The rise of digital authoritarianism: is the internet to be blamed?

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Azelmat, Marwa
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The last decade has been battered by growing concerns about the rise of digital authoritarianism. The ever-increasing number of human rights breaches and the global decline in democracy is alarming. The rationale behind this study is to find out who is to be deemed liable. While a legal framework that accommodate the digital infrastructure is yet to be established, this research looks at the shifts in structure, practices and behavior between the internet and authoritarianism through data analysis, comparative-based and theory-based approaches. The findings suggest that as long as there is concentration of all powers by the state, it is unlikely that the internet would aid democratic consolidation, unless there is a strong resistance to shake the public institutions, nurture individual agency and call for collective collaboration. To achieve such a level of resilience, the research recommends to lift the lid on the shifts between technology and policy in order to grasp the reality of digital authoritarianism.
Second semester University: Queen's University, Belfast
internet, authoritarianism, democracy, policy, technology