Do digital technologies contribute to the rise or the demise of democracy?

  • Can today's digital technologies improve the average citizen's civic engagement and freedom of speech?

  • Has the United States created government structures, bureaucracy, and policy that encourages or discourages open dialog in a virtual state, or do digital technologies render centralized control increasingly irrelevant?

  • Has the intersection of public policy and technology created a soapbox or a minefield for the negotiation of freedom of speech and access to information for all?

  • Increased ability to voice opinion represents a radical change in society, but does disenchantment and disengagement with civic process and participation actually result in less democracy?

These questions and many more will be discussed in a live, open forum on the web. Four experts from a variety of backgrounds will present their views, and will be joined in the WHYY-TV studio by policy-makers, media professionals, and students in the Philadelphia area. YOU can participate on the web, and send questions to the panelists by e-mail, fax, or phone.
TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION may include:
Can freedom of speech be assured on the Internet?
Can we bridge the digital divide for persons of different ages, races, income levels and abilities?
How does domestic wiretapping legislation affect freedom of speech?
Are privacy rights being eroded by poor public policies?
Is citizen journalism the answer to free exchange of ideas?
How are public records used and misused?
How does access to the Internet differentially affect individuals in the U.S. and the world?
How have corporations exercised "freedom of speech?"
Has the U.S. government sacrificed personal freedoms for security and bureaucratic efficiency?
EXPLORE THIS WEBSITE for resources, bibliographies, and comments on the above topics and more to help your organization or students understand the background and range of laws, precedents, and opinions on these issues.