Over the last decades, deliberative democracy has been pai~ increasing attention as a complement for representative democracy. Deliberative democracy is a political system based on deliberation among free and equal citizens, and deliberation is considered as a core component of democracy. Deliberation can contribute to democracy in various ways, such as giving attention to the common good and improving opinion quality. Today, the Internet is creating a new environment of deliberation. The Internet delivers great amounts of political information without any constraints in time and space. It also enables people to engage in easy and free two-way communication at an affordable cost. In addition, the Internet has the potential to liberate people from social hierarchies and power relations that exist off-line. In the literature, some limitations are recognised with respect to the impact of the Internet on deliberative democracy. While previous studies focus on the established democracies of Western countries, Asian context studies are largely limited. Existing empirical measurements for the deliberation quality focus on specific aspects of deliberation and do not reflect the depth of the theoretical discussions. Little attention is given to the deliberation quality of process and heterogeneous groups. To overcome the limitations, this study attempts to explore the potential of the Internet for deliberative democracy in the South Korean context by looking at the quality of the online deliberation process. In addition, a comprehensive set of measurements for deliberation quality is developed based on an extensive exploration of literature. Furthermore, the effects of exposure to diversity in opinion on deliberation process are examined by scrutinising the different patterns of online deliberation between homogeneous and heterogeneous groups. Data are collected from Nosamo and Hani, which are the most influential and busiest online bulletin boards during the 2002 Korean Presidential election campaign. The data constitute all of the messages that are posted on the bulletin boards before and after the TV debate between two major candidates: A content analysis ~s carried out to search for patterns and structuresofthe messages and then to make inferences on them. In addition, the Chi-square test, the Mann-Whitney U test, and the T-test are employed to evaluate the discrepancy in the d~liberation process between the two online bulletin boards. The results of the analyses reveal that the online discussions in the two bulletin boards do not meet all the requirements of ideal democratic deliberation. The discussions in the two bulletin boards can be described, by and large, as they are 'opinion-oriented, rational and autonomous' but 'lacking in impartiality'. They also can be described, by and large, as they are 'respectful to others and sincere' but 'not very. reciprocal and lacking in corrigibility' . 'In addition, some discrepancies between the two bulletin boards are found with respect to requirements for deliberation. While, the heterogeneous group (Hani) tends more to . express opinions, the homog~neous group (Nosamo) develops a longer argument, expresses the opinions with more conviction, and shows a higher level ofjustific~tion. The homogeneous group presents a more topic relevance and a more criticism toward the conservative traditional media and regionalism. However, the homogeneous group lacks impartiality compared to the heterogeneous group. On the other hand, the messages in the homogeneous group are more interactive, corrigible and respectful than the heterogeneous group. However, pros and cons are more prevalent' in the heterogeneous group and no difference in perceived deception is found between the two groups
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