"VOF Week 1: (Digital democracy )
Computer mediated communication has become part of our everyday life. A global network now exists. Geographical space and time have been shrunk and people exercise their communication rights to greater lengths.
What is most exciting about using Web 2.0 is that it opens a wider horizon for mass communication particularly in Zimbabwe where there are stringent media laws. This form of ‘digital democracy’ promotes our freedom of expression and the freedom to seek, receive and impart information across frontiers without fear of repression. Web 2.0 presents us with an opportunity to participate fully in the global village. We can now interact with people across boarders and share knowledge, experiences and good practices at minimal costs.
The global women’s empowerment movement can create positive change to women by using Web 2.0 to promote women’s equal participation in decision making and raising their voices to promote their rights. Web 2.0 can provide women a platform to raise their voices in business, the media, politics, the academia, arts and culture. Women can learn from one another. They can unite to end violence and use Web 2.0 as an information source in order to share information, highlight their ideas, hopes, expectations and fears so as to shape their own destinies. The women’s movement can promote communication rights which go beyond freedom of opinion and expression, to include areas such as democratic media governance, media ownership and control, participation in one’s own culture, linguistic rights, rights to education, privacy, peaceful assembly and self determination.
Web 2.0 is a form technology that has expanded my communication and advocacy skills and knowledge of issues happening around me. Through practising citizen journalism, I am able to set the agenda and inform people about issues in Zimbabwe that are important. The technology enables me to cultivate positive attitudes and values to advance human rights. It empowers me to positively influence people’s opinion and judgment by presenting new ideas aimed at advancing the rights of marginalised groups such as women, children and sexual minorities. Through the use of Web 2.0 I have challenged ideologies that infringe the advancement of human rights for all. For instance, I can freely report taboo issues in Zimbabwe. In addition, the interpersonal linkages created by the sharing of information through social networking has positively influenced my beliefs and behaviour and this has empowered me to reflect on the women’s movement in Zimbabwe and take action in advancing women’s rights.
The cliché “information is power” can be used to depict how Web 2.0 has empowered me. Through participating in the social network, I have leant from other women through their articles, poems, the stories of their lives and their experiences. As a result, their rich experiences, their participation in raising the voices of women, the dynamic content in the articles they post, the freedom of expression and increased participation by members of the Voice of the Future Applicant group has greatly inspired me to pursue citizen journalism and projects aimed at promoting human rights.