Mat Van Den Art's Blog

3.4 Internet for Peace

Posted in MDes Dissertation by matvandenart on August 11, 2010

The Internet is among a record 237 individuals and organisations nominated for 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. The Internet’s nomination has been championed by the Italian version of Wired magazine for helping advance “dialogue, debate and consensus”.36


Video 18 )

We have finally realized that the Internet is much more than a network of computers. It is an endless web of people. Men and women from every corner of the globe are connecting to one another, thanks to the biggest social interface ever known to humanity. Digital culture has laid the foundations for a new kind of society. And this society is advancing dialogue, debate and consensus through communication. Because democracy has always flourished where there is openness, acceptance, discussion and participation. And contact with others has always been the most effective antidote against hatred and conflict.38

But what makes Internet so worth of Nobel Peace Prize in the age of diverse digital communication?

In last 200 hundred years western society more-less successfully overcame multitude of social challenges starting from abolishment of slavery in 1833 , enactment of right for elementary education in 1870, guarantee of equal voting rights in 1918-1928 followed by victory over facism, racism, anti-Semitism and other types of discrimination on the basis of gender or sexuality. This all was possible because of incredible strength and struggle of people campaigning to change the world.

Let’s go back 200 years when William Wilberforce and his companion protesters pressured the slave trade trying to abolish this senseless practice widely accepted by contemporary society. Over the 24 year period they protested across Britain, lobbing house by house, hall by hall until they finally won public opinion. Meanwhile however, there was 24 years of cruelty and unimaginable suffering imposed on the slaves. Imagine what could Wilberforce have done with the power of photography everyone of us possesses today, if they were able to use the modern means of instant communication and Internet sharing capability to win people’s hearts and minds? The simple advancement in human communication could have saved millions of lives.

What we see unlocks what we cannot see. What we see unlocks the invisible ties and bonds of the sympathy that brings us together to become a human community.39

I believe that while many of today’s commonly used communication channels and media open up the window into other, often remote worlds and enable us to see problems and joys of fellow human beings, they fail to truly connect with the audience due to the lack of direct communication.

While letter correspondence or telephone communication enables us to participate and respond to the information revealed to us, these methods of communication has long been replaced by mass media (television, radio, magazines) turning its audiences to the voiceless clouds discouraging participation, instead assuming and encouraging our passive role in the communication.

Printing press supported that kind of communication but television suppressed this kind of communication turning citizens into the members of an audience with an one way form of communication. The web allows people to express themselves to receive ideas, discuss them with others, reflect on them and then come up what seem to them better idea 40

Internet as the medium of freedom and equality prevails where other modern media have failed, enabling its participants two-way communication instead of passive submission to the broadcasted information. Internet ensures by its nature, freedom of speech and expression giving individual people the power to reflect and react to the information broadcasted by this medium. In this many-to-many era, ‘every desktop is now a printing press a broadcasting station, a community or a marketplace.'(Howard Rheingold) helping us to realize our true rights and duties as citizens of Earth.

We have to look at the Internet as a huge community where men and women from all over the world and with very different religious views can communicate and sympathize, spreading a new culture centered on collaboration and sharing of knowledge that breaks all barriers. For this reason, the Internet can be considered the first weapon of mass construction, which we can deploy to destroy hate and conflict and to propagate peace and democracy.41

I believe that Internet by its honest and open nature not only let us feel pain of others however distantly but it represents our belief in something bigger than our current political, economic, environmental and social constructs of our earthly reality. What Internet communication, sharing, collaboration demonstrate is that most of us unanimously acknowledge there is a moral sense across all religions, across all faiths, across all continents – ‘a moral sense that not only do we share the pain of others, and believe in something bigger than ourselves but we have a duty to act when we see things that are wrong that need righted, see injuries that need to be corrected, see problems that need to be rectified.42

Video 19 )

Internet has enabled blogging monks to reveal the repression torture and killing practices of Bhurmaneese government violating the most basic human rights of its own citizens in the country otherwise closed to the surrounding world.

Or Iran itself, following the post-presidential election turmoil where the democratic rights of Iranian people were oppressed by force authorities and where protesters were killed, abducted, tortured, raped, unlawfully judicially prosecuted or even disappeared. Iran found itself in the time where the conventional mass media as television, radio, newspapers licenses were taken or at least were heavily censored by the government. Internet, YouTube and social networks suddenly became the answer and the classical one-to-many concept of communication broadcasting has suddenly been transformed to many-to-many with the help of the digital communication network media.

“power of moral sense combined with the power of our communication technologies and our ability to organize internationally. That in my view, gives us the first opportunity as a community to fundamentally change the world. Foreign policy can never be the same again. It cannot be run by elites; it’s got to be run by listening to the public opinions of people who are blogging.”43

The Internet is the strongest transformative force of the current era. Internet enabled us the chance to take back the power from governments and multinationals; it made the digital world equal and transparent place, and that is why I believe Internet deserves 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.



36) Internet ‘in running’ for Nobel Peace Prize. BBC News [document on the Internet]. BBC; 2010 March 10 [cited 2010 Jul 1]. Available from:

37) Internet for Peace Manifesto. YouTube [document on the Internet]. Internet for Peace 2009 November 19 [cited 2010 Jul 1]. Available from:

38) Internet for Peace Manifesto. Internet for Peace [document on the Internet]. Edizioni Condè Nast; 2010 March 01 [cited 2010 Jul 1]. Available from:

39) Gordon Brown. Wiring a web for global good. [podcast on the Internet]. TED; 2009 Jul [cited 2010 July 25]. Available from:

40) Al Gore. A sharing society [podcast on the Internet]. Open University; BBC; 2010 Jan 8 [cited 2010 July 4]. Available from

41) Riccardo Luna, editor of Wired Italy. The Internet for Peace campaign [document on the Internet]. WIRED UK; 2009 Nov 19 [cited 2010 July 6]. Available from:

42) Gordon Brown. Wiring a web for global good. [podcast on the Internet]. TED; 2009 Jul [cited 2010 July 25]. Available from:

43) Gordon Brown. Wiring a web for global good. [podcast on the Internet]. TED; 2009 Jul [cited 2010 July 25]. Available from:

Video 18 ) Internet for Peace Manifesto. YouTube [document on the Internet]. Internet for Peace 2009 November 19 [cited 2010 Jul 1]. Available from:

Video 19 ) Gordon Brown. Wiring a web for global good. [podcast on the Internet]. TED; 2009 Jul [cited 2010 July 25]. Available from:


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  1. Content « Mat Van Den Art's Blog said, on August 11, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    […] 3.4     Internet for Peace […]

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