In this presentation, I examine various attempts by national governments to regulate the use of the Internet during political campaigns. Different countries have tried various approaches to regulating the use of the Internet by traditional political actors, such as enacting new legislation (e.g., Singapore's Parliamentary Elections Act of 2001) or applying existing legislation (Japan’s Public Offices Election Law, or POEL).
Our discussion will start with an overview of the POEL and how it has been applied to Japanese political campaigns--mainly at the national levels--over the past decade. To date, the focus of the POEL has been on web-sites rather than e-mail or other forms of new-media technologies.
By bringing in examples from other nations, we see that there are a number of difficulties in regulating a constantly transforming technology such as the Internet. Comparing the different national strategies, I suggest a typology for campaign regulation of the Internet.
Leslie Tkach-Kawasaki is a PhD candidate at Tsukuba University. Her publications on Internet and Politics in Japan include a contribution to “E-Democracy in East Asia?,” available at the DIJ.