It looks how the BBC tried to encourage civic engagement through its Action Network project, originally known as iCan.
In the paper, I argue that the initiative suffered from a “fundamental tension between the BBC’s desire to empower grassroots civic action and the corporation’s historical and entrenched obligations as an impartial public service broadcaster governed by a paternalistic and elitist Reithian ethos”.
I suggest that rather than hosting e-participation platforms, broadcasters and other public institutions should embrace Web 2.0 approaches that enable citizens to engage on different levels and at different times, depending on contexts.
I hope the paper will be of interest to journalists, academic and public policy makers involved in issues of the media, e-democracy and participatory culture. It is available as a free PDF download, under a Creative Commons license
The paper is part of a special issue of JeDem on sustainable e-participation.