e-Participation in Eastern Europe or outside EU

Ivar Tallo, manager of UN Training and Research (Switzerland), sort of wondered aloud this afternoon if e-Participation proves so difficult for European citizens, how much more difficult would it be for non-European ones? He admitted though that there might be exceptions – and shared his own personal experience in Kazakhstan. But, generally speaking, engagement has other and more complex obstacles to overcome outside EU.

Chuck Hirt, director of the Central and Eastern European Citizens Network (Slovakia), agreed and said Eastern Europe hurls its own particular stones at e-Participation. Citizens in Eastern Europe are not usually invited in the decision/making process, politicians do not always have the time or skills to engage electronically, economic agenda (advertising, buying/selling) all too frequently overrides social engagement, and so on.

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Comment by Gabi Barna on March 6, 2009 at 13:01
Luckily there are projects across the EU and outside which advocate for better eparticipation, and there are telecentres in our network which have succeeded to work with community members and citizens to develop with local administration and government participatory aproaches towards achieving a better decisionmaking at various levels. I would be quite interested to learn a bit more about this, as in Romania, we are in huge and urgent need to start doing something about encouraging eparticipation at a larger scale.
Comment by Adrian Popa on March 6, 2009 at 8:25
My superficial experience of engaging political issues on the Internet in Eastern Europe tells me that - quite apart from politicians' reluctance or inability to open up - the participants themselves display a level of intollerance, cinicism and at times ignorance that impedes serious debate. For a while at least, economic growth will outrun democratic maturity.
Comment by David Banes on March 5, 2009 at 20:19
But much of this will be driven by economic growth - so we can expect rapid eParticipation outside of the EU in fast growing economies who need participation in the knowledge society to fuel that growth - eParticipation may be different from eDomocracy of course

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