An article by Giulio Quaggiotto, published on UNDP’s Voices from Eurasia, discusses the use of social media to fight corruption and promote transparency. Mr. Quaggiotto refers to projects presented at a regional conference organized by UNDP in Belgrade earlier this month and raises some important questions about how these platforms can be used most effectively and what lessons can be learned from previous initiatives.
According to contributions from participants at the event in Belgrade, main issues associated with the success of such initiatives are linked to how their impact is defined and measured and whether their sustainability can be guaranteed. Additionally, an important element of success is the ability of social media initiatives to foster and monitor the participation of citizens and generate response from governments.
The discussion with participants led to conclusions focusing on the importance of differentiating projects made to reach citizens at large and the ones that target rather specialized audiences of individuals with more specific knowledge about public information and the functioning of public administrations. Some examples are websites dedicated to publishing data on public procurement or budgeting processes, which might only attract a small numbers of users, who can nonetheless perceive and expose irregularities and thereby successfully create pressure for action by government. On the other hand, some initiatives also manage to use creative formats of displaying complex information, in order to make it more attractive and easily understandable to the general public.
One important weakness pointed out in most projects was that, although they commonly make use of popular online platforms, efforts to promote them and make them known by the anti-corruption community at the regional and international levels are still needed to allow for the identification of best practices and ideas worth replicating in different contexts.
Read the article “Social media for anticorruption: from ‘why’ to ‘how to'” on europeandcis.undp.org.