May 14 - 15, 2012 | Abuja | Nigeria
About the Conference
New media played an unprecedented role in the April 2011 Nigerian General Elections. Following a roundtable in early March 2011, INEC officials welcomed the assistance of civil society volunteers with its Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as a new media situation room which received feedback from the public and later began to provide real time information and answer constituent questions.
Nigerian politicians actively utilized social media in their campaigns and sent bulk text and voice messages in unprecedented numbers. President Jonathan declared his intention to run on Facebook and subsequently became the second most “liked” head of state in the world after US President Barack Obama (fanpagelist.com).
Organizations like Enough is Enough Nigeria, ReclaimNaija, WangoNet and IamLagos established platforms enabling citizens to report election-related incidences with pictures, videos, text messages and voicemail. At the same time, traditional media houses such as Channels Television, 234Next and Punch newspaper used new media to disseminate information and gather feedback from viewers.
An International Conference Linking Local Actors with Global Tools
It is in this context that the partners are determined to further gains from the 2011 elections through an international conference that will bring together government policy makers, civil society, academic institutions, private sector and youth to explore the use of new media for improved governance, accountability and civic engagement.A total audience of 300 persons is anticipated: 200civil society representatives, with an emphasis on youth and university students; 50 government policy makers and 50 private sector representatives.
Innovative social evidence platforms will be unveiled as a tool for good governance initiatives beyond their successful application during the 2011 elections. Participants will be encouraged to consider the potential for utilization of these tools to provide access to analytical data and timely information for the work of civil society, policy makers and others.
The key question is how do we influence governance at all levels in Nigeria using new media? Conversely, how does government pursue the goal of good governance through new media? Specific objectives of the conference are:
- To increase awareness amongst citizens, civil society actors and policy makers for the potential of new media as a tool for public good;
- To share experience and knowledge of tools used around the world and explore possibility for adaptation, particularly pertaining to key governance issues such as budget tracking and security;
- To create a space for hands on learning on the use of different forms of new media for civic engagement.
The conference builds on the exciting work of numerous groups and individuals, primarily youth, who used new media during the recent election process to register voters, encourage turnout and protect the vote. Our challenge is to facilitate transitioning these organizations and their new media platforms to focus on issues of governance and transparency.
Consequently we believe the following outcomes will be achieved by the conference:
- Civil society will have gained insights on useful tools for accountability and assessing government performance used by other groups in order to apply them to the Nigerian environment.
- Government officials will have been made aware of new media tools that will allow them to communicate government activity and invite feedback from citizens;
- An expanded network of youth organizations, including university students, will have been engaged to acquire knowledge and information of existing global tools as well as encouraged to develop applications for these tools in the Nigerian context.
- Publicity and increased momentum will have been gained around the use of new media technologies in civic engagement and governance.