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About the Event
Please join the International Forum for Democratic Studies for a virtual event marking the launch of a new three-part essay series, The Digitalization of Democracy: How Technology is Changing Government Accountability, set to be released throughout the next month.
From voting to law enforcement to social services, digitalization is transforming governance—and these changes are impacting citizens’ ability to hold public officials accountable. Cutting-edge tools such as artificial intelligence (AI) present opportunities to make governance more open, fair, and responsive, for instance, by helping watchdog institutions to identify cases of corruption. Yet knowledge and oversight of new technologies—often still in short supply—are critical to ensure that they do not instead chill civic activism, reinforce social inequalities, and help officials deflect responsibility. If steps are not taken to close this gap, digitalization may worsen the crisis of trust in societies already struggling with democratic backsliding.
During our event, essay authors Krzysztof Izdebski (Poland), Teona Turashvili (Georgia), and Haykuhi Harutyunyan (Armenia) will survey the major risks and opportunities that digital change in the public sector presents for state accountability. Drawing on their experiences across state and civil society institutions, these experts will consider key principles that can enable stakeholders to work together in securing a democratic digital future.
The first essay in our series, Krzysztof Izdebski’s overview of “The Digital Battlefield for Democratic Principles,” will be released the day of the event.
Haykuhi Harutyunyan, Corruption Prevention Commission of the Republic of Armenia
Krzysztof Izdebski, Open Spending EU Coalition and Stefan Batory Foundation
Teona Turashvili, Institute for Development of Freedom of Information
about the participants
Haykuhi Harutyunyan is a human rights defender and lawyer, currently serving as chair of the Corruption Prevention Commission (CPC) of the Republic of Armenia, a newly established independent body that develops and implements the country’s corruption prevention policies. Her essay discusses the CPC’s experience working to design an AI-enabled digital platform that will aid in monitoring the asset declarations of public officials.
Krzysztof Izdebski serves as a co-lead of the Open Spending EU Coalition and legal and policy officer at the Stefan Batory Foundation. His legal work centers around freedom of information, re-use of public sector information, and technologies which impact democracy, and he has wide expertise in relations between public administration and citizens. His essay surveys how new technologies are becoming part of the government-citizen relationship; what democratic risks these tools may pose; and why it will be increasingly critical to ensure that they are held to the same transparency and accountability norms which apply to government officials.
Teona Turashvili is the head of local government and internet and innovations directions at the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) in Georgia, which aims to support the development of an informed and empowered society to foster democratic governance. At IDFI, she leads projects on new technologies, digital rights, internet, e-governance, and open data issues. Her essay draws on IDFI’s experience in Georgia to showcase some of the challenges facing civil society organizations that seek to ensure accountable government use of AI.
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