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

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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.

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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.

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Spencer Oliver Secretary General February 2013

Neil Simon Director of Communications

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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

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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).

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

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

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

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

. OptIn members have shaped the Metro Council’s decisions and affected the lives of 1. “That’s by far more than we would have gotten had we done a scientific survey. and other issues aimed at strengthening the livable communities of Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington. an online opinion panel that periodically gauges the region’s residents on issues ranging from parks to garbage management.) OptIn Panel Metro. an associate at DHM Research. transit. Those who have opted in to the panel receive an email when a new survey is available. including more than 300 from members of Portland’s minority community. constituents. “We have enough comments from these groups to look at them in a way that is meaningful. the regional government in Portland. Ore.. It’s also cost effective. In 2011. The program makes it easier for members of the public to feel connected to their government.. Metro launched OptIn.5 million people in the Portland metro area. One recent survey drew 4. Unique from ordinary surveys. “We heard from a bunch of people: Do it online. Not every panel member participates in every survey.” From deciding whether the Oregon Zoo should feature hippos or rhinos to the location of the urban growth boundary.) The panel has grown to the point that analysts can now extract scientifically valid data from most of the surveys. . Ore. Regional government: Metro’s (Portland.000 responses.000 Oregonians have joined the panel. In less than two years.oscepa. 10 www. 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. is pioneering a new method of outreach that’s making it easier than ever to talk to.org Metro’s OptIn online panel gives citizens a regular opportunity to have their say in regional park planning. Stakeholder meetings on an important topic can cost $35 per person. They can then complete the questionnaire online.50.United States of America Survey Says. which manages OptIn. but response rates have approached 50 per cent in many of the questionnaires. (Survey results and demographic data are published online. and hear from.” said Rebecca Ball. Each completed OptIn survey costs less than $4.” The survey process is simple. more than 16. “We asked how can we engage you?” said Metro communications director Jim Middaugh.

using his local political experience to share his point of view about current events in the Madrid region. 11 . Users submitted more than 400 questions to the site in its first three months. But critics complained the government should have been more open about the feedback it received during drafting. for the first time in Spain’s legislative history. including those who would be excluded from transparency requirements proposed in the draft law. your right to know) – allows people to submit questions to anybody in the Spanish Government. www.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. So.000 people participated in the legislative process by visiting the site. the government created an interactive website where people can fill out an online form with their opinion about the original draft law. resulting in criticism from open government advocates.547 followers on twitter. But. called it “an innovative procedure” that converted the drafting process into a “transparent act itself. The site automatically redirects queries to the body of the Spanish government selected by the user. The website – tuderechoasaber. and nearly 7. As a direct result. 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. the government did not publish all the public feedback it had received. He has also used tweets to call for greater integration and solidarity in Europe. it only seemed natural that the drafting process would be as open as possible. The drafting process on the transparency law highlights the tightrope governments and parliaments must walk when trying to have dialogue in the open.000 submitted opinions about the Act on Transparency. 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. He tweets 15 times per week. Access to Public Information and Code of Good Governance. citing a practice consistent with other Spanish Government ministries. But rather than wait for the law to take effect. Enrique Cascallana of the Spanish parliament has 1. Sáenz de Santamaría announced 15 amendments to the draft in May.who led the government’s transparency effort.org Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría explains how some citizen input resulted in changes to a draft transparency law. He shows his disagreement with regional austerity policies and questions the effectiveness of the Spanish government at times.” More than 78. Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría. The draft law includes plans for a new website where citizens can ask the government questions and get replies online.oscepa.es (literally. the NGOs Access Info Europe and Fundacion Ciudadana Civio set up such a site in March.

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

the first question came from White Horse. Then. “This is very participatory. 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.Canada Question Period Government: Prime Minister Harper’s YouTube interview In March 2010. 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.org Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s YouTube Interview received more than 283. To better connect with citizens. Stephen Harper sat down with the people of Canada for the first ever YouTube interview of a prime minister. elected officials could also do regular video responses to video questions submitted online.” said Patrick Pichette. While the YouTube interview does not replace the healthy reporterpolitician exchange. the event still made Harper answer several difficult questions.000 views. In Harper’s case. Yukon. Canada’s official languages.794 questions from 5. anyone could pick questions. Highlighting the power of YouTube to connect citizens – regardless their location – with their national leaders. who moderated the questions to Prime Minister Harper in March 2010. viewers vote for their favorite questions. Google’s CFO.800 votes on 1. The YouTube interview model has also been successfully used in political debates where videos of citizens asking questions are replayed before candidates. and while Harper’s interview was technically conducted and moderated by Google/YouTube staff. 13 www.400 kilometres from Ottawa. viewers ended up casting 169. This is democracy at work. . More than 283. The month prior YouTube’s interview with President Barack Obama generated more than one million views. which was recorded in English and French. YouTube interviews give citizens the chance to submit online video questions to their top elected officials.000 people viewed the Harper interview.oscepa. in essence creating a rolling dialogue with the people. none of which he was informed of beforehand. starting his fifth year as prime minister and coming off the hosting of the Winter Olympic Games. but having a third party select them adds credibility to the dialogue. Such interviews are simple to produce. a city 5.129 people.

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

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

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

One pointed question regarding the invasion of Libya directly asked. I relish how social media has narrowed the gap between governments and individual citizens.oscepa. . the secretary responded to 24 questions from the public – not just softballs either. “Wasn’t the real purpose of the invasion of Libya to gain control of the oil. With two-thirds of British government staffers using Twitter for faster access to news.org United Kingdom Foreign Secretary William Hague answers questions on Afghanistan and Pakistan during his seventh live Twitter Q&A. Hague held a live question period on Twitter that generated more than 50 questions on the situation in Syria. “It allows the exchange of ideas between people who otherwise never would meet. In one recent live tweeting session. Hague turned to Twitter. he immediately sought to place foreign policy in the context of a “networked world.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. blogs and YouTube to create a dialogue between the public and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. His #askFS campaign has led to more than 90.” 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. Hague has joined in to quickly and accurately spread information and messages that get to the heart of global issues. On the day of an international Friends of Syria meeting. “As an elected Member of Parliament. by installing an unelected puppet government?” Hague’s reponse: “No. 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. purpose was to prevent Qadhafi massacring innocent people & to support a better future for #Libya #askFS”. 17 www.” To close the democracy gap. 29 June 2011. 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. involving them directly in international dialogue.

the imprisonment of opposition members.oscepa. the independent collective blog Nawaat served as the main source of information for Tunisians and foreigners alike. like Al Jazeera. “These solutions are only temporary. which downplayed public discontent.” he said. Nawaat then used its network of Internet activists to help mobilize protesters through social media. “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. and economic stagnation. Time magazine called Nawaat instrumental in the Tunisian Revolution. timestamping it and making it accessible to other media organizations. gathering content (400 videos) from Facebook. human rights. During and after the revolution. co-founder Riadh Guerfali said. this practice led Nawaat to reach 87. bloggers also offered advice on how to circumvent censors.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. “This fostered the spirit of change and the shockwave that we witnessed in the region after the Tunisian revolution. In contrast with the governmentcontrolled media. 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. .” said one blog entry.000 visitors a day and become a leading source for content on press freedom. and politics in Tunisia.org Tunisian bloggers and Nawaat co-founders work on the site to help strengthen democratic institutions and press freedom in Tunisia.” Nawaat continues to publish on human rights and social issues and train activists about Internet technology. 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.” 18 www. tagging it. “But we will continue to find new methods to bypass censorship until our constitutional rights are respected. Since 2004. So Nawaat made an end-run around the official censorship. and the site received the Reporters Without Borders 2011 Netizen Prize for its pioneering work for Internet freedom. With many sites like YouTube and Flickr censored. Tunisians had increasingly gathered on Facebook. Nawaat posted numerous articles covering the uprising. including restrictions on personal freedoms. providing analysis on the root causes of the revolution.

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

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

Transparent and Efficient Communities) to establish principles of good governance and publicize local government performance. Several cities responded by publishing meeting agendas. budgets. project coordinator for CDT. more interactive.cdtmn. www. communication between elected officials and the people. as in business. 21 . mayor of Kotor municipality. After announcing the preliminary transparency results. Transparentne i Efikasne Zajednice. By making more local information available quickly and easily.” she said. At the project’s launch. CDT called on municipalities to improve their scores and offered any assistance throughout the process. and public procurement documents online.” said Ivana Drakić. 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. which is supported by the Open Society Institute . or the Project on Accountable. The site (www. “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.oscepa. In Montenegro. These efforts increased the transparency levels for Montenegro’s cities from an average transparency rating of 5 to 6.Montenegro Partners for Improvement Local government/civil society: Improving transparency In government.potez. mayor of Kotor municipality. 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.3 on a 10-point scale.Budapest and the NGO GONG in Croatia. Others created fixed times for constituents to meet with their elected leaders and began sending press releases to the media after city council meetings. In the three months following the report’s release. 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. Maria Ćatović. CDT launched POTEZ (Projekat Odgovorne.org Maria Catovic. the cities ushered in new.org) proved to be a simple starting point for local governments seeking ways to function more openly. what gets measured gets done. credited POTEZ and its co-operative approach and useful suggestions with increasing her city’s transparency rating 26 per cent. most of the country’s municipalities contacted CDT to discuss ways to improve. Their success opened “new possibilities for informing citizens and interest groups about the activities of municipality.

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

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

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

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

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

fertilizers. The petition.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. This March.500 signatures would receive a televised public debate including a member of the Luxembourgian government. Claudine Penen wanted to alert MPs to the negative effects of pesticides and chemical products used in agriculture. a grandmother from the small town of Consdorf became the first person to email a petition in Luxembourg. The Petitions’ Committee. “Making it easier to submit petitions is only the first step to encourage greater transparency and accountability in government. the parliament has considered more than 300 public petitions. the president of the Petitions’ Committee. one simple step made it easier for citizens to submit petitions: creating an email address. “but I urge you to take measures against the use of pesticides.oscepa.” said Camille Gira. “Creating an e-mail address was a starting point. “Citizens of Luxembourg are now one click away from raising issues in parliament. petitions can be sent via email to petition@chd.” she explained. until 2012. and other harmful chemical products. she was invited to express her views before the parliamentary Petitions’ Committee. Under a new public petition system. the Chamber of Deputies intends to further increase civic participation by expanding the use of the Internet. which has just about 130 signatures (a tenth of the population of Consdorf ). the Chamber of Deputies will do more towards engaging its constituents and fostering civic dialogue. Petitions that receive more than 4.” explained Gira. Since 1999. 27 .” Penen also asked parliamentarians to encourage organic farming as a way of protecting the environment. lu. However. the parliament’s website will allow the electronic collection of signatures. 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. “By establishing a new public petition system. also agreed to find ways to better support organic farming. “I am just a simple grandmother.” In the future. which generally works by consensus.” www. But since January. On 27 June. when the right to petition public authorities was enshrined in the Grand-Duchy’s constitution.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. documents could only be submitted in person or by regular mail.

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

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

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

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

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

be they individuals or organizations. the technical coordinator who helped launch OpenGov and the Greek government’s multiblog environment.” 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. 33 www. After public comments. So far about 850 proposals have been submitted. the resolution was redrafted to affect all auto manufacturers supplying the governmental fleet. 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.600 comments on policies ranging from tax reform to immigration. OpenGov. Participation is open to anyone. By December 2011. it wanted to make sure that the concept of open government would not only encourage greater transparency and accountability. “Hot issues drive large and meaningful participation.Greece Amended by the People Parliament/government: Increasing citizens’ legislative voice When the Greek government launched the OpenGov project in 2009.6 million visitors and 239 discussions generating more than 76.OpenGov as a platform to encourage citizendriven innovation for public services. Almost every draft resolution or governmental policy initiative was made available prior to its submission to parliament.org . “The idea is to provide an open platform for people to submit ideas to improve the government. 30 of which have been selected to be formally presented to government ministers.” said Giorgos Karamanolis. the government has opened accounts in Facebook and Twitter.” In addition. but also inspire greater civic engagement. and Greek citizens proved very interested in playing such a direct role in their political process.oscepa. “There are many cases where the online deliberation process helped improve the final document. When a citizen caught the error. All the comments submitted are then gathered and assessed by competent authorities before being incorporated in final regulations.300 followers. attracting more than 6. attracting more than 6.300 followers. the scientific community chooses the best proposals to present in workshop and discuss ways to implement. the government has opened accounts on Facebook and Twitter.gr went live that October featuring an interactive blog where citizens themselves could weigh in on pending legislation. Observations. suggestions and criticisms are made articleby-article to promote a detailed review and remain visible for all users.gr had 4. The site invited corporate and noncorporate users to submit proposals for new ways to use government data. Greece also launched Labs. OpenGov. In addition.

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

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

becoming the first successful web-toTV show in a region where broadcast media is characteristically government-controlled. took it upon himself to expose the media corruption through satire. “The voice now belongs to the people. Beginning his comedy career with one table and one camera in a spare room in his apartment. and The Show. 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. Modeled on the successful American comedy shows of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (of which Youssef is a big fan).oscepa. . Yousef says mainstream television anchors have fallen behind social media sites as major sources of news and information in the region. Facebook and Twitter to express their political concerns and demand true information and transparency from their leaders. 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. www. Bassem Yousseff. And the power belongs to the 36 people. The media now belongs to the people. have fed the people of Egypt’s appetite for poltical satire in what was a previously closed media environment.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. Al Bernameg (The Show) has been picked up by the independent television network ONTV. helping to expand the number of people using YouTube. a 37-year-old surgeon. Al Bernameg airs twice a week in 20 minute segments. His show came out “not just to make people laugh but to expose the amount of lies injected into media and politics. With Egyptians being denied a full picture of what was actually occurring in their country. The show’s early popularity has also inspired other Egyptians to try their hand at online satire.” he said. Youssef aired five-minute ‘webisodes’ criticizing mainstream media for its ineptitude in delivering honest news. the 2011 revolution in many ways toppled old media paradigms too.” he said. Bassem Youssef.org From a camera in his apartment to international prime time. The heightened interest in politics and civic life has led to broadcasts of parliament gaining more views than soap operas. which in just over three months received more than five million views on YouTube. He called the government hypocrisy and misinformation amid the revolution “a gold mine” for his comedy show. Given the government involvement in Egypt’s media landscape.

the City of Edmonton in Alberta. during the project’s planning phase. Canada presented its new Transportation Master Plan. why.oscepa. In 2009. “When the overall goal is public service.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. Edmonton has continued to develop its public engagement approach and now has an Office of Public Involvement and official framework to guide projects. workshops. 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. and how their input had been used. Gaining public input on a project of this size could be daunting.965 people participated in 74 events to have their say in the future of their travel. Through online surveys. “The city’s depth of experience in public involvement has been invaluable to this project. such as the rail line. After each major decision.org Above citizens discuss plans for Edmonton’s new light rail transit line and examine photos for the new rail line. as well as stakeholder interviews. the City of Edmonton has adopted an approach that calls for including citizen input at all stages of public projects. 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. it only makes sense for the public to be informed and engaged every step of the way. to build public involvement into their plans. The Way We Move. the city government returned to the public to show what had been selected. 2. . and open houses. The plan calls for sustainable.” said Nat Alampi. healthful and practical projects to address Edmonton’s future transportation needs. In 1907. Edmonton’s program manager for the transit project. 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 public was consulted at each step of the transit line’s planning process – from selection of the route to the location of stops. but in Edmonton there was already a foundation to build on. Between March and December of 2010.” Edmonton’s experience with communicating public involvement and the familiarity residents have with the process brought a large and varied group to the table. Since 1907. 37 www.

” Sanders said. The campaign has been shared 236. “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.S. In December 2010. U. and it would prohibit corporations from making any campaign or election expenditures. 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.S.000 times on YouTube.United States of America New Methods. 38 www.senate.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.org . 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. FEC.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. and as a result Sanders delivered the petition to President Barack Obama. His Senate speech has been viewed more than 119. Old Process Congress: Campaigning for a constitutional amendment Amending the U. constitution is a rare event. Federal Election Commission that corporations were free to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections. Successfully amending the national constitution may still be a ways off. political campaigns.” Sanders said.000 times through simple buttons on Sanders’ site for social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. but Sanders has already succeeded to engage citizens in the fight against corporate money in U. when the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United vs. This has led to more than 220. and a simply-designed website for the amendment at www.oscepa.sanders. But in 2010. some lawmakers got so incensed they moved to amend the constitution and effectively overturn the court’s decision. It’s happened only 13 times in the last 100 years. “The ruling has radically changed the nature of our democracy.” Sanders’ amendment would establish that corporations are not people and therefore not eligible for constitutional rights equal to individuals. Senator Bernie Sanders has attracted more than 200.S.gov/savingdemocracy makes it easy for people to support the process.

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

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

poltical blogs do not have a big following yet. generating more than 700 comments and tweets reaching an audience of 403.oscepa. opened the event in Brussels by calling interaction between Cypriots and European bloggers a necessity. in the meeting. that participation will become a common theme in the immediate future. “This year is the European Year of Citizens. including: efficiency and sustainability.” Stavrou told the OSCE PA. and Europe’s relations with its neighbors. the largest aggregator of blogs related to European affairs presented the ‘meet the bloggers’ event. relevance to citizens. social cohesion. making the hashtag #cy2012eublogs among the most popular in Brussels for the day. economic performance and growth. especially towards the political elite. 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. “The Council’s Presidency.org A screen-grab of EU Presidency Spokesperson Marianna Karageorgis’ Twitter feed shows bloggers interacting with the Cyprus Presidency. tweets and Google hangouts. “However. The Permanent Representative of Cyprus. participated via a live link from Nicosia. said in his closing speech. “Blogs are a way of encouraging active citizenship and constitute an accessible forum for the exchange of views.com.” she told the OSCE PA. 41 . author of the EU political analysis blog protesilaos. The portal included blogger Protesilaos Stavrou. but the Cyprus Presidency showed the voice of the bloggers is already being heard. other EU institutions and probably some bloggers need to reconsider their approach to the social web to understand it as a two-way street. 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. George Zodiates.” Myria Antoniadou. Kornelios Korneliou. it takes time for them to grow and play a role in a society.eu. “The Cyprus Presidency remains committed to transparency and openness and is willing to pursue the co-operation that started today”. The discussions streamed live online paralleled with live blogging. Bloggingportal. His blog was named among three “must-reads” in 2012.089 followers in 24 hours. face to face interactions can be rare. and since we have already had a good precedent. one can be both optimistic and demanding.Cyprus Face time Government: EU Presidency meets the bloggers In an era of instant information posted all over the blogosphere. Deputy Permanent Representative of Cyprus.” www. a country with about one million people. She stressed that in Cyprus. rather than the traditional top-bottom hierarchy of the old media.

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. Datanest. now with more than 1. find potentially suspicious or overpriced deals. like the award-winning site ZNasichDani. As a result.sk (Open Contracts in English) to make it easier for citizens to browse the documents.” said Vozarova. . was first conceived in 2003 to help Fair-Play improve its own investigative activities. grants. read them. It all helped remind public institutions that their work was being watched – helping to prevent 42 potential corruption.5 million entries. “The theory is simple: give people the means and they will gladly become a watchdog in an area that really bothers them. For nine years. The database.oscepa. 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.” said Eva Vozarova. and publicize them to hold the government accountable. when for the first time the government was required to publicly release its contracts. tax and custom remissions. 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. a governmental portal was flooded with thousands of documents – not all of them useful. That was the situation Slovakia faced in 2011. a set of criteria for highlighting contracts.sk has information about state subsides. The site was pretty straightforward: a search engine. Fair-Play has been building a database mapping the flow of public money to private hands. www. head of technology at Fair-Play. as well as who manages state funds. It has become a go-to place for information about public finances. Two NGOs – the anticorruption watchdog Fair-Play Alliance and the Slovak branch of Transparency International – decided to cope with the problem through crowd sourcing. Fair-Play made it easy for journalists or other NGOs to use their databases. but no single entity could sift through such a load of data. “We decided that it would be a waste only to use it once.sk did to show which companies win the most business from the state. Their site. By sharing the data with open-source coding. and the beginning of a future crowdsourcing function so users could discuss and rate contracts. They launched OtvoreneZmluvy.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.

250 politicians. and media. Citizens can now follow the most discussed subjects on Twitter about politics in Belgium.be.oscepa. pictures.org . especially to voters in Belgium. But through its past success. wherever it comes from. the flow of general information can be overwhelming. Above the bilingual homepage. and other details about the elected position. which will also be played out on the web and social networks.” Jouret promised.Belgium Be Politics Parliament/Civil Society: A new way to see candidates During election campaigns.000 visits during the six weeks before the elections with half the traffic coming from Facebook shares.be added a second part: the electoral debate.” co-creator Christophe Jouret told the OSCE PA. “The goal through this simple and innovative concept was to arouse the interest of politicians. “This has a positive impact on citizen mobilization. especially lesser known contenders. 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. slogans. To overcome the confusion and build citizen engagement. where no fewer than 15 major parties play a role in the political system.” Jouret said. the first interactive electoral site for the 589 Belgian municipalities. Bepolitics received more than 350. Bepolitics combines all the information you could find on other social media in one place. The site creators wanted citizens to know about all the candidates.” Jouret said. citizens.candidate and party profiles and issue statements all in one place. Bepolitics. 43 www. and below a sample of the candidate profiles to click to learn more about each one. After the success during the election campaign. More than 3. added their campaign priorities and contact information to the site. including four deputy prime ministers. “We will be there for the parliamentary elections in June 2014. before heading to the polls. which is available in French and Flemish. making it easy to compare candidate profiles. enabling candidates to share their political profiles on one website and communicate with the visitors. “Some parties immediately saw the electoral potential and diligently relayed the existence of the site to their members. four citizens launched Bepolitics. the team behind the site already has plans to become the Who’s Who of politics in Belgium.000 page views and 60. For citizens tired of fishing for candidat comparisons bepolitics offers something new .

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

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

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

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

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

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

both of which include references to sexual orientation. Pink Embassy. 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. . 50 www. marginalized groups. the celebration of diversity has not always extended to the gay and lesbian community.000 followers on Facebook and a continuously updated web site sharing news relevant to the LGBT community.Albania Pink Embassy Civil Society: Organizing for LGBT equality online and off In a country that is proud to celebrate its diverse religious populations.” organizers wrote on Pink Embassy’s Facebook page after the 2013 festival. The action plan was part of a precondition for Albania’s July 2013 accession to the European Union. efforts paid off two-fold. and monitoring. Thanks to training. 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. events and discussions. “Today has been a day of Albania. Fecanji says.oscepa. human rights.” says General Manager Amarildo Fecanji. expertise. to help change attitudes to ensure a thorough respect for the needs and concerns of the LGBT community. information on diversity. Pink Embassy’s work has had an impact beyond the parliament’s new laws. for the right of every individual who wants to live free and respected in this country. Pink Embassy has used online and offline organizing tools to increase political awareness among its members and education among the political class. to empower the community and enable its members to become spokespersons and defenders of their own rights. awareness. 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.org Whether it’s an outdoor festival of diversity or an indoor organizing meeting. has used tools online and off to bring together the LGBT community and help the government create new action plans for tolerance. In May 2012. With more than 2. “An open day. 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. of women.” Pink Embassy co-ordinates information campaigns. a day of pride. To move the dialogue forward toward broader recognition of LGBT rights. tolerance. “Pink Embassy” launched in 2010. But the real change happens in person at roundtable meetings or outdoor gatherings like the Festival of Diversity.

given the chance. the NGOs got more than 700 people to volunteer from all over Lithuania.” Though they started organizing with only five days until the second round of voting. 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. After working with election officials and seeing concerns about electoral fraud in the first round of the 2012 parliamentary “Information technologies make elections. one of the organizers and founder of “NGO Beehive”. by involving decision makers. wherever 51 www. mostly observing the elections while standing outside polling stations.Lithuania Pedaling for Participation Parliament: Making MPs acccessible by bike and broadband Engaging with parliament does not have to mean going to parliament. they are willing to protect the values of our young democracy. In May 2013. 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.” said Petras Auštrevičius. In Lithuania. “We helped citizens be more engaged in the election process and they proved. Press conferences in parliament are nothing new. 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. 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. After finishing Europe Park. Speaker of the Seimas. all those interested in the matter. policy makers have the opportunity to directly present their decisions and their motives to a wide audience and the voters. Speaker Vydas Gedvilas. 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. “This Office is an excellent tool and platform for communication with wider public. A news conference in the Seimas said Vydas Gedvilas.oscepa. EIO takes a very unique place in Lithuanian Parliaments’ communication policy. experts and politicians. the European Information Office of the Seimas has organized civic engagement events that make parliamentarians and European affairs more accessible to the general public. but also to party observers seen on election day. “This way. The “White Gloves” ended up observing the vote at 34 out of 71 constituencies.” said Tadas Langaitis. Deputy Speaker of the Seimas. A press conference with MPs about a new law on informal White Gloves education received among the most questions. and the ambassadors from Ireland and Greece planted oak trees on behalf the EU Presidency Trio.org .

’” Lipponen said.” said MP Päivi Lipponen. especially youth.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. To have a committee dedicated to the future is unique in itself. Prize-winning authors. organized crime. ‘We. but this project gave citizens something tangible not just about Finland but about the wider international community. The literary contest was a new way to spur creative thinking in the parliament. A key goal of the “Black Swans” project is to boost innovation. Black swans can be unlikely. But it is just as important to listen to people’s values and skills gained through experience.and then write about how the world would change following a new ‘black swan’ event. chair of the Committee for the Future. “At the end of the project the people of Finland could say with pride. Finns. we have to open our parliament to allow people. 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. we have written 52 this book. . surprising and unexpected events. “Traditionally. Africa. to create new knowledge combining literature and science. whose entries dealt with energy shortages..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. she said. capable of having large scale positive or negative impacts -just the type of things policymakers would like to anticipate.” said Lipponen. but Finland’s MPs took their innovative approach to policy formulation a step further by soliciting citizens for their creativity. “We can be more creative and open. 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.from the collapse of the Soviet Union to the 9/11 terrorist attacks -. to send their novels and contributions. The committee encouraged writers to consider the unexpected moments of the recent past -. and Asia’s role in world politics. The Committee on the Future may sound abstract. we in the Committee have listened to experts from research organisations. www.oscepa. received a voucher for a study trip.

53 www. as a first step relevant information has to be provided in an easily digestible way. or relevant sectors -. When passing by a public institution the app will show if it was reported to be involved in corruption or mismanagement.org . or corrupt practices of public bodies and businesses. such as involved people and institutions. 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.000 online articles. or other keywords referring to legal procedures. It is all part of the NGO’s work to continually add new functions that foster transparency and accountability. K-Monitor is also developing a mobile app to provide citizens information on public funds spent around their neighborhood through an online map. according to the press. A sophisticated tagging system enables filtering the articles by different attributes. unethical. types of crimes. “To make people more conscious about how their taxes are spent.oscepa. That’s how the idea behind K-Monitor’s database was born. 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. K-Monitor’s credibility depends on its accurate and reliable searching tools. one of the founders of the NGO.” says Sandor Lederer. 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. one could hardly expect citizens to do their own research on the integrity of politicians. In five years the database has grown to 25. The students started tracking news reports about irregular.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).so users can easily find the exact piece of information they need. They figured with no tool designated to easily check whether MPs or local decision-makers were accused of mismanaging public funds. 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.

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

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

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