ParliamentWatch Network Members met in Berlin on 23 November 2017 and reaffirm their goal to promote democracy in their respective societies

With different mottos but the same spirit to promote democracy within their respective societies, seven members of the ParliamentWatch Network met in Berlin on the 23rd of November for a two day meeting which included their participation to the BMW Foundation Berlin Global Forum.

During the meeting, representatives from Abgeordnetenwatch from Germany, Al Bawsala from Tunisia, Questionnezvoselus from France, Vouliwatch from Greece, Vouliwatch Cyprus, otgovariat from Bulgaria and Parliament Watch Italia, reaffirmed their wish to continue their joint efforts towards the promotion of transparency in politics and the accountability of elected politicians and discussed ways of strengthening the voice of the network both at national as well as global level.

The catalytic role of technology in the promotion of democracy

Irrespective of the differences in the societies within which they operate, the members of the Network utilize technology in order to achieve their goals. Since the beginning of the new millennium, the advancement in technology has been exponential. Technology has changed the way we live, the way we communicate, where we get our information from and so many more aspects of our lives. Technology has also disrupted the economy: from banking and digital currencies, to the transformation of the music industry led by iTunes and Amazon, the manufacturing industry and the birth of the smart factory in which cyber-physical systems can monitor the physical processes of the production and make decentralized decisions in real time. The list is endless.

Technology has also led to the empowerment of individuals. An empowerment that comes from access to information, especially information as it happens, data sharing, networking and the ease of communication.

In this storm of change however, it is surprising that democracy, the one political system that places the empowerment of individuals in its core, has not kept up. In fact, it has become stagnant. In a recent conference held by vouliwatch Cyprus, the question which dominated the discussions was, why is technology not delivering more democracy?

This can be attributed to two main reasons: the first one is the fact that, globally, we are lacking the politicians that will embrace technology. The second reason is that, voters, who are increasingly technology savvy, are flooded with information which they are called to process and filter. Process news and filter fake news, process information and filter which is relevant to them. Social media has created a whole generation of young people who are bombarded with information which generally leaves them uninterested, because of its volume.

In order to address these two challenges politicians and the electorate need to become convinced about the catalytic role of technology in the achievement of greater accountability ad greater transparency. Technology must become a tool for empowerment and democracy must be reinvented based on that. The members of the ParliamentWatch Network are committed to working towards this direction.