May 17-22, 2007
The Beauty of Internet: Information
and Communication Technology for Young Liberals
Technological change is reshaping political communication
all over the world. This is especially true when it comes
to communicating political issues with young people, and political
organizations ignore these new developments at their peril. This
insight has prompted the Young
Liberals and Democrats of Asia (YLDA)
, with the support of the
Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF), to organize a workshop on information
and communication technology (ICT) for its member organizations.
It was hosted by the Youth
Wing of Party Gerakan
in Penang, Malaysia from 17 – 22
The workshop concentrated on introducing the participants to
the techniques of blogging and podcasting. Philippine Über-Blogger
Abe Olandres first
gave a concise overview of the editorial, technical and ethical
issues. He then made everybody sweat: each participant had to
set up his or her own blog.
The results were presented and analysed by Abe and the other participants.
As a result, the blogosphere has gained a gaggle of new entrants
– and hopefully some will stay and enrich public discourse
or convince others to start to participate.
Podcasting was next, and this was done by group work. Abe explained
the potential of it. He also discussed the many technical support
Websites available that have made it possible to produce audio
programs of good quality.
The workshop also evaluated the Websites of YLDA members and
discussed the usefulness of the Internet for fundraising
The Web is an area of great possibility as shown by Howard Dean‘s
campaign for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination in the
US. He emerged as an early front-runner due in part to his building
a Web-based constituency
a massive amount of small donations
The ICT workshop underlined the potential of these new techniques
for political communication. “Since young people are the
ones who plug into these new technologies the most avidly, youth
wings are well advised to offer interesting content for them in
order to stay in touch,” FNF Resident Representative Siegfried
Herzog, who participated in the workshop as a resource person,
stressed. “The experience of South Korea is certainly instructive.
A cyber-savy campaign mobilized the youth vote
an unprecedented degree
, delivering victory for
President ROH, Moo-hyun,” he added. "Some of the countries
in the region might not have gone very far yet in terms of Internet
usage, but the growth rates point to an unmistakeable conclusion:
it’s going to happen here soon, so you’d better be
prepared,” he concluded.