Information democracy

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Information democracy is a further development of the democratic principle, according to which citizens participate in political processes on the basis of a democratic distribution of information. As the opposite pole to media domination , it is also known as informative or informational democracy. In the age of information technology, information democracy knows terms such as “free flow of information”, “open networks” and network neutrality . If information democracy is understood as a variant of deliberative democracy , it means a participatory democracy that is focused on the course of political decision-making processes .


"The idea of ​​an information democracy, in which not only all have equal access to the information sources relevant to citizenship, but also the chance to implement information gained in this way in a political and participatory manner, is probably part of the ideological obligation of social science dealing with information society change processes."

- Ulrich Sarcinelli : Media Policy in Lower Saxony, June 1999

In deliberative democracy theory, the importance of public discussion for collective decision-making is emphasized. Deliberative discussions are characterized by the fact that one introduces reasons into the argument that can justify one's own arguments. "Deliberative democracy is a normative model of democracy that relies on the persuasiveness of systematic considerations and conclusions in public debates and on understanding-oriented, communicative action of the citizens." It legitimizes political decisions that are shaped by the argumentative process of deliberative democracy. With this point of view, there are no fixed individual preferences, they should change during the discussion process. In contrast to deliberative democracy, which by propagating the participation of the citizens in all decisions accepts a knowledge gap between citizens and political actors, informative democracy focuses on free access to information for all citizens who participate in the political process on this basis participate.

If this participation takes place with the help of the internet, for example through online petitions, one speaks of electronic democracy. In this sense, electronic democracy also means that people act democratically by organizing themselves into groups through the Internet.


Blogs are considered an important manifestation of information democracy because they ensure transparency and the dissemination of content. Thanks to the democratic structure of the Internet, the operator of a blog has the freedom and the opportunity to publish and communicate information at any time. In the sense of an information-democratic role, weblogs are also understood as the opposite pole to the possibly selective and one-sided reporting of the established media.

Relationship between democracy and the media

Political communication is increasingly media-centric due to the fact that the popular parties have become less firmly anchored in the population. Under media democracy a political order is understood in the political decision-making is mediated through deregulation of electronic mass media. The reporting is emotionalized, complex relationships are represented symbolically and politics is connected with people. While ancient democracy was still an assembly democracy, in modern society the mass media take on the task of political communication. The media fulfill the function of structuring the perception and discussion of topics by the political public. What the public knows about politics is conveyed almost exclusively through the media. The media set the agenda for the political discussion. The media do not influence changes in attitudes, opinions or values, but rather induce the audience to regard certain topics as more important than others. Problems lie in the fact that the media democracy may not give enough insight into what is actually happening in politics, making it difficult for citizens to make responsible decisions.

Information democracy in companies

The concept of information democracy has been established since the mid-1990s and aims to demand that business performance management must not be a privilege of the upper echelons, but in clearly defined areas to all employees to be accessible to, for the purposes of business intelligence to to be able to participate in the processes for better use of data and databases used for decision-making. More and more frequently this information is even made available to consultants, customers, providers and the rest of the general public. In this economic context, the term was taken up by numerous other institutions. The common core is: Information democracy means information made to measure for everyone and by everyone. The prerequisite is always free access to the respective network. "The time of the monologue is definitely over in the digital age - it is also the age of information democracy and togetherness."

Informational democracy according to Manuel Castells

Manuel Castells in his book Das Informationszeitalter takes up these processes as a development from informational politics to informational democracy, which is possible, but by no means inevitable due to the current political disorientation of the citizens. “Citizens are still citizens. But they no longer know for sure which “castle” they should be assigned to, and also not to whom this “castle” belongs. "

Informative democracy in the European Union

One of the best examples of participation in the sense of informative democracy was the fight of the Förderverein für eine Free Information Infrastructure eV (FFII) against software patents in the EU Parliament . What was remarkable about this campaign was that the FFII did not engage in normal lobbying in the usual sense, but reported specifically on the exact procedures and rules of the EU Parliament in order to make it easier for others to participate in a targeted manner and to enable them to do the same, often even to achieve a much better level of knowledge than the EU parliamentarians.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Stefan Plaß: Media Policy in Lower Saxony - A Policy Analysis on the Genesis of Local Radio. (PDF) In: Dissertation at the University of Hanover. June 1999, accessed November 23, 2015 .
  2. Theodora Papadopoulou2: Deliberative Democracy and DISKURS - A debate between Habermas and Rawls. (PDF) In: Dissertation at the University of Tübingen. German National Library, 2005, p. 15 , accessed on November 23, 2015 .
  3. ^ Fabienne Peter: Democratic Legitimation of Market Arrangements: On the Way to Business Ethics as Political Ethics. (PDF) (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on November 23, 2015 ; accessed on November 23, 2015 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Marc Hippler: Technology for a lazy people. Zeit Online, May 5, 2010, accessed November 23, 2015 .
  5. Julia Franz: Practices of blogging in the field of tension between democracy and control. (PDF) Communication and Society, 2005, accessed on November 23, 2015 .
  6. Julia Franz: Global Learning in Weblogs? (PDF) In: Journal for International Educational Research and Developmental Education. Society for Intercultural Educational Research and Developmental Education, 2006, pp. 21–23 , accessed on November 23, 2015 .
  7. Markus Rhomberg: Media Democracy . The agenda-setting function of the mass media. Wilhelm Fink, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-7705-4401-1 , p. 108 f . ( [PDF; accessed on November 23, 2015]).
  8. Thomas Meyer: Mediocracy - On the way to a different democracy? Federal Agency for Civic Education, May 22, 2002, accessed on November 23, 2015 .
  9. Thomas Lang: A New Age. Entrepreneur's newspaper, November 23, 2015, accessed on November 23, 2015 .
  10. ^ PA Berger, H. Kahlert: Everything 'networked'? Social structure and identity in the 'brave new world' of informational capitalism. (PDF) (No longer available online.) In: Soziologische Revue, Vol. 27, January 1 , 2004, pp. 3–11 , archived from the original on November 23, 2015 ; accessed on November 23, 2015 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  11. Stefan Krempl: In the Chaos Club. Zeit Online, March 17, 2005, accessed November 23, 2015 .