Public Opinion, Democracy, and Internet Governance

//Daniel R. McCarthy of the University of Melbourne provides his thoughts on the Benchmarking Public Demand report. 

In Benchmarking Public Demand: Russia’s Appetite for Internet Control the authors have produced an interesting, insightful, and at times disheartening picture of public attitudes towards Internet freedom in Russia. It is important, as debates over the future shape of the Internet continue, that researchers identify the different attitudes and distinct national conceptions of what the Internet is and should be, moving beyond somewhat stale paradigms of the straightforward authoritarian imposition of censorship on domestic publics and the often problematic paradigm of Internet freedom. To this end, Monroe Price and Gregory Asmolov’s comments in the introduction and Asmolov’s accompanying short article  are central in setting out how we can start to think about these complex relationships and processes of opinion formation, placing the quantitative information into a coherent narrative of how public opinion formation takes place and how it matters for Internet governance.

The report also highlights…

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