Submitted by Sheldon Rampton on
The Internet has been hyped as "a revolutionary new medium, so inherently empowering and democratizing, that old authoritarian regimes would crumble before it," but Andrew Stroehlein points out that the reality is more sobering. "The idea that the Internet itself is a threat to authoritarian regimes was a bit of delusional post-Cold War optimism. It is true that many activists and journalists have brought their struggle for democracy, the rule of law and freedom of expression to the new medium, but they have not been blessed by inevitable victory, and plenty of nasty regimes have learned how to co-exist with the Internet in one way or another. In country after country, the same old struggle goes on: hard-line regimes and their opponents remain locked in battle, and the Internet has become simply one more forum for their fight."