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 International Journal of Education and Development using ICT > Vol. 4, No. 1 (2008) open journal systems 


The Internet in developing countries: A medium of economic, cultural and political domination

Abdulkafi Albirini, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA


Abstract
The last decade has witnessed an unprecedented diffusion of network technologies into developing countries. The technological discourse attending this diffusion has presented the new media as a utopian, egalitarian and empowering tool with the potential of ushering in a new era of development, democracy, and positive cultural change. This paper examines the economic, cultural, and political effects of the Internet within the historical context of developing countries. The paper traces the politically-inspired evolution of the Internet, its transfer into developing countries, and the economic, cultural, and political consequences of this transfer. Existing data indicates that the implementation of the Internet in most developing countries has served as a drain to the local resources, thus exacerbating their economic dependency on foreign nations. On a cultural level, the Internet’s predominantly Western design, content, and language have facilitated the proliferation of alien cultural patterns at the expense of the social experiences of the local cultures. Lastly, the Internet’s build-in tracking capabilities and its current manipulation for political purposes on international and national levels serves to empower the existing ruling elites in developing countries and perpetuates the disempowerment of the rest of the society. The implications of this paper are discussed.


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International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology. ISSN: 1814-0556