Assignment Description:For this assignment you will create an infographic that informs an audience about your research topic (the one you created your research assignment on). This assignment is worth 15% of the course grade and is due Wednesday, November 29th.To create the infographic you may use any drawing program you’re comfortable with, OR you may use a web-based program that helps you create the infographic (here is a list of free options: 10 free tools for creating infographics).This assignment may be submitted electronically by uploading a file through D2L. If you want to submit a “hard” copy of your work, you may submit it on a USB drive or you may print the infographic and leave it in Alanna’s mailbox in the main Arts & Humanities office (2nd floor, Building 340).Evaluation:Your project will be evaluated on the following criteria:(5%) quantity of information — the infographic should have enough visual and textual information to give the audience as complete an understanding of the topic as possible.(5%) quality of information — the infographic should include appropriate visual and textual information to inform the audience about the topic.(5%) quality of production — the infographic should be produced in a way that looks professional and attractive; images are used predominantly and the text is free from spelling errors and typos.Presentation:You will give a five minute presentation to the class that demonstrates and discusses your major research and infographic project. The purpose of this assignment is to deliver an effective oral description of: your topic; how you researched it; and what you learned about it. You may use digital media to support your presentation.Evaluation:Evaluation: You will be awarded 1/2 mark for every 30 seconds you speak, up to 5 minutes (with the mark rounded up or down at the 15 second mark — ie: if your presentation lasts 4 minutes, 20 seconds, you will get 4.5/5). If you go past 5 minutes, you will have 1/2 mark deducted for every 30 seconds you go past the stated time limit of 5 minutes. (Ie: if your presentation last 6 minutes, 5 seconds, you will get 4/5).The research is in the attachment
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Impact of Digital Media on Democracies
In the contemporary society, digital media has taken over from the conventional forms of
media more so due to the proliferation of social media sites. According to recent research on
social media use, more than 60 percent of adults use social media sites, particularly Facebook
and Twitter (Mazzoleni, 71). In this respect, digital media has become the common and attractive
means of accessing and disseminating information to the public. Moreover, the governments
have incorporated digital media and often share information via the platform since then, they
reach more people. Additionally, through digital media, the public can monitor the government
and therefore ensure transparency and credibility on its part. Notably, the public has used digital
media to participate in various national activities, not to mention use the same platform
to initiate regime changes as was evident in the Arab spring. In light of this, the essay discusses
the use of digital media vis-à-vis democracy and the impacts thereof.
New technology has played a significant part in fostering democracy. For any country to
fully realize democracy, freedom of the internet is imperative as it encourages human
development and overall freedom of every individual. Moreover, the internet is often used to
promote human rights, freedom of speech and expression, government accountability, peaceful
assembly and freedom of religion which are primary components of democracy. According to
Fenton (81), the internet is in many ways considered a democratic medium, mostly because there
is no centralized control and therefore difficult to censor information. Also, accessing
information is easier through digital media due to its ease of access and the low costs associated
with it. Thus, people can participate in many democratic activities by only having to access the
Democracy in many parts of the world has become reliant on digital media. Through the
internet, people can keep in touch with the government activities, not to mention have a direct
contribution to them. More so, politicians are using the digital media platforms to keep a close
relationship with the public and communicate their agendas. The reason for the prevalence
of digital media is because it is efficient and provides anonymity to the users who can then
express their opinions on the government without fear of consequences. By contributing ones
ideas on high traffic websites, one can influence a large number of people without necessarily
having to use a lot of resources. Notably, the internet is user-friendly and therefore gives
incentive to the people to be part of the government (Street, 51). Digital media also provides a
platform for the public to discuss politicians, and the politicians can as well get feedback directly
from the people. Since democracy is largely about giving the people the right to make decisions
on political matters, digital media undeniably fosters democracy and works to uphold the same
through giving the public power over the leaders and national matters that involve the former.
Social media as a form of digital media plays a critical role in democratic liberations.
Through sites such as Facebook, Word press, twitter, and Blogspots people can freely give their
opinions on different matters on the government. This is further supported by the huge number
of people on social media; therefore, there is a wide and diverse range of ideas which makes it
progress (Mazzoleni, 135). Additionally, governments have established official social media
accounts where they constantly provide information to the public as well as collect information
that may help guide their future activities. Through social media, the government engages the
public on the latters terms and within its environment. Thus, the government becomes a tool
which the public can manipulate in a way that they perceive right for them. Clearly, democracy
becomes practical when people have full control of the government, rather than the government
being in control of the citizens.
As digital media becomes widespread in the modern world, the people who use the
internet to access political information is significantly rising. As Street (107) writes, the adults
who used the internet in America to participate in a political activity rose from 14 percent to 20
percent between 1996 and 2002. More so, a quarter of the population used the internet to
research on public policy issues in the year 2002. Street further adds that 16 percent of the
American population has interacted with political websites by either donating money,
volunteering to partake in various activities or joining campaigns. In this respect, it
is evident that as the internet continues to be an integral part of individuals lives, it equally
serves as a tool where people can contribute differently to the process of democracy.
In regard to social media and democracy, there have been several instances where people
have used the various platforms to bring political changes in the country, particularly in countries
where the government is oppressive to the population. Notably, the Arab Spring that affected
some countries in North Africa and the Middle East began through online activism where the
people used social media to mobilize mass action against the authoritarian rules (Pettit, 65). Also
in Egypt, the protest that led to the then president Hosni Mubarak being ousted began with the
creation of a Facebook Page that quickly gained attention in the country. Another example is
where a movement bent on eliminating corruption in India gained popularity through the social
media and was effective in sensitizing the people on the need to curb corruption in the
government. Among other examples, digital media has been quite impactful in reshaping
democracy; therefore ensuring that the needs of the masses are a priority in government agendas.
Through digital media, social organizations and groups are able to share their ideas
without necessarily having to convene in a commonplace. Moreover, the conventional mediums
of information are expensive and rather slow to reach the masses and therefore digital media
becomes the preferable method of sharing information. Briziarelli (104) collaborates this fact by
stating that electronic communications enhance sharing of information, particularly because of
the relatively low budget and the potential to reach many people. Thus, the social groups and
political societies find digital media as the attractive medium to exchange ideas. Also notable is
how the civil society has shifted from the old ways of passing information such as newspapers to
the more accepted form that is digital media where they can subsequently lobby for elected
representatives, raise funds, recruit supporters and new members as well as mobilize organizers.
In the process, they promote democracy, not to mention give the masses the power to control the
affairs of their countries.
Digital media is central to deliberative democracy due to the availability of multiple
viewpoints. Moreover, there are a number of websites, blogs and social media accounts where
people give their opinions and brainstorm on matters that concern democracy in their countries.
Also, the ease of access and low costs provides a ground where every individual feels free to
discuss what he deems important and can bring necessary change to the society. Through
deliberative democracy, people are able to interact and the ideas that they discuss act as a
research tool to determine what the people want in relation to fostering a democratic
environment. Petit (97) in his work on deliberative democracy notes several platforms meant to
promote deliberative democracy; the California Report Card is a mobile application that allows
people to share ideas and discuss them to allow deliberative democracy. More so, the application
allows the participants to rate other peoples suggestions as well as offer their opinions on new
political issues. Petit also highlights an Australian project known as openforum.com.au that
profile stakeholders to engage in high-level political debates.
The contributions on digital media to democracy notwithstanding, there are
disadvantages that result from using digital media to discuss crucial political matters and
democracy. Notably, most of the ideas expressed therein are subjective and therefore somewhat
unreliable (Briziarelli, 126). Digital media and especially social media allow people to give a
personal opinion on different matters which is mostly not backed by facts or well-done research.
Additionally, there is minimal control of information in digital media and for this reason, some
information is usually sensitive and can lead to the unnecessary unrest of the public. A good
example is the leaking of confidential information to the public by Wikileaks. Therefore, digital
media can impact the citizens negatively especially if it is not controlled properly.
In conclusion, digital media has become the most attractive medium for accessing
information. It has contributed to respect of human rights such as free speech and expression
which are key components of democracy. Moreover, digital media ensures that the people have a
direct contribution to government activities since the platform allows the public to interact with
the politicians. Also, more people can access political information through digital media due to
its convenience in regard to costs and ease of access. Notably, digital media has been a channel
for political liberation such as the Arab Spring and the regime change in Egypt. Additionally,
people come together to brainstorm ideas on digital media through deliberative democracy.
However, the subjectivity of most ideas and access to sensitive material by the public are the
major shortcomings of digital media. All in all, digital media is a tool that helps uphold
democracy and if used appropriately, it provides a platform where people achieve equality, good
governorship, transparency and accountability on their governments.
Briziarelli, M. “Utopia, Labor, and Informational Capitalism.” Promoting Social Change and
no. 6, 2016,
Fenton, N. “Drowning or Waving? New Media, Journalism and Democracy.” New Media, Old
News: Journalism & Democracy in the Digital Age, vol. 3, no. 1, 2015, pp. 3-16,
Mazzoleni, Gianpietro. “Towards an Inclusive Digital Public Sphere.” Can the Media Serve
Democracy?, vol. 5, no. 3, 2015.
Pettit, P. “Deliberative Democracy, the Discursive Dilemma, and Republican Theory.” Debating
Deliberative Democracy, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 138-162, doi:10.1002/9780470690734.ch7.
Street, J. “A Free Press: Democracy and Mass Media.” Mass Media, Politics and Democracy,
vol. 7, no. 2, 2014, pp. 303-328, doi:10.1007/978-1-137-01555-6_13.
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