Strasbourg, 27 november 2013 - “Democracy must not remain on the fringe of the revolution in information and communication technologies”, Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of La Francophonie, declared at the opening of the World Forum for Democracy. “We therefore have an immense job of work ahead of us, for the Internet will be what we make it. Democracy can be strengthened by the Internet, just as it can be weakened”, he added.
Mr Diouf stressed that these technologies could contribute to preserving the very essence of democracy, described by the philosopher Alain as effective ongoing control of the governed over the governors, to breaking down the citizens’ isolation, and to pooling experiences.
He nevertheless observed that the Internet was still “reserved for part of the world’s population with a high level of income and training”. A break exists in the digital sense but also in generational and political terms, owing to censorship applied by certain States.
“It would be dangerous for democracy to let the idea flourish that expressing oneself on a social network can stand for democratic deliberation, and that this mode of virtual expression can serve s citizen involvement”, Mr Diouf added. It was also dangerous “that we should lose the meaning of the long term and the sustainable”.