New Series: The Digitalization of Democracy and Government Accountability

WASHINGTON, DC – New cutting-edge technologies are transforming how governments interact with citizens, as authorities automate key services varying from law enforcement to social services. In a new essay series released by the National Endowment for Democracy’s International Forum for Democratic Studies, three experts from Poland, Georgia, and Armenia explore the often under-appreciated risks and opportunities of digitalization and how it is transforming government accountability.

“Artificial intelligence and other digital tools are changing how governments operate,” said Christopher Walker, Vice President for Studies and Analysis at NED. “Digital technologies can be powerful tools for holding public officials accountable. But without transparency and public oversight, government collection and processing of digital data has the potential to weaken trust in government and erode democratic norms over the long term.”

In the first essay of the series, Krzysztof Izdebski, co-lead of the Open Spending EU Coalition and a legal and policy officer at the Stefan Batory Foundation in Poland, considers the challenges that digital tools present for transparency, trust, and accountability. He surveys opportunities to ensure responsible digitalization, arguing that civil society must take a more active role in the governance of public-sector technologies. Read the essay here.

The next two essays, to be released in April, will focus on how civil society can hold governments accountable in their use of digital tools and how watchdog institutions can effectively leverage emerging technologies for democracy. Teona Turashvili, head of local government and internet and innovations directions at the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information in Georgia, writes about the challenges facing civil society organizations that seek to ensure government accountability around the use of AI tools. Haykuhi Harutyunyan, chair of the Corruption Prevention Commission of the Republic of Armenia, discusses her experience building an AI-enabled digital platform to monitor asset declarations of public officials.

On Wednesday, March 29, from 10:00 am to 11:00 am EDT, NED will host a public event launching the series. Essay authors Krzysztof Izdebski, Teona Turashvili, and Haykuhi Harutyunyan will examine critical risks and opportunities that digital change in the public sector presents for state accountability. A recording will be available on NED’s website and YouTube after the event concludes. Learn more here.


The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is an independent, nonprofit, grant-making foundation dedicated to the development and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world.  With an annual appropriation from Congress, NED funds more than 2,000 grants in 100 countries. NED’s grants program is augmented by the International Forum for Democratic Studiesthe World Movement for Democracy; and the Center for International Media Assistance.


Christine Bednarz,; +1-202-200-6872