International Journal of Information Ethics, Vol. 2 (11/2004)
In the information-technology powered twenty first century a general demand for more effective communication is driving people to question the present, examine the past and to prognosticate the future.The ‘unique global media-information system’ – the Internet – is the central fact of a vast new complexity of communication (mediated and unmediated) that is driving social-economic-political-religious- technological change (see http://www.5systems.net) at a rate never experienced before.
The premise of this paper is that the Internet can be better understood as the first complex global media with both democratic and authoritarian possibilities, the full extent of which are still emergent. In respect of the symposium question,this paper suggests that Internet embedded communication theory can be used progressively as part of a widening and deepening approach to intercultural conversation, dialogue and debate. In theory, the localising nature of the Internet can be read as part of a greater movement towards communitarian and community centred self-governance, local democracy and social self-sufficiency. There is considerable scope for a new theory of society founded in localised ‘in-community communication’ practice supported by international human rights and effectively responsive to the asymmetric global information environment and congruent with newly democratised local structures of self-governance.