Thursday, January 04, 2007

Using the Internet to Extend Hegemony

"Using the Internet to Extend Hegemony: A Study of Government Websites in India" a paper by Maya Ranganathan and NagaMallika G, explores the ways in which the Internet is employed by the tech-savvy states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in India.

The article establishes that despite the technical infrastructure and knowhow available, these governments are largely indifferent to the potential of the medium to further democracy. Instead, these governments employ the medium much the same way as they employed and still employ the earlier media of radio and television, totally oblivious to the potential of the Internet to provide the essential public sphere necessary for effective functioning of a democracy.

Read the paper here.


irving said...

I'm not surprised. Government beauracrats are the last people to catch on to anything new and creative. This is just one more example, and it's true in every country, not just India.

Ya Haqq!

Anonymous said...

The article's titel itself is a laughable one.

Internet penetration in India is very low. Government bureacrats don't even understand anything about the internet (they cannot even use the keyboard). Most websites are in English (with a sprinkling of Hindi) and Indians can hardly read (being illiterate).

An we have to believe that the Government is using the internet to extend hegemony?

It sounds like one of those "aantel", "ati baam" canteen talk.


rama said...

Hullo! Thank you for your visit and comment. Soham, if you cared to read the article you would read the following:

"While the paper takes into
account the argument that Internet penetration in India is negligible
and hence can not constitute a public sphere in the true sense of the term, it also points out that well aware that it is still an elitist medium, the governments are employing the Internet to extend their ideologies to the elites both within and outside the country. This is significant considering that while the All India Radio is perceived as
a rural media, Doordarshan despite its phenomenal coverage, is facing
competition from satellite channels in the cities and towns. In the circumstances, the Internet is the only medium available to the
governments to disseminate their ideologies. The paper points out that this is done in the process of conveying information on the states and their activities."

Given the digital divide, and the high internet penetration among the opinion-shapers and decision-makers in globalising India; and if one understands the meaning of "hegemony", then the point made by the paper is not without significance.

But you are entitled to consider the article laughable, and could communicate this to the authors of the article. I am glad I was able to provide you some mirth.

Thank you!