Democracy and the Internet

Freedom of speech and the distribution of knowledge is the foundation of Wikipedia. Jimmy Wales predicts that the Internet will democratise developing countries by making the world 'flat,' opening markets, promoting cultural understanding and giving developing nations the resources they need to compete in the 21st century. With current total Internet usage of one billion people set to double in the next five to 10 years (with the majority of new users arising from developing nations), Wales asserts that the Internet will combat stereotypes, censorship, media control, and monopolies while simultaneously allowing citizens of developing nations to have a more prominent voice. As Wales states: "It does not take a lot of technology to foster open dialog and debate. Even the simplest technologies like mailing lists, wikis, blogs can help a lot. What is needed mostly, I think, is more content in local languages, and support from people around the world to help others join in the global conversation."

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