Digital media being used in Kapisa for more open government

10 Jul 2017

Digital media being used in Kapisa for more open government

MAHMOOD RAQI - The Kapisa provincial government, civil society and private sector have launched a joint social media campaign in a bid to make public information more accessible to the people.

“Social media will facilitate the free flow of information and create dialogue between local government and citizens,” said Aziz Rahman Tawab, Kapisa Province Deputy Governor, speaking at a UN-backed radio roundtable to kick-start a three-week public campaign on access to information under the title of ‘Government’s outreach to the people’. Tawab further underscored the importance of social media as a platform for citizens and government to interact and urged the people of Kapisa and civil society to participate in the governance of the province.

The three-week radio and social media campaign, led by the Governor’s Office, seeks to engage the public and provide a wide range of information on the programs, budgets and achievements of the provincial government. Officials will be at hand to answer questions posted on Facebook concerning the activities of the provincial authorities. Beyond that, the provincial government aims at promoting a long-lasting two-way communication and encourage other institutions, such as universities, to be more open.

Although radio remains the most popular and accessible medium of communication in Afghanistan, the use of social media, particularly Facebook, is gaining massive popularity. Through the campaign, the Kapisa Government hopes to leverage social media to engage and make citizens aware of their rights and responsibilities, in particular, in making the work of elected and appointed officials transparent and accountable.

The first of the two radio-roundtables planned for the campaign included panelists from the Department of Economy, members of civil society and youth activists. An estimated audience of 250,000 in Kapisa’s capital city of Mahmood Raqi and the surrounding areas is tuned to Radio Nejirab, one of the partners in the campaign.

Kapisa is the smallest of the 34 provinces of Afghanistan by land size but it is the second in density of population, after Kabul.

UNAMA is mandated to support the Afghan Government and the people of Afghanistan as a political mission that provides 'good offices' among other key services. 'Good offices' are diplomatic steps UN takes publicly and in private, drawing on its independence, impartiality and integrity, to prevent international disputes from arising, escalating or spreading.

UNAMA also promotes coherent development support by the international community; assists the process of peace and reconciliation; monitors and promotes human rights and the protection of civilians in armed conflict; promotes good governance; and encourages regional cooperation.