What is Digital Democracy

Democracy is not easy to define. That’s because democracy is a cluster of practices, structures, institutions and movements. It’s an assembly of many different elements – and it’s the combination or totality of those elements that we understand to mean democracy. In this context, it’s not surprising that there are numerous definitions of digital democracy. For some it refers to the use of digital tools to provide information and promote transparency, for others it describes the ways in which information and communications technologies (ICTs) can broaden and deepen participation, while others talk of promoting empowerment by enabling citizens to make decisions directly through online tools. We simply define the term as “the practice of democracy using digital tools and technologies”. Within the literature, there aren’t any agreed definitions of digital democracy. In part this is because the term overlaps with notions of citizenship, participation, transparency, accountability, governance, e-government, civil society and the public sphere. However, we can draw a distinction between ‘minimalist’ and ‘maximalist’ definitions of digital democracy.