In this podcast PhD researcher Sarah Logan examines how information technology and social media are changing the face of politics in Papua New Guinea.
Mobile phone use and internet access have increased exponentially in PNG over the past five years, a trend which is set to continue. This increase in the use of information and communications technology (ICT) is unprecedented in a country with historically low rates of landline use and a relatively sparsely populated media environment.
However, despite this striking change in the media landscape and increasing evidence of its impact on politics in PNG, there is very little research on the political impact of ICT use in PNG. This seminar places what little we know about this issue in the context of research elsewhere on the impact of ICT on politics. Drawing on literature on the use of the Internet and mobile phones to organise political protests, to enhance transparency initiatives and to increase political engagement, this seminar outlines relevant findings in research conducted elsewhere. The seminar goes on to argue that key features of PNG’s political, social and cultural environment mean that although useful the application of such research to PNG is relatively limited.
Sarah Logan is a PhD candidate in the Department of International Relations at the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific and was previously a visiting scholar at Columbia University and the London School of Economics and Political Science. She was a researcher at the Office of National Assessments (ONA) from 2006 - 2012. Sarah’s research interests revolve around the impact of the internet on international politics, especially the evolution of political community in international relations and the impact of ICT on political institutions in fragile states. In 2012 She published a discussion paper with SSGM on digital politics in PNG. She blogs at www.ircircuit.com and tweets as @circt.