Discussion about the usage of social networks in Georgia

News 11 December 2012

11 December, 2012

Institute for Development of Freedom of Information conducted discussion in the framework of the project “Development of e-Participation in Georgia”.

In the beginning of the meeting the organizers presented the results of monitoring of Facebook pages of 19 public institutions, 10 political actors and 6 media representatives. The presentation was followed by discussion.  

Discussion was attended by the journalists, NGO representatives, bloggers and others, interested in these issues.

Following topics were discussed:
•    Social Networks and the involvment of citizens in formation of public policy.
•    Using Facebook platform for insuring citizen involvement in public policy.

Participants asked various questions about the research conducted by IDFI and shared their experience as well as together identified several problems that were creating an obstacle for communication.

Participants noted that identifying the official pages of institutions is often very difficult as there are several accounts of the same political actor. Some applications even involve the risk of indentifying the personal information of the users.

One of the most important problems, emphasized by the participants was absence of social network governing regulations. To solve this problem common standard must be established for each governmental institution.

On the other hand public institution is legally restricted by the Administrative Code which complicates and delays responding each citizen. Bureaucracy prevents citizens from getting the needed information. Moreover, the law does not impose obligation on public institutions to answer any question posed on social networks which on the other hand affects the interests of citizen who attempts to save time and money by getting information via social networks.

Discussants noted that Facebook, as an important source of information for citizens and media, could be very useful platform for discussing public issues. Nevertheless the limited access of internet in regions prevents equal availability of information. Another problem is absence of computer/internet skills among the citizens of Georgia.

Discussants expressed their opinion about providing institutions with the list of applications that are essential for effective communication.

In the framework of this project IDFI plans to conduct more discussions about usage of e-platforms and web-pages as well as meetings with the representatives of public relations services of public institutions.

Project is being implemented in the framework of East West management Institute (EWMI) program “Public Policy, Advocacy and Civil Society Development in Georgia” (G-PAC)”

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