2009-03-07

Advocacy communications are part of the Democracy Project

I think everyone in the free world should not deny that the development of mass media and internet promotes the expansion of public sphere and information transparency. Even though the commercialization, "scandalism" and censorship exists in certain political and economic conditions, mass media and internet are both pushing forward the deliberation of certain ideas and the universalization of certain values.

Working as both campaigner and communications practitioner for advocacy initiative, it is always challenging to what I am doing as the political and economic condition is changing. New ideas, values and interests are emerging and competing rapidly and vigorously. Rather than catching behind them, re-positioning ourselves will help establish myself again in the bigger framework, namely the Democracy Project.

Yes, we are heading "Democracy", in a sense that the people's choices will eventually be attained through, not simply intuition or simply elections, but information disclosure, debate, dialogue or even (non-deliberative) direct actions, and finally consensus, particularly over the complicated social issues that involves various stakeholders and interests.

Consensus is definitely not the mission of advocacy groups, but their demands being met. Therefore, instead of "deliberative", I would rather love to use "Democracy Project" as the background and our ideal to justify our current work.

Therefore, information disclosure, and discourse and message framing are the two major streams of our work. Here many practical questions come such as: how can we re-frame the message so as to make our advocacy work favourable towards our goals? How can we refurnish our message so that every stakeholders can easily participate in the discussion, rather than only the technical experts can join?

Environmental advocacy always suffers from the technical pitfall, and no one can easily join the debate. Finally those who gain the most languages and dominate the discourse will win. This should not be the environmental activists desire. (I would say environmentalists by nature could favour authoritarian tactics.) Therefore, my fellow environmental counterparts should share the value of democracy and stick to the strategies that favour public dialogue.

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