My argument is that although the technology of the Internet provides us with some new form of public space, the reality of Internet political use in most developing countries presents a rather gloomy scenario. The considerations are twofold. First, there is an enormous economic barrier to Internet access. Second, the democratic systems are not fully developed and, therefore, a democratic culture is not yet consolidated, which might reflect on the attempts at online democratic exercises. Rather than being a public sphere for citizen political empowerment, cyberspace is in danger of becoming a mere space for commercial purposes and propaganda. Thus, I would like to develop this argument by highlighting two major factors that restrain democratic participation in the Internet: economic access and citizen participation. These factors are in turn linked to potential uses of the Internet in the new social movement and to evidence on the web pages of environmental organisations.
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