Just a blink of the eye in world history, the 40-year existence of the Internet has been revolutionary, its impact comparable to the invention of the printing press nearly 600 years ago.
The World Wide Web has become a societal foundation for global communications, economics, science and politics. And it has increasingly opened the doors for millions of people to take part in the world well beyond their immediate communities. The digital era has opened vast opportunities, but it also poses risks. Internet abuse takes many forms, such as cyber crime, and combating it is a challenge to both policy makers and business.
Once primarily a one-way street, "the information highway" has since about the turn of the century developed into a truly interactive medium. People can go online to create and co-shape social and political movements, forcing "conventional" media to consistently rethink and revitalize the ways they perceive, address and engage their audiences. More participation, social action and public interest in political decision-making is democratizing news and societies. What does this mean for media reporting, public opinion-making and forms of governance? And how do they impact each other in the ways they operate?