Volume XXVII • Issue 4 • 2011
Ever since the Internet became a widespread medium of mass communication in the 1990s, its influence on democratic development has been a central issue.
New and relatively unrestricted ways to access and disseminate information were and still are seen as a means of undermining control mechanisms in authoritarian societies. More than a decade later, and in the light of the so-called ‘Facebook revolution’ in the Arab world, the authors in this volume seek to approach the impact of the Internet from different perspectives, beyond over-optimistic expectations of change in democratic practices. The focus hereby lies on Southeast Asia, with its unique variants of (semi-)authoritarian regimes, and includes often neglected aspects such as the reactions of authoritarian regimes towards these new challenges, the inter-connectedness of the ‘online’ and the ‘offline’ worlds, as well as the disparate development and usage of IT infrastructure in the region.