The Global 'Political Voice Deficit Matrix': What Role for International Law?
This research investigates the contemporary challenges that new information and communication technologies (ICTs) pose to the democratic principle of ‘political voice’, and the role that international law could and should assume to address these challenges. The first two chapters undertake a rigorous analysis of normative theories of democracy to examine the democratic objectives which political voice serves; and explore its transnational relevance under conditions of globalisation. The research then investigates how the regulatory control of global communicative infrastructures by private ICT companies, creates and amplifies ‘political voice deficits’ within, across, and beyond states; and outlines the resulting democratic risks. On the basis of these analyses, the latter chapters examine the international legal obligations that could and should arise for states, for protecting and promoting political voice within, across, and beyond their borders. The research theorises political voice as an ‘international community interest’, and, drawing parallels from international climate change law, it suggests that states should hold due diligence obligations to prevent, or at least minimise the harm caused by the commercial operations of private ICT companies to political voice. Finally, possible avenues for the enforcement of these obligations are explored.