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Social media helps Iceland pen a new constitution

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Iceland takes a unique approach to building a constitution

Crowd-sourcing methods have been adopted to help Iceland compose its new constitution.

The European country has decided to take on a unique approach while collating its new constitution. In a bid to make the constitutional process more transparent, Iceland has turned to social media. The Constitutional Council is welcoming public input as it seeks to set out the new document. An initial draft of the constitution has already been penned, which the council has made available online. The draft has been made public with the hope that Iceland’s residents will offer their recommendations for amending it.

It is possible for Icelandic people to register and comment by other means but it appears that most of the discussions are taking place on the Constitutional Council’s Facebook page. Recommendations must gain approval from local staff and are then passed onto the council; approved suggestions are added to the draft document and reposted online for more debate. Public suggestions so far include ideas affecting livestock protection and ownership of the country’s national resources.

Council’s debates are also more transparent

Keeping transparency as paramount, the council has made the whole deliberation process open. Throughout the debates and discussions the public can be present at weekly council meetings via live online broadcasts on their website and Facebook page. Public discussion has also been taking place on the council’s Flickr, Twitter and YouTube accounts.

Crowd-sourcing as a method for getting information and opinions has become more widespread over recent years. Governments and organisations alike are accepting the fact that if they want to gain public support they must consult the public. Iceland’s approach has not only seen strong support from its own country folk but people from across the world have been passing their comments on the new method, suggesting their own countries should follow suit in the future.

Written by Nicola Hughes

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