Media governance

Information and communication technologies function in structures of governance. There is the governance ‘of’ communication systems and there is the governance ‘through’ communication systems. The first kind, ‘of’ the communications systems, deals with ownership and regulations, agency of regulation etc. The second part, ‘through’ communication systems deals with information transactions, accountability, transparency, efficiency, so they are using communication technology as one of the proponents through which governance takes place.

One bunch of activities can be done online today which earlier on had to be done in physical presence. And there are things you can do now which you could not do earlier, like tracking down information of for example who said what in the parliament. This may have been possible before as well, but with Internet at least there is a cut in the amount of steps that is required to do a task and you make that task relatively agnostic to physical space. This kind of access results in more feeling of witnessed presence, differently than in physical space.

In a best case scenario if you are better informed, you are also informed more accurately. But does your being informed help you towards action? The question is whether that access then enables you to do what you could not do earlier. A lot of e- governance appears to be not more than information dissemination and that is just one part of governance. If we only focus on the information part of it and the transaction part of it, one would then forget the social action part of it. Information transaction is not only there for its own sake it is part of something else. We tend to give more emphasis to access to information more than on the ability to act based on the information we’ve accessed. Also there is this assumption in governance that the more mechanized and automated processes you have, the less hierarchy there is. This was an assumption of the early Internet for instance that networks were flat, which is not the case. Hierarchies appear to be invisible, but the working of those structures is beyond the purview of just human machine interaction.