of promoting and restricting participation respectively. Whether these regulations indeed do promote or restrict effective public participation…show more content…
While the impact of “positive” regulation does seemingly achieve its purpose of increasing citizen participation and interaction in political affairs, it does not necessarily result in better policy making by the government. The impact of public participation is highly context dependent. It varies with certain factors including the purpose of the deliberation, the subject under discussion and the participants etc. (Carpini, 2004). A recent study (West, 2004) for example, showed that public comments filed in rulemaking proceedings contributed little new information which influenced the decision-making process whereas another study (Coleman, 2004) revealed that the responses were of “very high quality” and the hypothesis that most online discussion is uninformed and of poor quality is not supported in the latter study. Therefore, while rulemaking by the government may be rendered more legitimate and accountable, the quality of the policies made may not necessarily improve as a result of “positive” internet regulation and greater public participation. Governmental decisions made with the help of public participation may impact businesses. For example, public participation encouraged by FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products played a vital role in the formulation of policies for the regulation of sale and distribution of tobacco products by tobacco companies. Therefore
Open Document