COLUMN ONE : TV, VCRs Fan Fire of Revolution : Technology served the cause of liberation in East Europe. The power of information is clear, but is it democratizing?

1989 was the year George Orwell was proved wrong.

Television, it has turned out, is not the ultimate tool of repression.

In the year that Eastern Europe surged toward democracy, communications technology served the cause of liberation. The stories trickle in from country after country–of Solidarity videotapes secretly screened in Polish church basements, of Cable News Network broadcasts picked up by satellite dishes in Hungary.

Now, as Europe reshapes itself, the question is whether the opposite is true:

Is technology actually democratizing? As the Eastern Bloc moves further toward economic modernization, does democracy become inevitable?

The ultimate answer may be long in coming. The information revolution has barely begun in Eastern Europe.

More than that, some believe Orwell’s only mistake in his novel “1984” was thinking that television exercises control by…

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