Parliamentary media forum examines role of social media in promoting democracy, transparency and accountability

WAM Abu Dhabi, 16th Dec. 2013 (WAM) — MPs have stressed the vital importance of social media networks to measures change in public attitudes and expectations.

Speakers at the Parliamentary Media Forum, organised by the Federal National Council (FNC) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Abu Dhabi, said social media sites have opened up new opportunities to parliaments and legislative bodies to interact, communicate and consult with members of the public on legislations, to deliver educational resources and promote transparency.

They noted that parliaments recognised their need to address transformations in communities and to search for creative channels of social communication to revive public participation in democracy and decision-making.

They said that social media platforms are effective and bring quick results and influence, pointing that digital media has made access to MPs more easier and democracy more closer to hearts and minds of the public.

Citing the World e-Parliament Report 2012, which documents the efforts of legislatures to use information and communication technologies (ICT) to support their constitutional functions,the speakers said that one third of parliaments use at least one medium of social media networks.

A paper stressed the far-reaching impact of media as a liaison point between the government and people.

Media, the paper noted, measures the public views towards the government and helps promote transparency, accountability and legitimacy.

The panelists also called for striking a balance between debates taking place under the parliament dome and what is published in different media organs and raised a critical questions: will the social media replace the traditional media? A participant called for launching a media initiative for promoting the culture of peace from the UAE, given its status as home to cultural diversity in the world.

WAM/TF

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