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Social Media and Participatory Democracy

Public Notice and the World Wide Web

Shannon Martin E.

Public notices are usually provided in the form of a document when something is about to be done or recently has been done by government. For about two hundred years these notices have often taken the form of legal notices placed as classified ads in newspapers.
With the onset of social media, government as well as personal information can be accessed at a push of a button for all to see. This book addresses the kinds of changes that public notice and published public records have experienced as governments around the world try to accommodate the digital formats for information and World Wide Web publishing, as well as presenting historical and legal underpinnings for the broader claim of a public requirement to be informed about government.
While there is concern that government information on the web will fall pray to pranks and misuse, the author argues that it is possible to reduce this risk by looking carefully at the intent of public notice and the history of democratic evolution. The book concludes with recommendations for smoothing the transition from a paper-based world of records to an environment of speed and virtual portability.

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1.1. “The Manner in which the American Colonies Declared themselves Independant of the King of England, throughout the different Provinces on July 4, 1776,” Bernard’s New Complete Authentic History of England, courtesy of the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan. 1.2. “A Gazette Extraordinary from Berkeley Square,” from British Satire Collection 1782– 1796, courtesy of the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan. 1.3. “The Great Negro Emancipation.” Harpers Weekly, December 20, 1862, p. 816, courtesy of the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan. 1.4. “Pickets Fraternizing over Coffee and Exchanging Papers.” Harpers Weekly, July 26, 1862, courtesy of the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan. 1.5. “House of Delegates, Friday, January 11, 1782, Maryland General Assembly Broadsides small, courtesy of the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan. 2.1. Public Notice posted on trees in the town center of Banja Luka, Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1999. Photo by Shannon E. Martin. 6.1. Public Notice posted on trees in a park along the main thoroughfare of Banja Luka, Bos- nia-Herzegovina, 1999. Photo by Shannon E. Martin 6.2. Maine Public Notices, July 29, 2013. 6.3. Department of Internal Affairs, July 25, 2013, New Zealand. 6.4. “These Persons have been convicted by the International Common Law Court of Justice of committing Crimes against Humanity and Children,” March 3, 2013. 6.5. Alpari Financial Services Warning. 6.6. “UL Warns of counterfeit UL Mark on power adapter.”

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