The National Assembly has decided to launch official social media accounts for wider parliamentary outreach to the public, following in the footsteps of the upper house of parliament, which introduced a number of initiatives last year.
The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, said a statement issued by the National Assembly Secretariat. The speaker has underlined the need to develop new strategies and policies to support effective engagement of parliament with citizens.
Emphasising the need for parliamentary outreach, he said regular engagement with citizens was a prerequisite for a stronger, vibrant and participative democracy.
“In the modern world, traditional democracies are turning towards e-parliament and one of the main tools used to connect with the people is social media,” Ayaz stated, terming it “an excellent platform for quick and direct engagement with citizens”.
A PR project?
The initiative, however, seems to be an attempt to match Senate’s idea of launching an e-petition portal on its website last year and not more than a PR tool by the NA media wing.
“We will share details, pictures, press releases about the activities of speaker, deputy speaker and standing committees,” an official of the media wing told The Express Tribune on Sunday.
He said the project was in its initial stages. Information related to activities in the NA would be shared with the people through social media irrespective of party affiliations.
According to the statement, Speaker Sadiq has also directed the NA Secretariat to form a team of experts in managing social media accounts.
The pages will disseminate timely information to national and international audiences. Parliament will also be able to receive feedback from the public.
However, the NA media wing official said the feasibility of hiring the managing team has yet to be prepared. The department has, however, assigned two officers to take care of the social media pages for the time being.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2016.