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This is a revived page from the former DoWire Wiki. As narrower terms like open government, civic technology, etc. are in vogue today, it is notable that the debate over defining terms has shifted to more popular terms. "E-democracy" as a shorten term pre-dated use of e-commerce, e-business, starting in 1994 etc. but came after teledemocracy and the long-form rare use of the phrase "electronic democracy."

Defining E-democracy

The working definition for e-democracy used by the Democracies Online Newswire is:

  • E-democracy represents the use of information and communication technologies and strategies by democratic actors within political and governance processes of local communities, nations and on the international stage. Democratic sectors/actors include governments, elected officials, the media, political organizations, and citizen/voters. (see below)
  • To many, e-democracy suggests greater and more active citizen participation enabled by the Internet, mobile communications, and other technologies in today’s representative democracy as well as through more participatory or direct forms of citizen involvement in addressing public challenges.

Source: Steven Clift's E-Democracy Resource Links

The framework is presented in his Global E-Democracy Trends presentations this way:

E-democracy is:

  • the use information and communication technologies and strategies by democratic sectors
  • within the political processes of local communities, states, nations and on the global stage.

E-democracy ...

  • is now, what kind is it?
  • is accelerating "as is" politics
  • will promote active citizen participation only with the "e-citizen" perspective included

Each democratic sector is contributing to e-democracy and needs to do its part. Only with democratic intent and the application of best practices across all democratic sectors will e-democracy be viewed as a positive contribution. E-democracy success will be achieved when we drop the "e" and simply call it democracy.

Democratic Sectors

Democratic sectors

DoWire's pragmatic definition of e-democracy is based on the simple idea that e-democracy will make a positive contribution to citizens and democracies if best practices and democratic intent are applied by actors within the democratic sectors.

Our detailed list:

Representative Institutions and Elected Officials

  • Administrations including Public Officials and Civil Servants
  • Local, Regional, State/Provincial, National, Supra-National, Intergovernmental, International Governmental
  • Organizations

Political Interests

  • Political Parties
  • Candidates
  • Interest Groups
  • Community Groups, NGOs
  • Activists and Elites


  • Mass Media
  • Online Media and Commercial Content
  • Power Blogs, Citizen-based Online News

Private Sector

  • Software Developers including Open Source
  • Connectivity (Technical access primarily market driven, government/libraries/others play role)
  • Technology Devices


  • Participating E-Citizens
  • Informed Citizens Online
  • Passive Citizens
  • Disengaged Citizens

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