Social media has ushered in greater transparency and accountability in governance. But accountability through social media is no alternative to institutional accountability. Analyse.

The growth of social media has created a regime of path-breaking transparency and accountability, which are the two important aspects of good governance as per the 2nd ARC.

Role of Social Media in Transparency:

  • Many government departments inform about policies on social media, so it helps the public to keep track of it.
  • Whistleblowers are using the platform f social media to reveal corruption.
  • People use social media like Twitter to ask for emergency help from government officials.

Role of social media in increasing Accountability:

  • Citizens keep track of government policies.
  • Citizens have a platform for venting their grievances.
  • Corruption, wrong policies, and misappropriation of benefits can be brought to light.

However, accountability through social media is not an alternative to Institutional accountability as:

  • Lack of mechanism for formal action. It may not be sufficient enough to penalize the wrongdoers once the uproar dies.
  • Social media users may lack policy details and background to analyze the issue effectively unlike a group of experts like a parliamentary committee or judicial committee.
  • Social media is a highly polarised platform and decisions made on the basis of sentiments may not be neutral.
  • As these platforms are run by tech giants, their own accountability is under doubt.
  • Marginalized sections of society who do not have access to social media are left behind.

Way forward

Social media has brought governments closer to the public, but an effective institutional mechanism is a more reliable way for achieving rule of law.

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