1. The Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy
welcomes the draft resolution and the draft recommendation presented
by the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media to the
extent that it aims to reinforce the capacity of democratic institutions,
especially national parliaments, to make more effective use of the
Internet as a tool for transparent parliamentary and governmental
action as well as a forum for exchange and dialogue with society.
2. The committee agrees with the overall conclusions of the rapporteur
with regard to the two main issues which guided her analysis, namely
how the Internet has provided an opportunity for achieving a stronger
and dynamic democracy and how it has raised new dangers, and to
what extent it has changed the balance between representative democracy
and direct democracy.
3. Taking into consideration the debates held at the recent Council
of Europe World Forum for Democracy on 28 and 29 November 2013 in
Strasbourg, the committee would like to draw attention to the opportunities and
risks related to the use of the Internet and social media in political
life and to encourage further reflection on how to combine traditional
and digital tools of participation. The committee reiterates the
Assembly’s position that everyone has the right to participate in
the conduct of public affairs, and that a balance between new forms
of e-democracy and traditional representative democracy must be
found to fight disengagement, boost participation, and make political
infrastructures more accountable, functional and democratic.