New ways that parliaments, governments, and civil society are increasing civic participation

Hey i Let’s do th s!

A collection of case studies produced by the

ransparency and accountability. They are hallmark principles of any democratic system, and more often than not it is parliamentarians, as representatives of the people, who work to ensure governments act in line with these principles. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, since its inception in 1991, has made transparency a rallying cry. We’ve formed committees and adopted declarations to make the Organization more open to the public, and we’ve taken steps to act in the same vein in our national parliaments. In more than 20 years of this work, the technological growth in just the past few - from the sky-rocketing rise of social networks to new web platforms - has made it easier than ever for governments and parliaments to interact more directly with citizens. Civil society has also played a critical role in bringing about greater transparency through new projects like some featured here. We hope these stories spark an idea you find worth trying at home, because the more we engage our citizens, the more transparently we work, the stronger our democracies will be. The communications team at the International Secretariat is ready to asist your participation in this important project in anyway they can.

T

hen we first launched sOcialSCapE, we knew we were doing something important giving emerging and established democracies alike a set of case studies that could inspire their own changes in how they increse participation in the political process. But we had no idea the popularity it would have online. The interactive map of case studies at oscepa.org and the digital version of our report online last fall became the most downloaded document on our site. As we continue to build on the first six months of this project, we hope you’ll share a story from your country. Reporting stories of civic engagement across such a diverse region as ours depends on feedback from all 57 OSCE countries. From an interactive public contracts database in Slovakia to face-to-face meetings between bloggers and political leaders in Cyprus, this latest version of our report features some excellent examples we hope will inspire ideas for you at home. We’ve added some cases of emergency response, as in Turkey, where Twitter helped people find temporary housing in the wake of an earthquake, and we’ve included two new cases from microstates Andorra and San Marino. Enjoy and keep the feedback coming.

W

Spencer Oliver Secretary General February 2013

Neil Simon Director of Communications

www.oscepa.org

Table of Contents
Crowdsourced Constitution The first Facebookbuilt national consitution p. 23 Building and Blogging The Swedish parliament’s new web site built in full public view p. 29 Open Duma Explaining parliamentary actions online p. 32

Stopping ACTA Social media spurs actions to save Internet freedom p. 19

Point, click, vote. E-voting on the rise in Estonia p. 5

Opting In Communitybased decisions from ongoing community surveys. Survey says... p. 10

Politics and Personality Parliament: your friend on Facebook p. 22

Twitter to the Rescue Using microblogs in emergency response p. 45

Egypt’s Funnyman Stirring political change with satire. p. 36

Parliamentary Questions Kyrgyzstan’s “Ask the Member” web site fosters interaction p. 9

Country Index
Albania 50 Andorra 40 Armenia 35 Azerbaijan 26 Belgium 19 & 43 Bosnia & Herzegovina 47 Bulgaria 48 Canada 13 & 37 Cyprus 41 Denmark 30 Estonia 20 Finland 52 France 16 Georgia 31 Germany 39 Greece 33 Hungary 53 Iceland 23 Ireland 14 Italy 7 Kazakhstan 24 Kyrgyzstan 9 Latvia 5 Lithuania 51 Liechtenstein 25 Luxembourg 27 Montenegro Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Russian Federation San Marino Serbia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden 21 28 34 49 22 15 & 32 46 6&8 42 44 11 29 the fmr Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 4 Turkey 45 Ukraine 12 United Kingdom 17 United States 10 & 38 Partners for Co-operation Egypt 36 Tunisia 18

www.oscepa.org

former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Making a Mark

Political parties/Civil Society: Fair elections
Ahead of the June 2011 parliamentary elections, all eyes were on Skopje to see how the young democracy of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia would progress 20 years after independence. With ethnic tensions in the past leading to violence during election campaigns and previous reports of electoral fraud, local organizations came together behind an effort to encourage voters and party activists to create a fair proces s. Using the slogan “What Mark Will We Leave? Fair Elections 2011”, organizers, including Citizens’ Association MOST, Metamorphosis Foundation, Macedonian Women’s Lobby, and the Institute for Parliamentary Democracy, worked with international funders and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on the 20-day campaign. They began with a widely covered news event featuring candidates from the leading political parties signing a code of conduct.
This had been done in past elections, but in 2011 the follow up was different.  More than half of the country’s citizens are now online, so for the first time, the partners took their campaign there.

“This is where a new generation is having their say. Getting them on board with this kind of engagement is critical to good governance,” said Robert Scott Heaslet, program director for NDI in Skopje. Top election officials credited NDI with having the rare ability to gather all political party leaders at one table, unifying and magnifying the message in support of fair elections. In 20 days, more than 8,000 people visited the fair election campaign websites in Macedonian and Albanian languages: 3,200 people interacted with the sites by “leaving their mark,”and 1,700 people supported the facebook page (www.fb.me/ferizbori). The online organizing was further supported offline – mainly through public events.

Between 12 May and 4 June, two Campaign Caravans, featuring the campaign’s fingerprint logo, criss-crossed the country promoting fair elections through local events. In more than 40 events thousands of people placed their neon fingerprints on large maps – pledging not to cheat in the upcoming election. The project “created an atmosphere full of confidence in the election process,” said Boris Kondarko, president of the State Election Commission. By participating in the program, he said, election officials sent a “clear sign to the people that we advocate for democratic behavior and tolerance among the candidates.”

Top: Voters “make the mark” at a mobile campaign map, pledging to be fair in the upcoming elections. Middle: A Skopje voter signs his name on the voters list before receiving a ballot on election day. Bottom: One of more than 4,900 people who signed the fair election pledge.

4 www.oscepa.org

Latvia

Liepins’ Letters

Parliament: E-newsletters connect with constituents
The constituents of Latvian parliamentarian Valdis Liepins need not go far to find their representative in the national legislature. After all, Liepins represents Riga, the capital city. But with people increasingly busy and government bureaucracy often difficult to navigate, Liepins has created an electronic newsletter to give his readers a taste of what life is like in parliament and provide more transparency to legislative debates. After being elected in 2011, Liepins launched the e-newsletter with about 240 subscribers, mostly supporters and other constituents interested in his updates from the Saiema. “A lot of people have little, if any, idea of what an MP does,” Liepins said. “So, I wish to let them know how at least one MP spends his time in parliamentary work and that, if one takes one’s responsibilities seriously, it’s a tough job.” The newsletter is about two pages. Liepins writes policy updates, discusses the national budget, details the status of debates on a citizenship law, and explains his involvement in foreign affairs. In one issue, he shares his views regarding elections he observed in Armenia as part of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly. Unafraid of showing his personality in the newsletters, Liepins allows constituents to get to know him as more than just a lawmaker. “I’m excited about the Armenian nature... I suggest you enjoy it,” he wrote in one issue. In another e-letter he posted a summarized government budget, increasing government accessibility and transparency. He doesn’t aggressively promote the weekly bulletin, but each issue is posted to his web site, and plenty of people have found it – including a radio station in Australia. The Perth radio station uses the newsletter as an information source for its weekly Latvian language broadcast. In six months about 100 new subscribers have been added. The newsletter is also being used as an example of good parliamentary practice in a university course. Liepins’ efforts to make the parliament more accessible have also paid off with constituents. “I get quite a lot of positive comments when I meet people on my mailing list,” Liepins said. 5 www.oscepa.org
Valdis Liepins (top) is one of the only members of the Latvian Parliament (Saeima) who distributes a newsletter via e-mail. The chamber of the unicameral parliament (middle). Liepins at work with colleagues (bottom).

The Open School came up with the idea to take the tweets and showcase them on an electronic display at Republic Square. one day the moderator asked. a civil society organization active in the field of education and EU related issues.org Belgrade director of Europeant integration Danko Runic (left) launches the @ MyEurope Twitter campaign at a news conference with Vladimir Pavlovic. the Belgrade Agency for European Integration and Cooperation with Civil Society led thousands of people in a discussion @MyEurope (@Moja Evropa in Serbian) on Twitter to promote European values and inform citizens of Belgrade about the European integration process.000 tweets joined the MyEurope conversation. For example.” said Runic.” said Danko Runic.500 friends on facebook. sharing a mix of news articles. The online campaign to discuss Serbia’s European future was literally happening in the public square. “We wanted to engage all these people in the much needed debate about the EU integration process. “They should be part of it. “What should education look like in Europe?” “Where children’s books do not stand on the highest shelves. a popular spot in Belgrade’s city center. coordinator of the Centre for European Integration at Belgrade Open School.” one user replied. parliamentary and presidential election campaigns where the leading candidates favored European integration.” The agency was among the first in Serbia to use Twitter. but two ways. they’d send a tweet or read one. Gordana Comic has more than 4. For 20 days.” More than 3. An avid tweeter. “Citizens perceived integration as a technical thing happening far off. the City of Belgrade launched its own campaign to engage citizens about the future of Serbia’s European integration. but only had around 500 followers. As people would wait to meet up a friend. a social media expert with nearly 8. the city’s director of European integration. . “We wanted this to be a lively discussion. they partnered with Nebojsa Radovic. which supplied two people to moderate the tweets (no cursing or hate speech allowed).Serbia @MyEurope Local government: Engaging citizens through Twitter In April and May 2012. political opinions and everyday observations. amid Serbia’s first local. The city also partnered with the Belgrade Open School. and earned national media coverage through a news conference launching the campaign. Comic has been known to post more than 10 times a day.oscepa.000 Twitter followers. He said they chose Twitter for the campaign because a lot of Serbian opinion makers use it.400 followers on Twitter @gordanacom and another 4. To reach more citizens. 6 www.

Thanks to his tweet. embracing the immediacy of social media.” Casini told reporters. and the employers’ federation met.oscepa. Popolo della Libertà. Guglielmo Picchi has more than 13. He provided transparency to an otherwise confidential meeting and showed Italian politicians could address voters and citizens in new ways. that has made photo sharing instantaneous and brought transparency to all levels of government. Casini caused quite a stir among Italians online and later the wider Italian public after major media coverage of the tweet. A few days later when leaders of Italy’s main labor union. He tweets more than 10 times per day. Considering the public’s high expectation for a breakthrough agreement. and . It intended to show that a playful break is also needed at some point.org . leader of the Union of the Centre party. like Twitter. Casini crossed the 50. “I became a twitter fanatic. often commenting on his party’s activities and proposing new ideas for action. 7 www. it didn’t happen. Italian media focused intense coverage on the summit. The occasion was a highly anticipated meeting on 15 March 2012 between Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and leaders of the parties backing his government (Partito Democratico. especially in Tuscany and Florence. He seems impatient for his party to start a new political era that is more connected to the citizens.as in this case from Rome . and Unione di Centro). Pictures make events real and credible. As the first to tweet such a picture from a high-level political meeting in Rome.they bring people to places they otherwise could not be. but at the same time it was a way to communicate via images that the majority has not disappeared. posted a picture of the participants on Twitter with the comment “we’re all here! no defection!” Given the same meeting had been scheduled and then postponed amid political misunderstandings a few days before.000 followers on Twitter. He speaks out on international affairs and harshly vented his disappointment on the occasion of the PDL setback in the May 2012 local elections. But only Casini’s photo from his iPad showed the meeting actually taking place. CGIL. Casini’s tweet implied “this time we made it”.” Casini’s action had an immediate impact.000-follower threshold and by May more than 57. “I wanted to take a picture of [Angelino] Alfano and [Pierluigi] Bersani. the union tweeted a photo showing the sides negotiating labour market reforms. Pier Ferdinando Casini. Pier Ferdinando Casini (right) in his famous twitpic. but then Monti accepted the idea so we had the picture taken all together.000 followed him on Twitter. particularly regarding loosening labour regulations and enacting judicial and television reforms.Italy Casini’s Tweet Parliament: Communicating via Twitter images In social media if there are no pictures. Casini had blazed a new trail in Italian political communications.

www. the organization made the web central to their public engagement efforts. They sent letters to the president of Serbia. They needed to show their strength in numbers. But recently there has been an effort to slice into the forest to create a private development. “Social networks. to protest the potential construction. websites and internet forums are powerful tools of associations such as ours in order to alert the public to this issue and break the media blockade.Serbia A Natural Cause Civil society: Protecting Zvezdara Forest. the city. Middle: An online photo gallery of images like these reminds supporters what they are protecting. a blog and a Facebook page that attracted more than 1. Supporters produced YouTube videos of tree plantings as a way to tell the movement’s story when others in the mainstream media would not.” Simonovic and Martinovic said. The hillside planting helped to stabilize the land prone to landslides and protected residents from air pollution. The association is now waiting for the Belgrade Assembly to vote for the protection of the 84 hectares 8 of Zvezdara Forest. Launching a website. In June 2009.org Top: A campaign poster featuring mascot Zvezdarko. Belgrade Mayor Dragan Djilas ended up sending a letter of support to the association. youth volunteers – many just out of the army or concentration camps – planted trees on Zvezdara Forest. Bottom: Volunteers clean the forest. Belgrade In 1946. measured 900 trees and held several demonstrations at relevant public offices. neighbours of Zvezdara Hill began organizing the Association for the Protection of Zvezdara Forest. hosted a children’s festival and other activities to awaken public awareness.com/ZvezdaraForest) Members stayed active in internet forums dedicated to environmental and urban planning issues and then held public events to strengthen support for the forest and give people a real connection to the cause. ministries. When organizers gathered 3.” said organizers Dejan Simonovic and Vladimir Martinovic. the battle begin to reap results. . (http://www. and on the request of the Serbian Institute for Nature Protection. They cleaned the forest. one of the highest places in Belgrade. but without results. studied the area and issued an official report.oscepa. so they went online. Supporters constantly wrote on other web sites and blogs to mention the environmental protection effort they were leading in Belgrade.000 friends.youtube. “In this way we animated part of the public.000 signatures.

inviting them to register to use the site. head of the politico-military unit of the OSCE Centre in Bishkek.Kyrgyzstan Parliamentary Questions Parliament: Ask the Members website As the lone multi-party parliamentary democracy functioning in Central Asia. Groups also used their social networks. project coordinator at the Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society. more than 1. “We are trying to discuss every issue through the website to give them our experience and our suggestions.kg makes it easy for citizens to interact with Kyrgyzstan’s new parliament.” said Erkingul Imankojoeva. 9 . the people elected a new parliament in October 2010.” said Ross Brown. “Promoting open and transparent dialogue between parliament and ordinary Kyrgyz citizens is a crucial aspect in Kyrgyzstan’s development as a country with a democratic political system. Find a member. So far. “The internet is a powerful tool that can facilitate such interaction. ask your question. “People are expecting changes. they are asking questions and they are seeing answers that interest them. “It gives us an opportunity to communicate with each other and share different views. It’s ‘Ask a Member’ feature has become a popular tool for interactions between parliament and civil society. About half of the country’s 120 MPs have registered on the site so they can login in and reply to constituent questions. click on the member.000 questions have been asked and answered.” www.kg – a site launched by the Civic Initiative for Internet Policy. “It’s working because we see so many people who have internet. they are reading. Enter the web site tereze.org Tereze.oscepa.” said Talkanchiev.” Sending letters to a parliamentarian in Bishkek used to take two weeks. a parliamentarian who has answered some environmental and food safety questions online. By the end of 2011 there was an increasing effort – seen through programs like the OSCE’s Parliament and Political Dialogue Project – to build trusted connections between elected officials and the people they represent. where Kyrgyzstanis can ask questions directly to their elected representatives. public events and mass media to promote the new site and encourage people to ask MPs questions about their parliamentary work or daily activities. A democratic dialogue that used to take two weeks is now down to two clicks. A new election and a new political environment still needed new institutions to strengthen democratic efforts. Kyrgyzstan was in somewhat uncharted waters when six months after violent clashes and a change of power.” said Meder Talkanchiev. now the communication is faster and it’s two-way. The coalition sent letters to every parliamentarian.

. Each completed OptIn survey costs less than $4. an online opinion panel that periodically gauges the region’s residents on issues ranging from parks to garbage management.” From deciding whether the Oregon Zoo should feature hippos or rhinos to the location of the urban growth boundary.) OptIn Panel Metro.org Metro’s OptIn online panel gives citizens a regular opportunity to have their say in regional park planning. The program makes it easier for members of the public to feel connected to their government. Those who have opted in to the panel receive an email when a new survey is available.50.oscepa. the regional government in Portland.” said Rebecca Ball. It’s also cost effective. “We asked how can we engage you?” said Metro communications director Jim Middaugh. Not every panel member participates in every survey. 10 www. is pioneering a new method of outreach that’s making it easier than ever to talk to. Metro launched OptIn. transit. “We heard from a bunch of people: Do it online.United States of America Survey Says. One recent survey drew 4. OptIn members have shaped the Metro Council’s decisions and affected the lives of 1. which manages OptIn. and hear from.. constituents. Stakeholder meetings on an important topic can cost $35 per person. an associate at DHM Research. They can then complete the questionnaire online. Regional government: Metro’s (Portland.000 Oregonians have joined the panel. Ore. In 2011. the OptIn approach – allowing citizens to join a panel and then consistently asking them their opinions – gives the public greater ownership of the policymaking process and shows Metro takes this feedback seriously. In less than two years. Ore. but response rates have approached 50 per cent in many of the questionnaires. . Unique from ordinary surveys. “That’s by far more than we would have gotten had we done a scientific survey. including more than 300 from members of Portland’s minority community. “We have enough comments from these groups to look at them in a way that is meaningful.) The panel has grown to the point that analysts can now extract scientifically valid data from most of the surveys.000 responses. (Survey results and demographic data are published online. and other issues aimed at strengthening the livable communities of Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington.” The survey process is simple. more than 16.5 million people in the Portland metro area..

Sáenz de Santamaría announced 15 amendments to the draft in May. resulting in criticism from open government advocates. for the first time in Spain’s legislative history. Enrique Cascallana of the Spanish parliament has 1. called it “an innovative procedure” that converted the drafting process into a “transparent act itself. 11 . But rather than wait for the law to take effect.oscepa. the government created an interactive website where people can fill out an online form with their opinion about the original draft law. it only seemed natural that the drafting process would be as open as possible.es (literally. and nearly 7. The site automatically redirects queries to the body of the Spanish government selected by the user. citing a practice consistent with other Spanish Government ministries. So. The drafting process on the transparency law highlights the tightrope governments and parliaments must walk when trying to have dialogue in the open. the government did not publish all the public feedback it had received. your right to know) – allows people to submit questions to anybody in the Spanish Government.org Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría explains how some citizen input resulted in changes to a draft transparency law. the NGOs Access Info Europe and Fundacion Ciudadana Civio set up such a site in March. He shows his disagreement with regional austerity policies and questions the effectiveness of the Spanish government at times. Access to Public Information and Code of Good Governance. He has also used tweets to call for greater integration and solidarity in Europe.who led the government’s transparency effort. The draft law includes plans for a new website where citizens can ask the government questions and get replies online. Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría. www. The criticism Spain received for not publicizing every piece of public feedback should serve as a reminder to those considering similar processes to err on the side of openness. As a direct result. Users submitted more than 400 questions to the site in its first three months. including those who would be excluded from transparency requirements proposed in the draft law.000 submitted opinions about the Act on Transparency.000 people participated in the legislative process by visiting the site. But critics complained the government should have been more open about the feedback it received during drafting. using his local political experience to share his point of view about current events in the Madrid region.547 followers on twitter.Spain A First Try Government: Citizen input for drafting legislation When the Spanish Government started writing a new law in March 2012 to require greater government transparency and access to public information. Regardless of the details in the final law – which is already seen as a step forward for transparency – Spain’s solicitation and use of public opinions in the drafting shows a new dedication to citizen engagement in a country that had been one of only four countries in Europe without a transparency law before. The website – tuderechoasaber.” More than 78. He tweets 15 times per week. But.

Now we have new connections. As a journalist.svidomo. but this was his first major organizing effort with social media. organized an event called “Let’s Defend Andrivyivsky” on Facebook. Hundreds of people showed up on 11 April. We have a success that unites us. journalist-activist Iegor Soboliev knew he had to do more than write a story. one of Kyiv’s top tourist locations. More than 1.oscepa. They met and planned a rally for the next day. “They think that they could buy everything and everywhere and do whatever they want. and more than a thousand did on 21 April to send a message to the developer. runs an investigative news bureau called Svidomo. melding civic journalism with civic participation. whose news bureau is dedicated to not just describing problems.Ukraine An Uphill Battle Civil society: Saving historic hillside buildings in Kyiv When a billionaire developer began destruction of property along the historic Andriyivsky Descent. Online committees formed to make announcements and posters and plan how to secure the safety of a future rally. Within two weeks 12. This time there would be no clash. including destroying a 19th century plant (rebuilt in the 1970s). “Most of us. there were minor injuries and Soboliev knew he had a fight on his hands. Soboliev knew the government/business process. we didn’t know each other before this story. The developer reversed course.” Soboliev said. Soboliev posted to Facebook that people who oppose the destruction of the historic sites should meet outside the developer’s offices. The company agreed to make repairs. “I was surprised. . in the spring of 2012. but helping solve them. too. the web site run by investigative journalist Iegor Soboliev (pictured above during an April rally and scuffle with Kyiv police). Our understanding was we should be fighting in peaceful ways to stop them. is dedicated to doing more than informing its readers about public problems.” 12 www. he said. telling media they had abandoned plans for a new business complex on Andriyivsky in March 2012 but that “gross errors” led to their demolition of some property already. As the developer moved forward with the plans. But when riot police broke up the rally.800 said they would come. And it’s working. Soboliev. Soboliev met with local police about logistics.org.827 people were invited to the event via Facebook. Soboliev. and had been covering developer Rinat Akhmetov’s plans to redesign the 720-metre cobblestone incline lined with 19th century buildings into a modern business complex. Hundreds rallied in April 2012 and helped protect buildings on the historic Andriyivsky Descent. The march occurred peacefully. ending up at Kyiv’s city hall. Svidomo works to solve the problems.” Soboliev said.org www. a former TV journalist.

” said Patrick Pichette. Over the course of 40 minutes Harper heard questions from citizens on topics ranging from drug use and foreign aid to child care and the budget. Google’s CFO. Canada’s official languages.Canada Question Period Government: Prime Minister Harper’s YouTube interview In March 2010. More than 283.org Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s YouTube Interview received more than 283. viewers ended up casting 169. and while Harper’s interview was technically conducted and moderated by Google/YouTube staff. To better connect with citizens. 13 www. starting his fifth year as prime minister and coming off the hosting of the Winter Olympic Games. The month prior YouTube’s interview with President Barack Obama generated more than one million views.800 votes on 1. Yukon. elected officials could also do regular video responses to video questions submitted online.oscepa. While the YouTube interview does not replace the healthy reporterpolitician exchange. This is democracy at work. Such interviews are simple to produce. but having a third party select them adds credibility to the dialogue.794 questions from 5. viewers vote for their favorite questions. in essence creating a rolling dialogue with the people. anyone could pick questions. a city 5. the first question came from White Horse. Then. In Harper’s case. who moderated the questions to Prime Minister Harper in March 2010. Highlighting the power of YouTube to connect citizens – regardless their location – with their national leaders.129 people.400 kilometres from Ottawa. the event still made Harper answer several difficult questions.000 people viewed the Harper interview. . “This is very participatory. which was recorded in English and French. YouTube interviews give citizens the chance to submit online video questions to their top elected officials. none of which he was informed of beforehand. The YouTube interview model has also been successfully used in political debates where videos of citizens asking questions are replayed before candidates. Stephen Harper sat down with the people of Canada for the first ever YouTube interview of a prime minister.000 views. The most popular questions are selected for use in the actual interview in which someone from YouTube sits down with the official to moderate the questions.

within a few months the city’s Local Heroes held three festivals showcasing the quality of life in Drogheda for locals and visitors alike.000 people to town. Drogheda.ie with over 120 job listings. launching Droghedajobs.” Lawler 14 said. “The community of Drogheda was not going to wait for others to improve things for their town. and then celebrate with a Sparks on the Boyne festival (below). and increasing awareness about the need for people to buy local. they were going to engage with each other and deliver what was needed in their town. would be a sixpart series profiling one city’s effort to redevelop its local economy. RTE. had several partners to push them forward.” said project manager Julie Anne Lawler. the energy of a community can achieve real results in a short period. Economic Action Parliament/Government/Civil Society: Creating jobs With unemployment in Ireland near 15 per cent. “If we as a community can be open to change. and a “Shop Local. ready to roll with it and dynamic enough to see the opportunity it brings. buoyed by the publicity and positive morale from starring in a national TV show. Local Heroes. mentoring start-up business people.org . Benefit Local” campaign.” Drogheda on the Boyne River was ripe for tourism but had not marketed itself to attract visitors in large numbers. Local Heroes is directly responsible for free wi-fi across the Town Centre.oscepa. “Local Heroes demonstrates that. This story of success can be attributed to how the local community took control of its own economic regeneration. including Senator Feargal Quinn.” Well after the TV series ended. the Local Heroes programme continues helping jobseekers. a former businessman now serving in the Irish parliament. a Local Heroes project that brought 5. we will be less vulnerable into the future. Through the help of branding consultants.Ireland Lights. RTE selected as the show’s centerpiece historic Drogheda. created a guide for foreign direct investment and a showcase video. The first show highlighted how Drogheda’s citizens created in five days a Local Heroes headquarters where volunteers united to plan a future of sustainable employment and restore town vibrancy. in 2011 decided to produce a programme focused on job creation. Senator Feargal Quinn and citizens of Drogheda gather to open the Local Heroes headquarters (above).” Quinn said. The show. the country’s public broadcaster. Camera. even with no finance. where one in three people were out of work. “Great things can happen when a community comes together and this project was about just that. www. “Our project seeks to make Drogheda and our people more resilient.

now Prime Minister Medvedev has opened an account in his own name (@MedvedevRussia) that has more than 1. www. when his remarks on Twitter failed to acknowledge the significance of the demonstrations. Medvedev also tweets links to the official Kremlin webpage. and Forbes Russia among others. Medvedev faced some criticism during anti-government protests in Russia in December 2011. Within minutes the president’s official twitter feed. his video blog and occasional personal photos.000 followers.” Journalists in Moscow now say Medvedev is a “must follow. His steady activity on Twitter has also made people notice when he’s inactive. It’s not uncommon to see him in the same week – or day – opine about a draft law in the Duma one second and then congratulate a football team the next. but the score sure is.Russian Federation Medvedev’s Millions Government: Mixing personality and politics on Twitter “Hello to everybody! I am on Twitter and this is my first post!” tweeted Russia’s then-President Dmitry Medvedev on 23 June 2010 while on a visit to Silicon Valley. @KremlinRussia. Herman Van Rompuy. saying. Twitter’s140-character limit forces a casual approach that Medvedev embraced to show the world a new. This has allowed his personal voice to resonate with citizens in an age when many governments still use officialspeak. Nicolas Sarkozy. he even tweeted that Dorofei was safe at home. he posted the old photo of himself from Twitter’s headquarters.000.  But he’s also got quite the following outside of Russia. In short. attracted more than 1.oscepa.” His tweets cover everything from national and international politics to sports and daily life. Medvedev is attempting to be more personable with the Russian people.  His followers range from pensioners and students to business executives. “The picture quality isn’t that good. tech-savvy style of Russian political leadership. What a start!” he typed on the first day of the Euro2012 football championship.2 million followers as well as an English version (@MedvedevRussiaE) with another 300. When he crossed the one million mark.org Then-President Dmitry Medvedev sends his first tweet (above) at Twitter’s world headquarters on 23 June 2010. including Barack Obama. Amid a minor media sensation about the whereabouts of his cat. including sending frequent photos. like this one (left) where he exclaimed “What a start!” after Russia’s first victory in the Euro2012 football championship. “Here’s how it all began… Thanks for communicating with me. As prime minister he has continued tweeting. 15 . Since then.

all major media outlets were reporting the story and wondering. greater housing market regulation. 16 . more social justice. sought to bring housing problems to the forefront of the national political campaign. one of the leading French NGOs on housing issues. French citizens were encouraged to sign the petition on a dedicated website (www. including Francois Hollande. signed the foundation’s “social contract on housing. four presidential candidates.000 people had signed on.mobilisationlogement2012. The General Mobilisation for Housing campaign. revealed that Cantona’s media stunt was actually an effort to build support for a different petition altogether – one focused on fair housing. Within six months 150.” said Patrick Doutreligne. a former football player stirred the electoral campaign. launched in co-operation with Emmaüs and the Secours Catholique. two other charitable foundations. “We needed a high profile figure like Eric Cantona to bring attention to our campaign. And the website made it easy for users to spread that knowledge through their networks on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. In a matter of hours.org Francois Hollande was one of four presidential candidates to sign the General Mobilization for housing petition. and following the presidential election.” A month later. as France’s presidential hopefuls were still working on gathering endorsements to make their bids official.000 people had signed the petition. “The sudden show of public support shows that housing and homelessness is a nationwide problem that merits more attention in the presidential campaign. the new French government lengthened by two months its prohibition on wintertime evictions and announced plans to cap rent in major urban areas. www.oscepa.France Mobilizing for Housing Civil Society: Bringing housing back into the political debate In January 2012. In a matter of days. a representative from the Fondation Abbé Pierre. In a letter published in the newspaper Libération. A web video series on housing that garnered more than 3. Eric Cantona announced that he too was seeking signatures. spokesperson for Fondation Abbé Pierre.” which asks for more affordable housing.000 views and the Fondation Abbé Pierre’s annual report on poor housing conditions helped make the case for government action. would the famous footballer run for president? The following day. and the sustainable development of urban areas.com/) and to raise awareness on the issue through social media. more than 100.

Other questions sent to #askFS have ranged from protecting women in Afghanistan to distributing aid in Libya to the United Kingdom’s position towards Syria under Bashar al-Assad. 17 www.org United Kingdom Foreign Secretary William Hague answers questions on Afghanistan and Pakistan during his seventh live Twitter Q&A.” He emphasized the need to bring foreign policy decisions into the hands of the British people.000 people now following him on Twitter and hundreds of them directly engaging in foreign policy discussions. . purpose was to prevent Qadhafi massacring innocent people & to support a better future for #Libya #askFS”. blogs and YouTube to create a dialogue between the public and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. With two-thirds of British government staffers using Twitter for faster access to news.” To close the democracy gap. he immediately sought to place foreign policy in the context of a “networked world. On the day of an international Friends of Syria meeting. 29 June 2011. by installing an unelected puppet government?” Hague’s reponse: “No. Hague turned to Twitter. “It allows the exchange of ideas between people who otherwise never would meet. involving them directly in international dialogue. “As an elected Member of Parliament. One pointed question regarding the invasion of Libya directly asked. Hague held a live question period on Twitter that generated more than 50 questions on the situation in Syria. I relish how social media has narrowed the gap between governments and individual citizens.United Kingdom 140-character Constituents Government: Tweeting foreign policy at home When William Hague became the British Foreign Secretary in 2010.” Hague told an internatinoal audience at the London Conference on Cyberspace in 2011. “Wasn’t the real purpose of the invasion of Libya to gain control of the oil. His #askFS campaign has led to more than 90.oscepa. In one recent live tweeting session. Hague has joined in to quickly and accurately spread information and messages that get to the heart of global issues. the secretary responded to 24 questions from the public – not just softballs either. This form of direct communication allows for an open exchange of ideas and calls upon the foreign secretary to be frank and accurate about the state of affairs abroad and their effect on the British people at home.

Tunisia Feeding the Revolution Civil Society: The blog that encouraged a democratic uprising When in December 2010 Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire and triggered a series of street protests across Tunisia. the imprisonment of opposition members. In contrast with the governmentcontrolled media.000 visitors a day and become a leading source for content on press freedom. and the site received the Reporters Without Borders 2011 Netizen Prize for its pioneering work for Internet freedom. “But we will continue to find new methods to bypass censorship until our constitutional rights are respected. During and after the revolution. Nawaat then used its network of Internet activists to help mobilize protesters through social media. For several years Nawaat (“the core” in English) was a meeting place for Tunisians to express themselves free from the censorship of the Ben Ali regime. So Nawaat made an end-run around the official censorship. this practice led Nawaat to reach 87. gathering content (400 videos) from Facebook.oscepa.” 18 www. the independent collective blog Nawaat served as the main source of information for Tunisians and foreigners alike. .” Nawaat continues to publish on human rights and social issues and train activists about Internet technology.” he said. “This fostered the spirit of change and the shockwave that we witnessed in the region after the Tunisian revolution. co-founder Riadh Guerfali said. tagging it. Co-founder Sami Ben Gharbia said the network “helped create a support and solidarity movement within the Arab web-sphere” that was crucial to informing the world about events inside Tunisia. including restrictions on personal freedoms. which downplayed public discontent. like Al Jazeera. With many sites like YouTube and Flickr censored. and economic stagnation. “This award is not only a tribute to Nawaat but to all our fellow journalists who often risk their lives to keep working in countries where freedom of expression is suppressed. In receiving the award.org Tunisian bloggers and Nawaat co-founders work on the site to help strengthen democratic institutions and press freedom in Tunisia. bloggers also offered advice on how to circumvent censors. Time magazine called Nawaat instrumental in the Tunisian Revolution. providing analysis on the root causes of the revolution. Tunisians had increasingly gathered on Facebook. Nawaat posted numerous articles covering the uprising. “These solutions are only temporary. timestamping it and making it accessible to other media organizations. Since 2004. human rights. and politics in Tunisia.” said one blog entry.

000 people together in 120 cities across 24 European countries. “It appears the entertainment industry still does not recognize what kind of beast it awoke. On 11 February 2012. protestors said the proposed law would only result in creating new black markets for copyright-protected content. Three months later.European Union Stopping ACTA Civil society: Saving Internet freedom through social media In early 2012. ACTA aimed to establish a global legal framework for targetingcounterfeit goods. 19 . To protest similar legislation in the United States. like this gathering in Brussels.oscepa.org Pins on a map (above) show the hundreds of protests across Europe held to oppose ACTA in February 2012. Forty per cent of voters on a Mashable. and Slovakia in reconsidering their position on the treaty.8 million people had signed an international petition against ACTA. politicians from varying parties said the calls and mails from ordinary. Dwindling governmental support was echoed in the European Parliament which rejected ACTA on 3 July marking the first time the Parliement exercised its Lisbon Treaty power to reject an international trade agreement.com wrote as European streets filled with “Stop ACTA” protest signs. In the works since 2007.com poll credited this protest with turning the tide in America. the Czech Republic. as member states of the European Union were set on ratifying the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).” TechDirt. making their information inaccessible. concerned citizens had made all the difference. www. Incensed by what was widely seen as sweeping new controls on Internet freedom that would criminalize the sharing of music and other content. Hundreds of thousands protested from Belgium to Bulgaria and all across the EU. and demonstrated widespread discontent with the proposed regulation. generic medicines and copyright infringement on the Internet. opponents of the treaty used social networks to protest across Europe. on 9 June. a second ACTA Action Day brough some 200. By then 2. The movement demonstrated the power of new media and old advocacy techniques to affect legislation. protesters framed their message. When Brussels voted against the treaty. Wikipedia and other sites went dark for the day. But opponents argued that the treaty would limit freedom of speech online. gained visibility. Using social media like Twitter and Facebook. Although 22 of the 27 EU states had already approved ACTA. tens of thousands of people took part in coordinated protests across Europe. the widespread protests yielded tangible results as the governments of Germany and Latvia joined Poland.

These measures are set to promote freedom and secrecy of the vote. And the numbers show Estonians – 93 per cent of whom pay their taxes online -. Online voting thus does not replace traditional voting but supports it. .have rapidly embraced Internet voting as well. this voting method has been used twice in local elections. Voting over the Internet is a supplementary voting method that is carried out during a seven-day period. advisor of the Estonian National Electoral Committee. as Estonia. citizens need an Estonian ID-card or a mobileID (for remote authentication and digitally signing the vote). Internet voting will next be used in the 2013 local elections.” Vinkel said. www. especially in local elections where other abroad voting methods are missing. twice in parliamentary elections and once in European Parliament elections.000 citizens voted online. In 2005 almost 10. You can also go to the polling station where your traditional vote counts and any Internet vote is cancelled. in 2011 online voters numbered 140. a leader in e-government services.oscepa. and a voting application. Forty percent of online voters were over 45 in the 2011 parliamentary elections.org Estonian President Toomas Ilves (above) goes online to cast his vote for a local election while traveling abroad. and the oldest Internet voter was 102 years old. a computer connected to the Internet. you can vote as many times as you want. An example of the national ID card citizens can use to vote online. “Internet Voting has had a significant impact on advance voting in Estonia” said Priit Vinkel. which is downloadable from the elections website. In six years.000. In order to vote. Estonian voter data also shows that the Internet voting is not just for young people either. Vote Government: Internet voting In 2005. but only the last vote cast counts. “Almost half of the advance votes were given electronically and a quarter of all votes in the 2011 parliamentary elections were digital. “There is no doubt that Internet voting is crucial for voters residing abroad during election time.Estonia Point. Estonia became the first country in the world to have nationwide Internet voting with binding results. During the voting period. continues to press the envelope on ways citizens can participate in their government 20 through new technology.” Scientific surveys have shown that making voting more accessible through online methods may increase participation by three per cent over traditional in-person voting systems. Click.

project coordinator for CDT.oscepa. budgets.Montenegro Partners for Improvement Local government/civil society: Improving transparency In government. the cities ushered in new. “Such progress over only a three-month period has shown that change does not have to be hard and that the POTEZ research did not request municipalities to do anything which was unreasonable due to short funds or human capacities. over half of the country’s municipalities lacked transparency according to 44 specific indicators measuring such factors as the availability of government documents online and the accessibility of government meetings and elected officials. which is supported by the Open Society Institute . communication between elected officials and the people. credited the POTEZ project for helping her city improve its transparency more than any other city in Montenegro during the three months after POTEZ published initial findings. In July 2011. Others created fixed times for constituents to meet with their elected leaders and began sending press releases to the media after city council meetings. mayor of Kotor municipality.” said Ivana Drakić. CDT called on municipalities to improve their scores and offered any assistance throughout the process. By making more local information available quickly and easily. the Center for Democratic Transition (CDT) and local municipalities demonstrated that leaders can easily improve transparency as long as they know the steps they need to take. 21 . These efforts increased the transparency levels for Montenegro’s cities from an average transparency rating of 5 to 6. At the project’s launch. Their success opened “new possibilities for informing citizens and interest groups about the activities of municipality. what gets measured gets done.org) proved to be a simple starting point for local governments seeking ways to function more openly. credited POTEZ and its co-operative approach and useful suggestions with increasing her city’s transparency rating 26 per cent.Budapest and the NGO GONG in Croatia. CDT launched POTEZ (Projekat Odgovorne. mayor of Kotor municipality. more interactive. www. In Montenegro. Transparentne i Efikasne Zajednice.3 on a 10-point scale. In the three months following the report’s release. or the Project on Accountable. After announcing the preliminary transparency results. Several cities responded by publishing meeting agendas. The site (www. and public procurement documents online.” she said.org Maria Catovic. most of the country’s municipalities contacted CDT to discuss ways to improve. Maria Ćatović. as in business.potez. Transparent and Efficient Communities) to establish principles of good governance and publicize local government performance.cdtmn.

both delegates to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.” said Soares. pictured on a TV talk show. She has used her page to highlight local artists from Porto and link to articles she has written.Portugal Politics and Personality Parliament: Your ‘friend’ on Facebook Former Lisbon Mayor João Soares’ social media breakthrough moment occurred in Washington. is crucified and resurrected on the same day. Facebook remains the most influential Internet site. he has gained more than 5. the vice-chair of the OSCE PA Committee on Democracy Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions. but Soares and De Sena have managed to use Facebook to show a more casual. Her posts on improving family policies in Portugal have generated 70 likes and 20 comments.000 friends.860 friends on Facebook. She allows friends to post anything on her wall.org Top: Isabel Santos. He had blogged before. bringing a new more personal level of transparency to the political process. . As president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. In February. Bottom: Luís Álvaro Campos Ferreira. blogs. has more than 4. Soares and Nilza de Sena. or at charity events. uses his public Facebook page to show support for measures adopted by the Portuguese government. but in 2008 he expanded his use of Facebook as a platform to showcase his political and personal life.C. stirring 60 mostly positive comments on his Facebook wall.” This has allowed them to become “friends” with their constituents – Soares says he basically accepts all “friend requests”– and both have over 5. and news sites. use personal “profile” pages on Facebook rather than “fan pages. D. “I was really inspired by the Obama campaign and thought this is something I should do. ranging from the personal to the political.oscepa. www. a member of the Portuguese parliament. This form of internet activity directly connects parliamentarians with their constituents. and has posted more than 80 pictures to her page. Soares offers a variety of content ranging from pictures of his son’s judo tournament and beach vacation photo albums to comments on parliamentary sessions and political satire with the former mayor’s trademark wit. including links to op-eds she has authored and pictures of herself in parliament. This has allowed her constituents to see the inner workings of a parliamentarian’s everyday activities.” he quipped. video and statements from his addresses in parliament. Despite younger MPs increasingly using Twitter. visiting schools. during the 2008 elections. he was leading the 2008 election observation mission to the United States and found himself impressed with the huge impact of sites like Facebook on voter participation.500 followers. “Government PSD/CDS prepares shortening of Easter: Jesus Christ dies. and opening a new avenue for dialogue with constituents. 350 people liked his joke about the elimination of some national holidays. There is an overwhelming amount of formal information on public figures on Wikipedia. De Sena’s posts tend to be more policy-oriented. human side to politics – reminding their voters that politicians are regular 22 people too. Through pictures. according to parliamentary staff.

YouTube. The meetings streamed live on the Facebook page and received more than 5. a University of Iceland economics professor and member of the constitutional council. the Stjórnlagaráð was able to set up Facebook. voters elected 25 members from civil society to a constitutional council. the Stjórnlagaráð presented its work to the Icelandic parliament.Iceland A Crowdsourced Constitution When Iceland was severely hit by the global economic crisis. the process signalled Iceland’s eagerness for citizen empowerment. out of sight and out of touch. Parliament: The first ever “Facebook Constitution” Icelanders felt betrayed by a reckless banking sector and blamed what they perceived as governmental inaction.oscepa. Icelandic citizens were able to participate in the discussions. first written upon gaining independence from Denmark in 1944. a Member of Parliament. Throughout the process. the national currency plummeted and stocks were decimated. would need to reflect the values of a modern Iceland and for the first time the public would play a key role in its design.joined together to write a new constitution in July 2011. suggest new ideas and directly critique the actions of the Stjórnlagaráð.org Iceland’s citizens . “This is very different from old times when constitution makers sometimes found it better to meet in a remote spot. the Stjórnlagaráð. “There is not a particular policy about transparent government.000. Thanks to the advent of social media. Widespread protests called for reform. the Icelandic parliament passed a bill ordering the re-writing of the constitution to restore faith in the political system. By making the work of the constitutional council easily accessible through social websites. Drafting began in November 2010 with a national forum of 950 randomly-selected citizens gathering to discuss ideas for a new constitution for the nation of 350.” explained Birgitta Jónsdóttir. which was established to draft the document. In April 2011. but it’s the overall spirit in everything we’re doing. 23 .000 comments furthering the spirit of openness and transparency that was credited for much of the success of the drafting process. and Flickr accounts to keep the public informed and involved. citizens submitted more than 4.” On 29 July 2011. “The public sees the constitution come into being before their eyes. And while the new constitution is still awaiting ratification.” said Thorvaldur Gylfason.500 “likes” and encouraged further debate. in June 2010. Twitter. Above. about the process. scenes from the opening meeting and news conference in Reykjavik. www. Iceland’s constitution. and.of every generation .

” said Dina Baidildayeva who organized the group with support from opposition party Alga. as authorities used deadly force to break up a demonstration. The government organized blog tours of the town. . can themselves be the media they wish to see in their communities. “You could see burned buildings. and workers used the national holiday to stage a rally.000 times on YouTube. a group of bloggers sought to enter the sealed-off city of Zhanaozen to report on how (reportedly) at least 16 people died and over 100 were injured after police quelled a public protest against oil companies there. But with the Zhanaozen in a state of emergency with soldiers guarding access to the city. sons. 2011 – Kazakhstan’s Independence Day. and that’s where the Liberty Activists. In a country with limited press freedom.Kazakhstan Be the Media Civil Society: Bloggers work to inform the public In the wake of one of the most violent days in Kazakhstan’s history. viewed over 50. One of the most popular videos. A long-standing labor dispute between oil workers and companies in the southwestern city had boiled over.” The Liberty Activists posted the content online and shared it with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty ensuring their interviews a larger audience. or brothers. To get the story.000 people. The work of the Liberty Activists showcased how ordinary citizens. a group of bloggers. Liberty Activists’ requests to enter the town and interview witnesses was denied. scared to death people. Below: Web videos show what state-run media did not. Police used force and live ammunition to disperese the demonstrators. “We went to Zhanaozen because mainstream media weren’t covering the Zhanaozen events objectively. There were mixed reports as to how the events occurred and the pictures painted by human rights groups and the government differ widely .org Above: a mother talks about her injured son to a Liberty Activist journalist in Zhanaozen in a video seen by more than 50.” Baidildayeva said. 24 www.oscepa. shows a mother of an oil worker speaking of her son who is now in prison for his role in the demonstration. The violence had broken out on December 16. four of the bloggers snuck in early one morning when security was lax. “A lot of them didn’t really want to talk to us but those relatives of oil workers who were tortured in prison then agreed to interviews in order to help release their husbands. but Liberty Activists reported the dispatches were written to protect the government message on the incident. opposition politicians and journalists sought to seek out the full truth. whether they just have a pen and pad or a video camera and an internet connection. came in.

oscepa. but until “project Sign Language” the deaf community had not benefited from the videos. the Principality of Liechtenstein became one of the first countries ever to translate governmental websites into sign language. The sign language project has brought the small state international attention as well. an association for sign language interpretation. we also provide a greater awareness of sign language as a recognized minority language. we are able to jointly create important areas of opportunity and accessibility for deaf people.” said Bernadette Arpagaus. it is especially important that people with disabilities should not need to adjust to society. So far.li have received more than 1. “It is because of these projects.regierung. In a year and a half.regierung.li and www. “For us in Liechtenstein. www. who themselves selected which pages should be translated on the government sites www. but we should organize the daily life so that they are in the thick of it. with other organizations and governments viewing it as a model for inclusiveness in other projects. the government of Liechtenstein is determined to pursue the translation work further. Plans are underway to expand the use of sign language during news conferences and major government events. 25 www.liechtenstein.” said Markus Amann of the government’s information and communications office. did all the translations which ensured the project’s acceptance by the community.li. Motivated by the positive response in the local community.org A woman offers a sign language welcome to the Principality of Liechtenstein as part of an effort to make the government’s web site more user friendly for all citizens .000 visitors. more than 75 pages were translated into 144 videos featuring sign language.Liechtenstein Say it.” said Prime Minister Klaus Tschütscher.” The project brought together government officials with volunteers from the principality’s deaf community. liechtenstein. Sign it Government/Civil Society: Making accessible web videos On 20 June. The Culture Club for Deaf People and Handlaut. The government had been actively using online videos to communicate policies and be generally more accessible to citizens. a project participant.li and www.3 million combined page views from more than 300. “With this pioneering project. “At the same time. that we no longer feel marginalized.

Azerbaijani youth hype the FTU project. citing restrictions placed on innovative professors and student activities. a non-political social youth movement aimed to foster independent thinking and personal responsibility. co-founder and executive director of OL! Azerbaijan. Georgia and other countries. but now people in Azerbaijan have “success stories they can implement or improve upon.” Salamli said.” one woman says in the video. “We are actually filming all our lectures and posting them on our website so people who did not or are not able to participate in our lectures can access them online. told the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. a first of its kind endeavour in the South Caucasus.” Vugar Salamli. “Years ago we came to realize that in order to attract youth that are open to being involved. “Azerbaijani youth face serious deficiencies of timely information.” the project website says.Azerbaijan Free Thought University Civil society: Teaching democracy online and off In Azerbaijan. I have friends here. inspired by a need to educate and encourage democratic values in Azerbaijan. we did not have good examples of youth activism in Azerbaijan. my colleagues are here. Salamli and his colleagues say they are motivated by the vision of a better. students at Azerbaijan’s Free Thought University are able to hear lectures at any time on a host of topics related to democratic governance -. social media has become the most important tool used to spread messages of social activism to youth. We had to build everything from scratch. “For the last three years. freedom of expression and democracy – topics you won’t find in mainstream Azerbaijani universities.” In a video published on the organization’s Facebook page. . we have organized more than 200 lectures. whatever we do has to be done in a very creative way. more civically engaged Azerbaijan. a country where there is limited access to mass media. OL! Azerbaijan. I have my favourite professors here. independent TV or newspapers. so we started to follow activism in Serbia.org By recording and storing videos online. began Free Thought University in 2009. “When I was 20 years old back in the late 90s. Ukraine.even if they can’t attend the university in person.” 26 www.oscepa. The best thing we can do for society is to give them success stories and good examples to replicate. The project offers lectures on human rights.” he told IFES. “I feel very comfortable here.

a grandmother from the small town of Consdorf became the first person to email a petition in Luxembourg. But since January.” Penen also asked parliamentarians to encourage organic farming as a way of protecting the environment. The Petitions’ Committee.org The Parliament of Luxembourg (above) has moved away from the business of receiving paper petitions (left) and created an online process for people to electronically gather signatures and submit their petitions to parliament. fertilizers.” In the future. This March. one simple step made it easier for citizens to submit petitions: creating an email address. Under a new public petition system. “Citizens of Luxembourg are now one click away from raising issues in parliament. the president of the Petitions’ Committee. documents could only be submitted in person or by regular mail. Petitions that receive more than 4.” explained Gira. petitions can be sent via email to petition@chd. the parliament has considered more than 300 public petitions.” www. The petition. the parliament’s website will allow the electronic collection of signatures. On 27 June. she was invited to express her views before the parliamentary Petitions’ Committee. “By establishing a new public petition system. which has just about 130 signatures (a tenth of the population of Consdorf ). “Making it easier to submit petitions is only the first step to encourage greater transparency and accountability in government.Luxembourg Civic Participation through E-petitions Parliament: A simple step to bring citizens close to their government When the Chamber of Deputies of Luxembourg looked into ways of encouraging civic participation. “but I urge you to take measures against the use of pesticides.oscepa. also agreed to find ways to better support organic farming.” she explained. when the right to petition public authorities was enshrined in the Grand-Duchy’s constitution. “Creating an e-mail address was a starting point. the Chamber of Deputies will do more towards engaging its constituents and fostering civic dialogue. Since 1999.500 signatures would receive a televised public debate including a member of the Luxembourgian government. until 2012. led deputies to hold meetings with the agriculture minister and the minister in charge of sustainable development to discuss the use of pesticides in Luxembourg and determine whether to ban the use of certain chemical products.” said Camille Gira. Claudine Penen wanted to alert MPs to the negative effects of pesticides and chemical products used in agriculture. “I am just a simple grandmother. the Chamber of Deputies intends to further increase civic participation by expanding the use of the Internet. lu. which generally works by consensus. 27 . and other harmful chemical products. However.

Yup. In Eindhoven. As part of a global open government movement.” Donner said of the weather website that depends on data from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.oscepa.The Netherlands Opening the Floodgates Government: Making public data publicly available If knowledge is power. and send the complaint to the city where workers can resolve it. “I consult Buienradar.” Donner said in announcing the new site. organization or company any and all information that is not specifically protected by law. The government’s open data practice provides to any individual. you never know what citizens will create when given access to public data.nl as the one-stop shop for government data. but giving entrepreneurs a tool to establish new services and products. varying terms of usage and inadequate forms of supplying data proved to be obstacles to access information. “I challenge you to make more of these smart and innovative applications with open government data. See trash. map the location. “The new portal has largely removed those barriers.nl). 2. If people know what information the government has. the Dutch government over the last year has taken an extraordinary step to make its people more powerful. 1. There’s an app for that too.org . residents can now report local issues from their phones using the BuitenBeter app. but it only works if the government first makes the data easy to access. See trash disappear.overheid. 4. categorize the issue. The power of open data rests in what citizens create with it. The challenge is a call to any citizen to create something useful for their neighbors. See something that needs fixing? Use the app to take a picture. “Government data are the basis for all kinds of creative solutions. From basic weather forecasts to quirky apps like the toilet finder (wcvinder. In the past.” said Donner. Open data practices end up not just strengthening democracy. the Netherlands has made sure its agencies make their data open and accessible. 28 www.nl regularly before I ride my bike. Photograph trash. To make the data most accessible – either free or at a low cost – Interior and Kingdom Relations Minister Piet Hein Donner in 2011 launched data. People sometimes forget just how much data the government has that can be useful to a potential business owner or anyone in daily life. Directly linking citizens and governments through information can do wonders for public service.” Donner said. they are better equipped to interact with their government to improve a community as well. Report trash to city. 3.

Sweden Building and Blogging Parliament: Digital development in full public view Openness and transparency form the basis of communication in most parliaments. gradually. blogged about what they were fixing. “Yes. “The criticism was sometimes harsh.” Bergander said. says Hanna Bergander project manager at the Swedish Parliament. The old site remained visible the whole time. “We published posts about the background.” Bergander said. “Although it was sometimes painful to receive the criticism we received.oscepa. When the new Riksdag website officially launched in April 2012. This was the digital equivalent of building a new house and letting the public walk in as you are hammering to tell you what they want changed.” Bergander said. www. and MPs. in an open and transparent process. excellent!” wrote one. the process and about what was to come. teachers. was essential in order to achieve the successful result we now have. and after about six weeks dealt with most of the serious complaints. After fixing the search engine.riksdagen.org Internet World Sweden named the Swedish Parliament’s website (above) the best public authority site in Sweden -before it was even completed. and simultaneously blogged about building the new site. “Launching such an extensive website as this. the parliament reported a massive increase in new comments from target groups such as the government workers. But how open can we actually be? And what happens when we expose our work to the public? This is something the Riksdag learned when the parliament decided to implement digital development in full public view. we’ve also worked on a daily basis on putting this maxim into practice”. we were never criticised for the actual process.” Most of the responses on the development blog were positive and polite and mainly came from people interested in web development. “The new Riksdag website is among the most ambitious we have seen in the public sector.se 29 . broken links and webcasting problems. “We answered every comment and question. Developers prioritised the concerns. and throughout the process we explained why we were developing certain functions and the ideas behind the new content. The Riksdag published a beta version of a new website in February 2011. focus on open data!” said another.” www. the “public outcry” abated and the number of critical comments decreased. “Looks good and modern. “I’m incredibly proud that we haven’t just talked about being an open parliament. Some users wanted the old site back and said it was hard to find relevant documents. Users could submit opinions and comments both via the beta version and the blog.” the magazine said in praising the lengthy and open betatesting period.

Hasseriis admits the Facebook page has influenced the show to a much greater extent than he could have envisioned. and thus involve themselves in the issues that we present. and leader of the Danish People’s Party Pia Kjærsgaard. “We use it extremely actively. but Debatten uses Facebook almost as a parallel public affairs programme. Tune into DR each week and you’ll see big name politicians and opinion leaders debating the most salient topics in front of a live studio audience. 30 www. Facebook was not even a part of the set up. Conservative leader Lars Barfoed. But go online at the same time and you’ll see even more. Debates surrounding gay marriage have inspired the most participation. A show debating cuts to social benefits also attracted a heated commentary on Facebook.” he said. “It has been interesting to see how many visit the Facebook page. . actively uses Facebook to involve viewers in political debates.” he said. A roster of participants on Debatten reads like a Who’s Who of Danish politics. produced by Denmark’s Radio (DR).000 ‘likes’. The intensive use of the Facebook page has surprised programme editor Bo Hasseriis.Denmark Seeing Double Parliament/Civil Society: Moving televised debates online Airing since 2010. A lot of shows use Facebook for marketing or to solicit a question from the public here or there. with over 400 comments in 45 minutes. Denmark’s Radio has also used Facebook to float potential topics for the live TV programme and gauge public interest before moving ahead. now Debatten has over 24.oscepa. often leading to 250-300 comments on Debatten’s Facebook page in the course of the one-hour programme. with the show hosting such notable figures as Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. current Foreign Minister Villy Søvndahl.” said Hasseriis. and its continued growth on Facebook is a sign that citizens are interested in new venues for public affairs discussions. When Debatten first went on the air. “It was abundantly clear that there was a clear polarization of attitudes to these public cutbacks. Debatten. The show’s Facebook page features two panellists – specifically chosen to represent either side of the TV debate – holding their own online discussion with viewers.org Photos posted to the Debatten Facebook page give the audience a behind the scenes look at the public affairs show and a chance to join politicians in the debate itself. who likens the discussion on Facebook to a parallel universe where sometimes the debate moves entirely away from the television programme’s topic. Former Prime Minister LarsLøkke Rasmussen.

and facilitating joint responses to local and regional issues. a CRRC consultant. and community activities and is being tested for use in election monitoring.oscepa. so that it can easily be used by any NGO around the world. which includes a geographical break down of security incidents and emergency reports and further helps government officials track and respond to trends in the regions. “The platform is already being piloted by an NGO in Libya. Georgian for ‘lightning’ or ‘express message’. the early warning network’s emergency function helped recover the missing person.Georgia Texting for Safety Civil Society: Connecting to government through SMS In rural Georgia where Internet access is spotty but cell phones are prevalent. Elva has expanded to incorporate such issues as theft.000 texts have been sent since 2010. “The platform has been field-tested for two years and is completely open source.” www.000 texts from ordinary citizens through the Elva project get plotted on a map (above) and colorcoded so it is easy to for the government to spot trends in anything from a bumpy road to a burglary. Incidents can range from agricultural incidents like livestock thefts or robberies to cultural events like weddings or other celebrations. So how does it work? CRRC gives citizens and local authorities in remote communities a weekly survey with codes to use to report any incidents occurring there. More than 8. Based on type of incident – indicated by a corresponding number – the reports are mapped out where other members of the community and local authorities can see them on myelva. the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC) and Saferworld have teamed up to ensure voices from the regions are heard in government.” said Catshoek. and we are also expecting to launch it in Armenia later this year.com. They’ve created Elva. In January 2012. The data is also collected for a quarterly early warning report. Once citizens send an SMS.org More than 8. 31 . irrigation.” said the program’s director Jonne Catshoek. an online platform that uses text messages received from citizens and redistributes information onto digital maps. “The project has been successful in fostering cooperation between citizens and their local authorities. the data is recorded on a web server. when an elderly person with a mental disorder went missing from Atotsi village. Originally designed for communities to report security threats. the vast majority of which relate to security concerns. reports and graphs for use by appropriate public entities. CRRC and Saferworld are promoting the use of Elva and lessons learned from the project with other NGOs in the region.

Russian Federation Open Duma Civil Society/Parliament: Explaining parliamentary action To promote public engagement in political decision-making.” Popova said. On OpenDuma. To increase public understanding of the legislative process in Russia. “In the public mind. Popova said.oscepa. A week before a legislative project is to be debated in the Duma.000 daily visits and up to 90. some of which can be announced at the Duma. Currently. experts – who are either deputies themselves or subject specialists – explain and interpret the legislation. increasing fines for violations during public demonstrations.000 visits during key or controversial legislative votes. simplifying political party registration. . some Members of the Duma. the organizers of the project are working with interested parliamentarians to get them to voice and bring up the most widely supported amendments during the actual debate.” Her site posts legislative bills at early stages of the process for people to offer their amendments. and ratifying Russia’s entry into the WTO. “The primary goal of the project is to help people understand how the parities we voted for work for us in the Duma. Even if some parliamentary debates and voting are streamed directly on Russian TV.” Popova said. have shared their expertise and experience online at Open Duma. in January 2012 Russian social activist Alyona Popova founded the OpenDuma project – a website. The site reports 2.org Inside and over the Russian State Duma. it can still be difficult for the average viewer to understand. featuring a video-blog and chat to promote understanding of happenings in the Russian Parliament. The OpenDuma project aims to bring a lively debate to the State Duma. its draft is put up on the website where all the website users are able to comment on it and submit amendments. a pyramid. making sure that laws passed are created together with its 32 citizens. The project also provides a platform for the parliamentarians to become better known in an informal setting and to co-operate more closely with their electorate. such as acts on direct gubernatorial elections. www. simply to help them understand how they vote. “We want it to be transparent and responsive to popular needs. In its first six months the project has been considered an exemplary case of civil society initiative in Russia for its use of Internet technology to help open up the legislative process.000 to 3. the State Duma is a closed fortress. Most voters are unaware of what their elected parliamentarians are actually doing for them. once the Duma votes on a law.

600 comments on policies ranging from tax reform to immigration. 30 of which have been selected to be formally presented to government ministers. and Greek citizens proved very interested in playing such a direct role in their political process. All the comments submitted are then gathered and assessed by competent authorities before being incorporated in final regulations.gr had 4. “Hot issues drive large and meaningful participation. the technical coordinator who helped launch OpenGov and the Greek government’s multiblog environment. the scientific community chooses the best proposals to present in workshop and discuss ways to implement.oscepa. attracting more than 6. the government has opened accounts in Facebook and Twitter. The site invited corporate and noncorporate users to submit proposals for new ways to use government data. but also inspire greater civic engagement.300 followers. “The idea is to provide an open platform for people to submit ideas to improve the government. When a citizen caught the error. “There are many cases where the online deliberation process helped improve the final document. Almost every draft resolution or governmental policy initiative was made available prior to its submission to parliament. Observations.300 followers. By December 2011. Participation is open to anyone. be they individuals or organizations.gr went live that October featuring an interactive blog where citizens themselves could weigh in on pending legislation.” In addition.OpenGov as a platform to encourage citizendriven innovation for public services.6 million visitors and 239 discussions generating more than 76. In addition.” said Giorgos Karamanolis. OpenGov. 33 www. After public comments. So far about 850 proposals have been submitted. it wanted to make sure that the concept of open government would not only encourage greater transparency and accountability. suggestions and criticisms are made articleby-article to promote a detailed review and remain visible for all users. attracting more than 6. Greece also launched Labs.” explains Karamanolis Ideas have ranged from an online map (above) clarifying various fishing regulations off the coast of Greece to an online medical information system to simplify the sharing of information between doctors and patients. In one case a draft resolution aiming to make the government vehicles respect eco-friendly criteria would have mistakenly only affected cars from one single manufacturer. OpenGov. the government has opened accounts on Facebook and Twitter.org . the resolution was redrafted to affect all auto manufacturers supplying the governmental fleet.Greece Amended by the People Parliament/government: Increasing citizens’ legislative voice When the Greek government launched the OpenGov project in 2009.

oscepa.000 people. he launched a Facebook group: “Torchlight . a walk in Oslo with lit torches of peace. a man with no background in community organizing.Norway They Rose for Peace Civil society/government: Mourning through social media he July 2012 terrorist attack on Norway’s Utoya Island. “We will show the deceased their last respects and the injured that we care about each other.. and the rest of the world. social media also can be a positive mobilizing force.000 people had joined it.org . In the hours following the massacre. 34 www. marked the most violent incident in Norway since the second World War. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg speaks at a memorial ceremony in Oslo that was organzied online and brought more than 150. targeting the Labour Party’s youth summer camp. As it became clear that thousands of people would converge in Oslo. This unified gathering signaled to Norwegians. With his idea. The incident was also the first such national tragedy to occur in Scandinavia in the age of social media. Many peopled learned of the attacks through their social networks. and they turned to social media again in their time of grief and mourning. their values and their opposition to violence as a means of political expression. decided Norwegians should gather in solidarity. Although social media can be used as an outlet for hate. we show the world together that we are a united people who show no fear of terrorism. At the same time. in this case bringing out thousands of people on short notice to stand with one voice denouncing terrorism and promoting peace and democracy. the strength and resilience of their country.000 people together in support of the victims killed in the July 2012 massacre on Utoya Island. their average age just 21 years old. participated in support of the victims and their families. Seventy-seven people died. including Norway’s top political leaders and parliamentarians. an image that would be repeated in sympathy at sites throughout the world in days to follow. Bratland and partners in government and political parties spread the word to bring roses instead of torches and the event became vast display of flowers throughout the capital city. Soon more than 26. An estimated 150.Norway is united against terrorism”.” Bratland said. evident from the spreading of anti-Islamic sentiments attributed to the gunman Anders Behring Breivik on right-wing fundamentalist websites. Terje Bratland.

” said Suren Deheryan. Administrators of both websites said government officials responded to many complaints that were related to problems with the voters list. Irazek.am is an interactive community platform aimed at bringing about positive change through the free flow of electoral information and helping voters make an informed decision on election day. project director for Transparency International Armenia. 35 .. “Irazek. which were displayed on an interactive map. Regardless of the government follow-up.org Voters look for their names on a local voters list posted outside a polling station on election day (above). the sites themselves helped the election to be more transparent and capitalized on new technologies to engage Armenians in a new form of civic participation. the role of citizens in elections. a project of Transparency International and the Media Diversity Institute in Armenia. www. The website.org website maps user-generated election observations in realtime (below). an interactive election monitoring and reporting site. This accessibility resulted in the site receiving more than 1. “The defense ministry responded to every complaint regarding the armed forces. supported by the OSCE and the U. approximately 90 per cent of the population has a mobile phone. So. let people call.am also had an interactive message board for observers. to give people information and a voice in the conduct of their own elections. iDitord. which also linked to a similar site.S. president of Journalists for the Future. legislation.” said Sona Ayvazyan. informing citizens about electoral rules and empowering them to report alleged problems on election monitoring websites.oscepa. but did not immediately investigate other concerns. As international election observers descended on Yerevan for May’s parliamentary elections. that also enables ‘every citizen to be an observer’. The iDitord. Armenia took a major step forward embracing the internet as a tool for political and social change. Armenians launched outreach initiatives online. The inclusion of iPhone and Android applications helped engage younger voters in the electoral process – a demographic often difficult to reach. In Armenia. which received 171 messages leading up to and throughout Election Day. provides information on candidates.org.100 reports. The website linked to iDitord.org.org. Embassy. text or tweet election-related problems to the site. iDitord.am. Then iDitord forwarded cases to police and other officials for their consideration. and locations of polling stations. The non-governmental organization Journalists for the Future developed the site Irazek.Armenia Citizen Observers Civil society: Improving election information In the spring of 2012.

oscepa. a 37-year-old surgeon. Egyptian journalist Shahira Amin famously resigned as deputy head of Nile TV after becoming disillusioned with the “near total blackout” of coverage of the ongoing unrest across Egypt.” he said. have fed the people of Egypt’s appetite for poltical satire in what was a previously closed media environment. which in just over three months received more than five million views on YouTube. www. helping to expand the number of people using YouTube.” he said. And the power belongs to the 36 people. Bassem Youssef. Youssef aired five-minute ‘webisodes’ criticizing mainstream media for its ineptitude in delivering honest news.org From a camera in his apartment to international prime time. Facebook and Twitter to express their political concerns and demand true information and transparency from their leaders. Al Bernameg airs twice a week in 20 minute segments. The show’s early popularity has also inspired other Egyptians to try their hand at online satire. Bassem Yousseff. becoming the first successful web-toTV show in a region where broadcast media is characteristically government-controlled.Egypt Laughing through the Revolution Civil Society: A new show for satire As the Egyptian Revolution began to unfold in 2011 the state-run media monopoly labeled pro-democracy demonstrators in Tahrir Square as foreign agents and worse. “The voice now belongs to the people. The media now belongs to the people. Given the government involvement in Egypt’s media landscape. the 2011 revolution in many ways toppled old media paradigms too. took it upon himself to expose the media corruption through satire. The heightened interest in politics and civic life has led to broadcasts of parliament gaining more views than soap operas. Youssef believes that this new age of information and internet access will never again allow authoritarian or radical regimes to take control of the media and inhibit the Egyptian ability to freely express themselves. and The Show. Beginning his comedy career with one table and one camera in a spare room in his apartment. He called the government hypocrisy and misinformation amid the revolution “a gold mine” for his comedy show. Al Bernameg (The Show) has been picked up by the independent television network ONTV. Modeled on the successful American comedy shows of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (of which Youssef is a big fan). . With Egyptians being denied a full picture of what was actually occurring in their country. His show came out “not just to make people laugh but to expose the amount of lies injected into media and politics. Yousef says mainstream television anchors have fallen behind social media sites as major sources of news and information in the region.

it only makes sense for the public to be informed and engaged every step of the way. workshops. during the project’s planning phase. and open houses. One of these projects is a city-spanning rail line that will directly affect hundreds of thousands of residents and businesses along the route and will change how Edmontonians navigate their city. “The city’s depth of experience in public involvement has been invaluable to this project. as well as stakeholder interviews. 37 www. Edmonton became the first Canadian city to adopt the concept of giving community-based organizations (Community Leagues) a direct channel of communication to the city government.Canada Government: Citizen input at every stop A Tradition of Participation How do you connect with the public about a light rail transit line that will cover 27 kilometres (17 miles) of a diverse city? You include public engagement from the start. “When the overall goal is public service. the City of Edmonton has adopted an approach that calls for including citizen input at all stages of public projects. but in Edmonton there was already a foundation to build on. The plan calls for sustainable. and how their input had been used.oscepa. Canada presented its new Transportation Master Plan. Since 1907. 2. healthful and practical projects to address Edmonton’s future transportation needs. . The project is now in preliminary design and Edmonton residents continue to assist in its refinement through community roundtables and drop-in sessions regarding how the stop locations will look and integrate with their communities. After each major decision. In 2009. to build public involvement into their plans. The Way We Move. the City of Edmonton in Alberta. the public was consulted at each step of the transit line’s planning process – from selection of the route to the location of stops. Between March and December of 2010. Edmonton has continued to develop its public engagement approach and now has an Office of Public Involvement and official framework to guide projects.org Above citizens discuss plans for Edmonton’s new light rail transit line and examine photos for the new rail line. Through online surveys.965 people participated in 74 events to have their say in the future of their travel. such as the rail line. In 1907.” said Nat Alampi. the city government returned to the public to show what had been selected.” Edmonton’s experience with communicating public involvement and the familiarity residents have with the process brought a large and varied group to the table. Edmonton’s program manager for the transit project. why. Gaining public input on a project of this size could be daunting.

constitution is a rare event.000 times through simple buttons on Sanders’ site for social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.000 people to sign a petition supporting his constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Senator Bernie Sanders called the 5-4 court ruling “disastrous” on the Senate floor and introduced the “SavingAmerican Democracy Constitutional Amendment” with support from several citizens groups. but Sanders has already succeeded to engage citizens in the fight against corporate money in U.senate. But in 2010. Senator Bernie Sanders has attracted more than 200. Successfully amending the national constitution may still be a ways off. It has further tilted the balance of the power toward the rich and the powerful at a time when the wealthiest people in this country never had it so good.gov/savingdemocracy makes it easy for people to support the process. and a simply-designed website for the amendment at www. In December 2010.United States of America New Methods. The campaign has been shared 236.S. U. “The ruling has radically changed the nature of our democracy. It’s happened only 13 times in the last 100 years. when the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United vs. 38 www.000 times on YouTube.” Sanders’ amendment would establish that corporations are not people and therefore not eligible for constitutional rights equal to individuals. Federal Election Commission that corporations were free to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections. political campaigns. and as a result Sanders delivered the petition to President Barack Obama. But what makes the senator’s effort different from every amendment campaign before it has been the remarkable public response visible on every social media platform.org . Old Process Congress: Campaigning for a constitutional amendment Amending the U.000 people signing the online petition for the amendment. “Social media has helped my office spread the word about this amendment and has hopefully brought more attention to this issue. “Corporations should not be able to go into their treasuries and spend millions and millions of dollars on a campaign in order to buy elections. some lawmakers got so incensed they moved to amend the constitution and effectively overturn the court’s decision.oscepa.sanders.” Sanders said.S.S. FEC.” Sanders said. and it would prohibit corporations from making any campaign or election expenditures. His Senate speech has been viewed more than 119. This has led to more than 220.

2.enquetebeteiligung. net neutrality and consumer protection. and post their own ideas or suggestions. which has received 457 proposals. At the same time it can access a collective body of knowledge. The whole participatory platform being used in a parliamentary body is an unprecedented experiment in Germany. The group’s debates take place in working groups that deal with such issues as privacy policy. Fischer. and bloggers. the German Parliament has enjoyed the fruits of the work of Enquete Commissions. “With online participation of citizens. politics is opening up to new ways of communication. All this adds the strength of crowdsourcing to what otherwise is a 34-person commission made up of 17 politicians and 17 outside experts. But in 2011.oscepa. including professors.042 votes.285 comments and 14. ranging from a plan to export Germany’s e-government management to a proposal about the best ways to objectively teach students about controversial environmental topics. makes it easy for citizens or interest groups to register. comment on papers drafted by the commission.de). More than 3. including free software for the filing of tax returns electronically.” www. Chairmen of the Enquete Commission. software developers.Germany Experts Among Us Parliament: Commissions give public a role in parliament Since 1969. media competence. based on public participation software called adhocracy. The new online platform has also generated new ideas for the commission to forward to parliament.org The Bundestag web site shows video from a recent meeting of the public Enquete Commission on Internet and the Digital Society. Only citizens can vote on the ideas. 39 . The platform (www.000 people have signed up to use the site. commissions of enquiry that bring citizens together with parliamentarians and experts to focus on solutions to long-term problems. they took on a whole new form when the German Parliament’s Enquete Commission on Internet and the Digital Society created the first online platforms for its members to hear a much wider range of views. The project group on “Democracy and the State” has taken up more than 50 proposals in its working agenda. but the early results shows citizens taking advantage of a real opportunity to participate and see their ideas move forward. and the adhocracy platform is still being customized. Another idea proposed requiring the public sector to use open software systems. “Politics is benefitting twofold from citizen participation.” said Axel E.

Local candidates were active on social media during the last campaign in Ordino. worries and complaints.” Albos told the OSCE PA. which is about half the population of the town itself. Catalan for Ordino is Alive – a multimedia approach to town communications that included a newsletter.Andorra Small Town Flurries Government: Social media for tourism and civic talks The small mountain town of Ordino in Andorra’s Pyrenees mountains has proven what draws tourists to its snowcapped peeks can also draw them to their Facebook page. and other seasonal festivities have kept Ordino on the social media map as well as the tourist circuit. The photos capture the message: showing the region alive with skiing. But he and the Ordino Communication Council are not waiting. Images of the snowy landscapes and the extreme sports images which have generated the most interactions. website and Facebook page. The page is “a space of coexistence and exchange of information between all the inhabitants of Ordino. like this one from Ordino es viu’s Facebook page. and Albos predicts such democratic engagement will increase again before the next election day. images and video links. not every four years in the ballot box. With this channel.” In 2011.” Ordino town spokesman Ludovic Albos told the OSCE PA. the local administration tries to best understand the pulse of the community. and cuisine. In some cases more than 100 people engaged with city-posted content. As of January 2013. direct and bidirectional form of communication.000 people embraced social media as a new channel of communication between elected leaders and citizens in 2007. the Facebook page had 2. Pictures of winter sport competitions. we make Ordino es Viu. It’s “an instantaneous.042 followers. the city added a Twitter account @ordinoesviu to quickly share news. The town of 4. “Social media is an authentic revolution for us.org The town of Ordino proved what works in person works online. which is different from the conventional means of communications. to know their reactions. The Facebook page aims “to encourage the participation of the citizens. Ordino launched the campaign Ordino es viu. music. . All together.oscepa. They are already developing a presence on the photo-sharing site Instagram and seeking to build social media networks that can improve citizen engagement and make democracy come alive every day with a simple click. since the citizen can use his voice daily.” Albos said. 40 www.

and Europe’s relations with its neighbors.089 followers in 24 hours.” she told the OSCE PA. His blog was named among three “must-reads” in 2012. one can be both optimistic and demanding. “Blogs are a way of encouraging active citizenship and constitute an accessible forum for the exchange of views. making the hashtag #cy2012eublogs among the most popular in Brussels for the day. George Zodiates. tweets and Google hangouts. The Permanent Representative of Cyprus. She stressed that in Cyprus. especially towards the political elite. Kornelios Korneliou.eu.” Myria Antoniadou. Deputy Permanent Representative of Cyprus. opened the event in Brussels by calling interaction between Cypriots and European bloggers a necessity. social cohesion. that participation will become a common theme in the immediate future. generating more than 700 comments and tweets reaching an audience of 403. The portal included blogger Protesilaos Stavrou. “However. author of the EU political analysis blog protesilaos.Cyprus Face time Government: EU Presidency meets the bloggers In an era of instant information posted all over the blogosphere. making it all the more valuable for leaders to meet directly with the people who often comment on their decisions only through a computer screen. including: efficiency and sustainability. “The Cyprus Presidency remains committed to transparency and openness and is willing to pursue the co-operation that started today”. face to face interactions can be rare. the largest aggregator of blogs related to European affairs presented the ‘meet the bloggers’ event. rather than the traditional top-bottom hierarchy of the old media. economic performance and growth. said in his closing speech. Bloggingportal.” www. The Cyprus Presidency of the EU decided to be proactive and to interact with bloggers from across Europe by inviting writers in July 2012 to discuss European priorities.oscepa. other EU institutions and probably some bloggers need to reconsider their approach to the social web to understand it as a two-way street. “This year is the European Year of Citizens. but the Cyprus Presidency showed the voice of the bloggers is already being heard.” Stavrou told the OSCE PA. it takes time for them to grow and play a role in a society. a country with about one million people.com. “The Council’s Presidency. 41 . and since we have already had a good precedent. relevance to citizens.org A screen-grab of EU Presidency Spokesperson Marianna Karageorgis’ Twitter feed shows bloggers interacting with the Cyprus Presidency. participated via a live link from Nicosia. poltical blogs do not have a big following yet. The discussions streamed live online paralleled with live blogging. in the meeting.

Their site. now with more than 1. They launched OtvoreneZmluvy. like the award-winning site ZNasichDani. head of technology at Fair-Play. As a result. so we decided to publish it online for anyone to take – so that journalists and other activists don’t have to request the same information. www. when for the first time the government was required to publicly release its contracts. read them. For nine years.Slovakia Transparent Treasure Civil Society: Searchable and accessible public contracts What would a journalist or good-government advocate do if they were given nearly every contract signed by state institutions in their country? Ideally. was first conceived in 2003 to help Fair-Play improve its own investigative activities. a governmental portal was flooded with thousands of documents – not all of them useful.oscepa.org What good is data if journalists and good-government leaders don’t know how to sort it and search it? Fair-Play Slovakia conducts trainings (above) and has become the central online source for searching public contracts in Slovakia. “We decided that it would be a waste only to use it once. That was the situation Slovakia faced in 2011. right? But what if there were tens of thousands of contracts released every six months? On one hand it is every watchdog’s dream to have such access. find potentially suspicious or overpriced deals. Datanest.sk has information about state subsides. It has become a go-to place for information about public finances.” said Eva Vozarova. grants. Fair-Play has been building a database mapping the flow of public money to private hands. It all helped remind public institutions that their work was being watched – helping to prevent 42 potential corruption. The database. and the beginning of a future crowdsourcing function so users could discuss and rate contracts. but no single entity could sift through such a load of data.sk did to show which companies win the most business from the state. “The theory is simple: give people the means and they will gladly become a watchdog in an area that really bothers them. and publicize them to hold the government accountable. Two NGOs – the anticorruption watchdog Fair-Play Alliance and the Slovak branch of Transparency International – decided to cope with the problem through crowd sourcing.sk (Open Contracts in English) to make it easier for citizens to browse the documents. .5 million entries. The site was pretty straightforward: a search engine. Fair-Play made it easy for journalists or other NGOs to use their databases.” said Vozarova. By sharing the data with open-source coding. tax and custom remissions. as well as who manages state funds. a set of criteria for highlighting contracts.

000 page views and 60. slogans. Bepolitics. added their campaign priorities and contact information to the site. which is available in French and Flemish. four citizens launched Bepolitics. But through its past success.Belgium Be Politics Parliament/Civil Society: A new way to see candidates During election campaigns. The site creators wanted citizens to know about all the candidates. and below a sample of the candidate profiles to click to learn more about each one. “The goal through this simple and innovative concept was to arouse the interest of politicians. enabling candidates to share their political profiles on one website and communicate with the visitors. before heading to the polls.250 politicians.000 visits during the six weeks before the elections with half the traffic coming from Facebook shares. pictures.candidate and party profiles and issue statements all in one place.” Jouret promised. the first interactive electoral site for the 589 Belgian municipalities. “Some parties immediately saw the electoral potential and diligently relayed the existence of the site to their members. Citizens can now follow the most discussed subjects on Twitter about politics in Belgium. and other details about the elected position.oscepa. Above the bilingual homepage. where no fewer than 15 major parties play a role in the political system.” Jouret said. Bepolitics combines all the information you could find on other social media in one place.be added a second part: the electoral debate.” co-creator Christophe Jouret told the OSCE PA. Bepolitics received more than 350. Other parties were more cautious about the question of how to make the best of a campaign on the web and social networks without causing the worst. After the success during the election campaign. “This has a positive impact on citizen mobilization. “We will be there for the parliamentary elections in June 2014. citizens. For citizens tired of fishing for candidat comparisons bepolitics offers something new . To overcome the confusion and build citizen engagement. the flow of general information can be overwhelming. especially lesser known contenders. 43 www. making it easy to compare candidate profiles. including four deputy prime ministers. More than 3. especially to voters in Belgium.org . which will also be played out on the web and social networks. the team behind the site already has plans to become the Who’s Who of politics in Belgium.” Jouret said.be. and media. wherever it comes from.

Slovenia Beating the Street Civil Society: Media create a new platform for dialogue Newspapers. In the wake of Slovenia’s 2012 political and economic crisis. and cultural and environmental issues. the traditional backbone of a free press.” All essays are published on the Revolt website and editors select the best ones for publication in the daily newspaper.oscepa. Delo. Revolt just may be a platform to turn some of the political shouting into solution-oriented talking. Delo launched a project called Revolt in Alternative. 44 www. Promoted through Delo’s print and online editions. have undergone wholesale changes in the last decade. health care. as the name suggests – for citizens who feel disconnected from their government. education. The project started as an open web platform where citizens could post their suggestions on the future of the political system. More than 17. His 630 followers also receive links to his longer blog where he publishes articles and views on the political landscape of Slovenia. project co-ordinators plan to take the dialogue to several Slovenian cities for live forums this year. the project attracted significant participation. the judiciary. the newspaper hopes to have built a true alternative. changing the relations between politicians and citizens. Around 120 top-quality essays have been received since the start of this project. one of the Revolt supervisors told the OSCE PA that “the response of the public was a pure positive shock. While the protests showed a gap between political elites and citizens – particularly the youth – a group of Delo journalists decided to open a wider public debate about the Slovenia’s future. Contributions touched on the economy.000 people engage with Delo through Twitter and Facebook. has turned to Twitter to better communicate to his constituents on the work of parliament. The concept is to build a new social platform.org . Seeing the success online. the major daily paper. Bostjan Videmsek. But in Slovenia. and amid large-scale anti-government demonstrations. where citizens can discuss and formulate policies. In short. Head of the Slovenian Delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. and by the spring of 2013 publish a book of the ideas proposed in these public forums. Branko Grims. has embraced a new media approach to play a larger role in the country’s political discourse.

where an estimated 16 per cent of adults online use Twitter. Organizers pared them down to 91 for the public vote. Tezcan says many families are still without proper housing as of January 2013.” he said. Another asked whether Gül aspired to be the next UN secretary general.600 questions were submitted online during the week. It was winter and I wanted to open my house to them.000 people voted for their favourite questions. the helplessness on TV [a] few minutes after the earthquake. We got in touch with proconsulates and this simple desire to hold hands turned into a huge campaign. Emin Onen. see the story on the left.000 followers on Twitter is most active during meetings and events. More than 2. Despite progress on reconstruction.” Tezcan created the hashtag #EvimEvindirVan.” Tezcan said. “There were kilometres of distance between us. initiating the EvimEvindirVan campaign (translated as My house is your house Van) named for the hard hit city of Van. engaging one follower in some banter about beards. The government told Tezcan his campaign helped an estimated 100. To help.” Tezcan said. For Twitter’s humanitarian impact in Turkey. offering a safe haven while the government rebuilt homes. No. 45 www. to be able to hold their hands. there are still some families living in other cities as guests. with the top 10 winning an opportunity to meet the President in person (and tour and dine in the presidential palace).000 families receive assistance.org . enabling displaced persons to communicate with those offering up their homes to earthquake victims. Most tweets are about foreign elections or domestic politics. head of the Turkish delegation to the OSCE PA posted this picture of President Milgiori at the Akçakale border crossing with Syria. the microblogging site quickly became a critical humanitarian platform providing victims with needed shelter and care from compassionate Turks across the country. Ask the President Between 30 July and 5 August 2012. Then 14.” Gül said. “When I saw the people’s panic. A police officer asked about restarting unions in the law enforcement ranks. but Onen shows his personal side too. “Like in the example of the family in my house. “In a few hours there were thousands of people willing to open their houses to earthquake victims. Turkey launched Ask the President.Turkey Twitter to the Rescue Civil Society/government: Helping house earthquake victims When a magnitude 7. Six-hundred people died in the earthquake and thousands were left homeless. So what sparked this social media movement? According to Tezcan it was compassion. amid a flurry of emergency responses. In Turkey. I wanted to be able to touch them. Twitter users came to the rescue as well. Questions ranged from jobs and education to the quality of television programming.oscepa. Turkish journalist Ahmet Tezcan took to Twitter. Tezcan told the OSCE PA. The campaign encouraged people to host a family left homeless by the earthquake. he said. and I would be of no use if I had gone there. “Not now. Onen.” In many cases one tweet amid the emergency has led to year-long personal aid and friendship. who has roughly 6. a programme for citizens to directly engage with President Abdullah Gül.2 earthquake struck eastern Turkey in October 2011. The campaign’s goal was to see the victims through the winter.

Rossi Berti Lonfernini .” Berti said. It is up to the citizens to judge. “we call on our candidates to think hard about these offers. That means the 60 legislators sitting in San Marino’s Grand and General Council each represent about 500 people. “For a politician private assets should not be hidden nor shown off. as it is known. who faced questions about her party’s decision to ally with another party whose members had achieved some new-found wealth after elections.000 people.oscepa. like Alessandro Rossi. 46 www. It’s population barely tops 32. “No. but to reach a larger audience. have embraced new ways of communicating with journalists through Twitter. “I would like to know how they made that much money. helping increase awareness of Sammarinese politics internationally. Also on Twitter. let alone policy detail. Isn’t this inappropriate?” Rossi replied. Their 140-character maximum may leave little room for nuance. Cupo asked Giovanni Lonfernini if any newspaper requested money to publish press releases from his party’s candidates. Rossi explained international organizations. They are not useful to the political debate. Cupo had asked. but then you show yourself on Facebook on a boat during summer holidays. wanna have a ride?” Cupo was similarly tough with other MPs. with some turning to the trivial. Maria Luisa Berti. like the price of pasta. not only to increase media coverage of parliamentarians in San Marino.San Marino TwInterviews Parliament: MPs give interviews in 140 characters or less Tweets may be short. Rossi. Personal contact may be easier in the Most Serene Republic.” he said. “You fight in favour of the unemployed.” Cupo asked about 10 questions in each interview. The microstate covers just more than 60 square kilometers.org Several MPs in San Marino have given Twitter interviews answering question from the playfully trivial to politically troublesome. For San Marino. but some lawmakers. expressed solidarity with workers. this spate of interviews (that were reprinted in news articles online) turned out to be a valuable tool. a member of San Marino’s delegation to the OSCE PA. and showed some personality when asked a challenging question. is one of several MPs who gave an interview in September to blogger Patrizia Cupo. but the elected officials in San Marino are used to things being small.

where students. The organization created an interactive application called Glasometar (loosely translated as vote-meter) for the 2010 BiH General elections. The aim is to record all the non-fulfilled promises of politicians before the 2014 general elections. including one local project called PopravimiSkolu (Fix My School). editor of UG Zašto ne web portals.ba checks the statements of politicians with their actions or accomplishments and lays out guidelines for people to monitor the ruling parties’ activities toward fulfilling promises to voters.” Dalio Sijah. giving users multiple pathways to engage with the different civil society initiatives. where collectively they have more than 3. “The use of social media is very important for an organization of civil society.000 people. when it comes to improving democratic governance. which have attracted thousands of users.org The people behind Zasto Ne (above) know a thing or two about getting citizens engaged in the political process.Why not? Civil Society: Tracking political actions and statements From choosing a political party to measuring the actions of politicians against their words. Why Not also helps citizens hold their elected leaders to account for campaign promises. more than 15. One of their projects attracted 15. parents and teachers can publicly report problems in schools and begin a dialogue with education ministry officials to take action to resolve them. “This media helps to promote the activities.” The varying websites link from the group’s main site and Facebook pages.Bosnia and Herzegovina Democracy . The site Istinomjer. 47 www. told the OSCE PA. it may be a challenge to know which party is most aligned with their thinking. Profile pages are regularly used also to organize polls on social issues in BiH. for less engaged citizens. In its first three months. . ideas and projects of the organization.000 fans.oscepa. a 12-year-old organization originally established as a peace and demilitarization movement.000 people from 110 different municipalities used it. which allows users to answer a survey about their political views – the answers which determine the party that best fits them. as well as the development of a network of activists from across the country and the region. now works to support the development of civil society through a host of civic activism projects and web sites. With a dozen political parties represented in Parliament. one group in Bosnia and Herzegovina has a simple question: Why Not? UG Zasto Ne (literally Citizens Association Why Not?). Their success stems from giving citizens a voice.

once clicked. citizens were able to vote in a referendum about the construction of a new nuclear plant. Part of that became a creative decision by Bulgaria’s Council of Ministers to ensure the voice of the people was better included in government decisions. reveals details on each public consultation. despite being quite transparent. government officials need to be more creative to attract people to participate in the public process. providing specific links for users to enter their own comments and questions. only proposals related to professionalising the diplomatic corps and reforming the juvenile justice system attracted more than 35 comments. read government documents and see final public decisions. Bulgaria’s Public Consultation Portal is one-stop-shopping for citizens to engage on any number of policy issues . The moment came six years after Bulgaria had joined the EU and capped off steady and significant social progress.oscepa. documents. Each topic. a veritable index of political issues on which citizens can weigh in. relatively few people seem to be commenting on the various policies. and news. summarizing proposed laws and then displaying the full text of proposals. for the first time in Bulgaria’s post-communist era. Ivanov says the web tool is working even though there is no strict framework or legal requirement for such transparency. While that vote was a positive sign for democratic governance.” Pavel Ivanov.but it remains a challenge to get users to post comments on draft legislation. The low participation rate underscores a common challenge in efforts to increase civic engagement: it often takes more than transparency to draw people into the public debate. He said the government emails stakeholders on relevatn legislation and regularly communicates with civil soceity to encourage more use of the site. but the platform already has the makings of a quality tool for public participation. Unfortunately.org . Unless there is a major conflict to bring people’s attention to a topic. So far. “We trying different things to do that. Acting Director of the Council for the Administrative Reform. 48 www. The website has three main sections: a directory of public consultations. ranging from the environment to health. and the council is still working to attract users. Sofia had to show a commitment to democratic values. told the OSCE PA. The council created the Public Consultation Portal website. farming to tourism.Bulgaria Digital Democracy Government: Public consultation portal In January 2013. for reforms to be lasting. “It’s still evolving. Users can click on one of 22 different thematic areas.” Ivanov said.

pl. communication specialist for MamPrawoWiedziec. including photos. “We believe that the significance of heritage data. They also site mamprawowiedziec. ranging know”).000 people participated in a month-long national crowdsourcing action -.oscepa.” As an NGO committed to increasing transparency. some gleaned from official records. “In a democratic state knowledge and information are tools of control for citizens that help them choose freely. close to the hearts of citizens. The site makes information about 100s of from workshops for the elderly to candidates and public officials easily accessible.org . sightseeing walks to build engagement. Not only who is promising them what they want but who is really making decisions that are compatible with their own worldview. a think tank dedicated to building digital society in Poland. For five years now the sharable through widgets that can be NGO Association 61 has worked to make it easier for citizens to act on that right through the web installed on external websites. “Our website helps citizens to decide who they want to vote for in the next elections. and voting records. The government’s aim was simple: to rely on citizen knowledge to improve public data. The site makes it easy for users to upload information The Right to Know and photographs of historical landmarks Article 61 of the Polish Constitution guarantees citizens which can then be searched by other the right to know about the activities and views users. It is also easier for people to see how this data can be useful in their everyday life . in Poland.this first of its kind and scale in Poland. In one example. “Open Monuments” had minimal information about a 15thcentury church in the city of Orzysz. “People are simply interested in cultural heritage. Organizers made the data easily of their public authorities. but they do provide summary reports on different topics and analyses on policies and activities of the MPs. The association collects and catalogs data about Members of Parliament. Since 2007 questionnaires have gone out during four general elections. OtwarteZabytki. more than 7. as well as legends and anecdotes of the historic building. an 84 km 150-yearold manmade waterway is considered a Polish treasure.” Kanał Elbląski. The crowdsourcing platform builds on data from the National Heritage Board of Poland’s official register of historical objects and buildings.” said Maja Rzeplińska. including biographies.” said Katarzyna Werner. one of the project co-ordinators from Centrum Cyfrowe. dates.Poland A Monumental Task Government: New tech preserving ancient history For all the attention social media puts on changing the future. is that it can build civic engagement. 49 www. In the summer of 2012. Association 61 does not interpret the data. but citizen input helped give a more complete description. It’s information that may have been lost to the past had Centrum Cyfrowe not invited citizen historians to contribute to this open data project.which is a key reason for involvement.pl (“I have a right to organized cultural activities. there is a new effort to use social media to better understand the past.pl (“Open monuments”) engages citizens to help collect and sometimes correct open data about Polish cultural heritage sites in the country or abroad. opinions. 945 candidates replied to the questionnaire. In 2011. It’s one national monument that is getting new attention as citizens fill in information about it on the Open Monuments web site. others from questionnaires.

The action plan was part of a precondition for Albania’s July 2013 accession to the European Union. efforts paid off two-fold.Albania Pink Embassy Civil Society: Organizing for LGBT equality online and off In a country that is proud to celebrate its diverse religious populations. for the right of every individual who wants to live free and respected in this country. Social media allows Pink Embassy “to spread communication in a daily bases and reach to people who are in the closet or too busy to be active themselves. expertise. awareness. 50 www. In May 2012. Pink Embassy held the first diversity festival in Tirana timed with International Day Against Homophobia and celebrated the Albanian parliament’s passage of laws against hate crimes and hate speech. information on diversity.” organizers wrote on Pink Embassy’s Facebook page after the 2013 festival.” says General Manager Amarildo Fecanji. of women. Pink Embassy. . But the real change happens in person at roundtable meetings or outdoor gatherings like the Festival of Diversity. “Pink Embassy” launched in 2010. a day of pride. the celebration of diversity has not always extended to the gay and lesbian community. and efforts to increase the profile of LGBT equality issues in Albania have been rocky – a government official threatened organizers of a gay pride parade with violence in the spring of 2012. both of which include references to sexual orientation. to empower the community and enable its members to become spokespersons and defenders of their own rights. and monitoring. has used tools online and off to bring together the LGBT community and help the government create new action plans for tolerance.” Pink Embassy co-ordinates information campaigns.org Whether it’s an outdoor festival of diversity or an indoor organizing meeting. To move the dialogue forward toward broader recognition of LGBT rights.oscepa. With more than 2. Fecanji says. marginalized groups. “Today has been a day of Albania. to help change attitudes to ensure a thorough respect for the needs and concerns of the LGBT community. tolerance.000 followers on Facebook and a continuously updated web site sharing news relevant to the LGBT community. Thanks to training. “An open day. the group has actively contributed the Albanian Ministry of Labour’s formulation of an action plan to help fight discrimination against members of the LGBT communities. events and discussions. Pink Embassy’s work has had an impact beyond the parliament’s new laws. Pink Embassy has used online and offline organizing tools to increase political awareness among its members and education among the political class. human rights.

“This Office is an excellent tool and platform for communication with wider public. a consortium of NGOs launched “Baltosios pirstines” press conferences open not only to (White Gloves) as a way to add civilian observers to the traditional accredited journalists.oscepa. Press conferences in parliament are nothing new. After working with election officials and seeing concerns about electoral fraud in the first round of the 2012 parliamentary “Information technologies make elections. Deputy Speaker of the Seimas. The “White Gloves” ended up observing the vote at 34 out of 71 constituencies. Who says civic engagement is an indoor activity? Lithuanian citizens and parliamentarians pose for a photo after a bike ride event marking the launch of the 2013 Lithuanian EU Presidency. 200 cyclists joined leaders from the Seimas and other state institutions took part in a bicycle ride to mark the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. but in Vilnius the public relations unit of the Seimas has organized a special program to allow questions from anyone in the country wherever they are.Lithuania Pedaling for Participation Parliament: Making MPs acccessible by bike and broadband Engaging with parliament does not have to mean going to parliament. Speaker Vydas Gedvilas. but also to party observers seen on election day.” said Petras Auštrevičius. wherever 51 www. “This way. all those interested in the matter. In May 2013. and the ambassadors from Ireland and Greece planted oak trees on behalf the EU Presidency Trio.” said Tadas Langaitis. the European Information Office of the Seimas has organized civic engagement events that make parliamentarians and European affairs more accessible to the general public.” Though they started organizing with only five days until the second round of voting. A press conference with MPs about a new law on informal White Gloves education received among the most questions. EIO takes a very unique place in Lithuanian Parliaments’ communication policy. the NGOs got more than 700 people to volunteer from all over Lithuania. given the chance. one of the organizers and founder of “NGO Beehive”. Speaker of the Seimas. A news conference in the Seimas said Vydas Gedvilas. they are willing to protect the values of our young democracy. After finishing Europe Park. In Lithuania. experts and politicians.org . mostly observing the elections while standing outside polling stations. The campaign’s effort to help the state carry out transparent elections was recognized by the president and honored by the media for involving citizens in the electoral process. “We helped citizens be more engaged in the election process and they proved. policy makers have the opportunity to directly present their decisions and their motives to a wide audience and the voters. by involving decision makers.

Finland Predicting the Future Parliament: Literature contest brings new ideas to MPs What will change the world next? Which global events will reshape the current course of humanity? And how can we predict them? These are some of the questions Finland’s Parliamentary Committee for the Future decided to pose to citizens as part of its “Black Swans” project. ‘We.from the collapse of the Soviet Union to the 9/11 terrorist attacks -. To have a committee dedicated to the future is unique in itself.and then write about how the world would change following a new ‘black swan’ event. The literary contest was a new way to spur creative thinking in the parliament. organized crime.” said MP Päivi Lipponen. we have to open our parliament to allow people. especially youth. Black swans can be unlikely.’” Lipponen said. “We can be more creative and open. Finns. The committee encouraged writers to consider the unexpected moments of the recent past -. A jury of professors and MPs chose 20 writings out of 144 submissions to be included in a bound book published in the spring of 2013. “Traditionally.” said Lipponen. But it is just as important to listen to people’s values and skills gained through experience. capable of having large scale positive or negative impacts -just the type of things policymakers would like to anticipate.. surprising and unexpected events. Prize-winning authors.org The Black Swans publication of the Finnish Parliament is an e-book and printed book with citizen-generated creative ideas of unlikely events that could change the future. chair of the Committee for the Future. www. A key goal of the “Black Swans” project is to boost innovation. she said. but Finland’s MPs took their innovative approach to policy formulation a step further by soliciting citizens for their creativity. to send their novels and contributions. we in the Committee have listened to experts from research organisations. “At the end of the project the people of Finland could say with pride. Africa.oscepa. The project consisted of a writing contest aimed at giving Finnish people the opportunity to submit their ideas and to depict their own ‘black swans’ in the form of essays under 10 pages in length. . received a voucher for a study trip. we have written 52 this book. and Asia’s role in world politics. to create new knowledge combining literature and science. whose entries dealt with energy shortages. The Committee on the Future may sound abstract. but this project gave citizens something tangible not just about Finland but about the wider international community.

unethical. one of the founders of the NGO. Users will be able to check how much the city spends on the renovation of the library next door or on the construction of the roundabout at the end of the street.Hungary Money Maps Civil society: Mapping public spending and corruption In 2007 three university students from Budapest wondered why people keep reelecting corrupt politicians (Hungary ranked 46th on Transparency International’s perceived corruption index in 2012).oscepa. If the state doesn’t do that than it’s our job to bring transparency into public spending – that’s what K-Monitor is about. K-Monitor’s credibility depends on its accurate and reliable searching tools. It is all part of the NGO’s work to continually add new functions that foster transparency and accountability.000 online articles. K-Monitor is also developing a mobile app to provide citizens information on public funds spent around their neighborhood through an online map. types of crimes.so users can easily find the exact piece of information they need. When passing by a public institution the app will show if it was reported to be involved in corruption or mismanagement. according to the press. or other keywords referring to legal procedures. The students started tracking news reports about irregular. “To make people more conscious about how their taxes are spent. one could hardly expect citizens to do their own research on the integrity of politicians. or relevant sectors -.org . 53 www. or corrupt practices of public bodies and businesses. They figured with no tool designated to easily check whether MPs or local decision-makers were accused of mismanaging public funds. as a first step relevant information has to be provided in an easily digestible way.” says Sandor Lederer. That’s how the idea behind K-Monitor’s database was born. In five years the database has grown to 25. Articles are also tagged by location allowing cases to be mapped and the site to show which cities and regions are most challenged by corruption. The site also offered a platform for whistleblowers to report their own experiences. such as involved people and institutions. K-Monitor’s online mapping and user-generated reporting software allow Hungarians to see where their tax dollars are going and where corruption concerns are most significant around the country. A sophisticated tagging system enables filtering the articles by different attributes.

.

Robert Scott Heaslet. Ivana Drakić. Kasia Sawko. Valdis Liepins. Debbie Ratcliffe. Sandor Lederer. Gleb Reshetnikov. Eva Vozárová.oscepa. Darío Sánchez Andrés.sOcialSCapE is designed to feature activities throughout the entire OSCE region. Ahmet Tezcan. Borko Milosevic. If you know of another good example of civic engagement that others may learn from. Wesli Turner. Simon Look for more sOcialSCapE case studies online at www.dk. Ivana Jovanovic. Anna Chernova. Svetlana Levina. Caroline Davidsen. Jonne Catshoek. Christophe Jouret. Loic Poulain.org Contributors Editing: Nat Parry Xenia Beck. Danko Runic. Giorgos Karamanolis. Tadas Langaitis. Jim Middaugh. Dina Baidildayeva. Meder Talkanchiev. Editor Neil H. and Priit Vinkel Special Thanks Aidar Botagarov. 55 www. and the OSCE Centre in Bishkek. Kamiel Mesie. please send it to us at press@oscepa.org . Ivana Drakic. Sarah Robin. Julie Anne Lawler. Hanna Bergander. Alejandro Marx. Maria Chepurina. Matteo De Donà. Maja Rzeplińska. Michael Dewing. Natalie Mychajlyszyn. Frederik Rasmussen.oscepa. Iegor Soboliev. William Jack Farrell. Katarzyna Werner. Tatiana Shutova.

secretariat@oscepa.dk Internet: www.oscepa. Denmark Telephone: +45 33 37 80 40 Telefax: +45 33 37 80 30 E-mail: international.org .OSCE Parliamentary Assembly International Secretariat Tordenskjoldsgade 1 1055 Copenhagen K.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful