New Zambian – Champion better governance
Kiss Abraham wants to achieve freedom of expression in Zambia. Whilst the press is compromised and influenced by the local government, Kiss and his comrades decided to start up a project to give a voice to Zambian citizen. By using Facebook and Twitter to enhance debate on social issues and governance.
NewZambian is a platform for free and open discussion of issues that are actively suppressed in Zambia’s mainstream media. Journalists perceived to be critical of government in Zambia have long been subject to harassment and arrest and this repression has increased dramatically in 2013.
Last year Flip tried to create space for alternative voices by publishing a citizen’s newspaper and a satirical magazine but both have been forced to close due to printers becoming fearful of government reprisals.
Now by recreating this democratic space online - and by hosting the platform outside of the country - NewZambian amplifies a range of voices in free and open debate ahead of the elections in 2016. NewZambian is non-partizan and has no party-political affiliation. The editors are committed to amplifying citizens’ critical voice irrespective of which political party happens to be in office.
Constituency Watch is both a strategy and a technology tool to facilitate citizen interaction with elected officials; it encourages and enables civic engagement, accountability of elected representatives and is a small contribution towards participatory democracy.
The NewZambian platform will build on the early success of Constituency Watch by producing a real-time Fix My Constituency mapping of constituent reports. This is an application of crowd-mapping (using Ushahidi CrowdMap) that will allow citizens to submit reports of constituency issues live to an online map. By using an SMS short-code anyone with a regular cellphone can submit reports that about an issue that has been resolved or remains a concern.
Reports can also be submitted by email or Twitter and can be illustrated with photos or video.
Help Zambian citizens with better access to elected MPs to ameliorate accountability and improve the country’s civic, social and economic development. Through the New Zambian project, Zambia can become a pioneer and example in good governance in other countries in the region.