Skip to content

Smart digital technologies and the future of democracy in the Muslim world


Smart digital technologies have had a mixed effect on the prospect of democracy throughout the world. They have contributed to the de-centralization of previously powerful and often monopolistic mass media by enabling grassroots citizens to advance their independent voices, empowering them through more effective political communication and organization of dissent, and giving them easier access to governments and politicians. Also, the depth and extent of the available data on citizens to governments and big-tech companies, and of the surveillance capabilities they provide, is a clear risk to deliberative democracy. This paradoxical impact has been felt in the Muslim world, with the widespread adoption and popularity of digital technologies among both people and governments over the past two decades. The project, funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation aims to investigate the impact of smart digital technologies on the prospect of democracy in Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and Egypt.

To support the project’s investigation, the project team has created a Zotero library that is available to the public. The library is organized geographically, with categories for each country under study: Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey. The library includes news articles, reports, and other reference materials that provide a comprehensive overview of the latest research and publicly available resources on the impact of smart digital technologies on democracy. One of the strengths of the library is its inclusion of resources in multiple languages. This reflects the diverse perspectives on the impact of digital technologies on democracy in the Muslim world. The library also features annotations, tags, and notes to help researchers navigate the collection effectively.


The Zotero library is a valuable resource for researchers, students, and anyone interested in understanding the impact of smart digital technologies on democracy in these four countries. The project team will regularly update the library to ensure that it stays up-to-date with the latest developments in the field of digital technology and democracy. By providing a curated collection of resources organized by country, the library aims to support a nuanced understanding of the impact of digital technologies on democracy in each context. The library can be accessed here.


Research TeamShahram AkbarzadehIhsan YilmazZahid Ahmed and Galib Bashirov

An international 3-day event in 2023 examined this topic.