Internet as a tool for learning about the election candidates: are they worth your vote?

What problem are you solving?:

Lack of accountability in the Latvian politics
Due to a low level of public participation in the political life, elections are almost the only instance when the society executes control over the political parties that they elect.
However, during election campaigns proper scrutiny and requests of accountability are being overshadowed by the sound bites and emotional appeal of political advertising.
In addition, in the present economic crisis situation the ability of the traditional media to provide a meaningful analyses of people on the political party candidate lists is low.
For this reason elections in Latvia risk losing their role as measurements of political party integrity and the core tool for political accountability.

Describe your idea:

1. The project will generate a data base of electoral candidates dossiers that will not be accessible anywhere else in such a concentrated manner.

2. It will be easily searchable, permanently on-line, accessible at any time not only during the times of traditional broadcasting of the traditional media.

3. Using the present and also new ideas of social networking the information about the data base will be disseminated to the broadest public and especially youth audiences.

4. The project will foresee a possibility to add comments and send direct questions to the candidates thus ensuring two way communication and accountability.

What country will this operate in?: Latvia

Who are you?:

Transparency International Latvia was established in 1998. Since then it has worked in the broadest range of areas of good governance and anti-corruption. With the decline of the traditional media that has been amplified by the economic crisis that has hit Latvia especially hard, TI Latvia has started experimenting with internet based solutions for dissemination of our anti-corruption work. Our biggest web-based project to date has been a data base that we created in 2009 before municipal elections. There we included election candidates’ dossiers that evaluated the candidates in accordance with several anti-corruption criteria. This project, although just a pilot and not at a large scale, was well used by the media and active society members. An advanced project based on sophisticated web solutions would be something that TI Latvia would aim to achieve before the upcoming parliamentary elections of 2010.