the Internet" is booming, both with regard to practical efforts and
trials on the one hand and scientific research on the other. The article
examines ways in which information and communication technologies (ICT)
in general, and the "World Wide Web" in particular, can be used
as a medium for peace-building, democratization and reconciliation between
(formerly) hostile parties. It focuses on the case of war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Several criteria, derived from peace and conflict research and from information
science are developed, and ways of operationalizing them are proposed.
The empirical part
of the paper presents data on telecommunication infrastructure and the
use of the Internet in Bosnia and Herzegovina with a focus on the demand
for "universal access". Following that, the developed criteria
are applied to ICT projects and Internet homepages of national and international
institutions and organizations engaged in democratization and reconciliation
efforts. The homepage of the UN "Office of the High Representative"
is mentioned as an example for "bad practice". This website
is almost exclusively in English and therefore inaccessible to most Bosnian
citizens. Examples for "good practice" are the websites of the
Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bosnian "Mine Action
Centers", and the "OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina".
Finally, the "D@dalos" project meets all criteria: it is particularly
oriented towards conflict resolution and can be considered a real "democratization
project", fully employing the Internet's potential to foster democracy
On the author: Michael Reimann, born 1966. Diploma in Psychology (University of Oldenburg, Germany, 1995); Diploma in Information Science (University of Konstanz, 2001). 1995-1997 Research Assistant at the Peace Research Group at the University of Konstanz; since 2001 Learning Software Designer at the International Relations and Security Network (ETH Zurich, Switzerland); author of several articles on the coverage of the Gulf War and the Bosnia conflict.
Address: eMail: firstname.lastname@example.org