Rolf, DP, The Internet: A Critical Perspective, Critical Discourse Analysis: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, Nova Science Publishers, Le, Thao, Le, Quynh, Short, M (ed), New York, pp. 127-136. ISBN 978-1-60741-320-2 (2009) [Research Book Chapter]
The Internet provides a global, high speed, data communications network on which an increasing number of inter-personal communication services are being built. In the early 1990’s emphasis was placed on its speed of operation which led to it being described as the "Information Superhighway". This ‘Superhighway’ opened up new avenues for discourse and held the potential to break down not only geographical boundaries but also the barriers of race, creed and culture by providing connectivity and services to aid human communication. The "Superhighway" is now replaced by the "Global Village", a gentler metaphor implying harmony, tranquillity and peaceful coexistence. However, this powerful medium has empowered the individual in ways previously unimagined by providing an opportunity for anyone to speak and be heard by the world. This empowerment, although liberating to the individual and to open societies, is perceived as a threat by those groups, large and small, who rely on the control of discourse to control their members. Governments who control discourse can control the minds of their citizens by being selective about the information they receive in news or through any other available medium. The complexity of the Internet means that exercising control over discourse is difficult and expensive, but not impossible. Control happens "behind the scene" in a way that is far from obvious to the unwary individual. In this chapter we explore the connection between Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and the Internet and demonstrate the power of discourse over the Internet and the consequential battle for its control.