|Title||Political participation and internet platforms: How new communication technologies help Belarusian civic activists|
This article is based on research of political participation practices of Belarusian political and social activists who employed Internet platforms such as social networks or websites in their campaigns. With the proliferation of the Internet, more hopes for significant improvement of political participation opportunities were laid upon new tools of communication in countries like Belarus. Social networks and other Internet platforms attracted attention as tools that can promote public campaigns under the conditions of restricted freedoms and media sphere. The article draws on a qualitative case study of seven civic campaigns and groups that were active in 2011-2013 in Belarus. The data for the research was collected through interviews with leaders of those campaigns. The article suggests that those Belarusian Internet activists who actively employed Internet platforms were able to widen opportunities for the political engagement of citizens. Activists followed main trends that are used among digital political practitioners around the globe. However, some problematic features of the Belarusian political and media systems such as control and persecution of the political actors or Internet censorship did not allow activists to use the potential of Internet platforms to the fullest. Moreover, the list of domains of public policy that could be appealed by activists were restricted by unspoken rules.
|Keywords||political activism, Belarus, social media, authoritarian regime|
|Publisher||European Humanities University|
|Place of publication||Politics and Society in Belarus|
|Published||26 Dec 2016|
|Web address (URL)||http://www.kas.de/belarus/en/publications/47507/|