|Photo of the opening by Ivana Howard featuring (left to right) |
The morning session was quite inspiring. It started with TOL's Jeremy Druker who presented open-source media literacy tools NewsTrust, enabling crowd-sourced evaluation of media content. This remains relevant worldwide, most of the speakers spoke about control of traditional and other media by totalitarian forces, and the activits in the Egypt Revolution panel in the evening noted that the dark side of use of online tools in their country is use of vicious rumors - by the government against activists, and by the Islamic radicals against Christians.
|Irina Šumadieva & Popravi.mk stats|
Input by politicians
The session Using New Technology – a Real Leverage for Political Parties? consisted of the panel that joined young politicians from three mayor parties in Bosnia (out of 7 invited) and experts on communication, sociology, and political campaigning. The experts insights were quite on the target, for instance prof. Majstorović noted that even though the Internet penetration increases, it does not influence the decisive population groups. In a rural country like Bosnia the other media play the main role with the voters - everybody watches the main evening news on TV (and the nascent Twitter community comments during). This was corroborated by one of the politicians who said that "personal contact"--meaning face-to-face meetings and local events/debates--win their votes. "You need to put on booths over the knee" (moraš obući čizme preko koljena) to walk the muddy roads of remote villages to win people over to your party.
|Julius Van De Laar - pol. campaign expert, Danijela Majstorović - sociologist, |
Tatjana Indzić - politician, Denis Vrhovćić - politician, Mirza Ustamujić - politician,
Damir Kapidzić - communicologist, and activist Darko Brkan at the panel
As one could expect, the politicians appropriated much of the time, even though they did not provide many innovative insights. They all said that they care about their websites and value Facebook as means for connecting to their constituencies, because huge percentage of citizens use it. Going online won't win the elections, but you cannot afford to ignore this aspect.
Politicians seemed to interpret transparency in terms of PR: one of them pointed a shining example of his party colleague who responded to all comments on his blog (which was disputed from the audience). They did not speak much about political accountability too ("responsibility" in Bosnian). One of them cited the case of his party that allegedly used Facebook to organize an action for showelling snow as example of responsibility for the welfare of the citizens. In the age-old tradition of the ruling classes, they spoke about the hardship of being a politician, because the citizens think they are all crooks. One of them even spun the topic towards self-promotion by retelling an anecdote in which a woman passerby remarked that he was very handsome, but her friend scolded her because of his profession ("they are all the same").
However, he had a valid point: honest people in politics get bunched up with the dishonest to the benefit of the dishonest. This is even more valid for people who would like to enter politics in the future to change the world for the better, the current ruling practices would make them immediate target of this kind of labeling and mistrust.
The discussion contrasted activist way of thinking, based on individuality and values, and the way of thinking used by political activists/functionaries. For the later, individual expression, including via social media, is "guided" by the decisions of the party hierarchy. And the political party can easily "jump out" a politico who "jumps too high" (neodskačete puno, jer da odskočite niste više u stranci - as noted by Fayah) in public via new media. As a result, the parties use new media for top down "informing," which as the communication expert Kapidzić remarked does not equal communication with the citizens.
|@MarkoZvkvc: "We shouldn't be angry |
Next: Day 1, Part 2 - experiences of measuring truth, political campaign technologies, and Egypt; and a concert