Social Media Governance and Youth

Dr. Dharmesh Pushpa Dhawankar
(Head, Dept of Mass Communication,
Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University,
Nagpur)

Abstract

This research paper is an attempt to identify the media perspective and its role in youth participation in social media governance in the country and in the world, developing countries in specific. The basic focus of this paper is to highlight the various parameters involved in this exercise and the holistic approach of media. This paper explores the involvement of youth in governance strategies. Further, it verifies whether the youth is responsible for the state of affairs in the sphere of education. It also examines the strategic educational capacity building taking youth into confidence. The paper also touches on educational governance.

Introduction

Social media governance needs to be democratic, which is to some extent. The perquisites of a strong nation can be economic development, democratic reform, strong civil society with access to information and a mandate to oversee the state, and the presence of rule of law. Such instruments have served to empower civil society and improve service delivery through greater transparency and accountability. We need to strengthen the confidence level of youth in the basic institution of educational governance. The capacity and integrity of youth for enforcement need to be enhanced. The best law has no value if it is not enforced. The best judges and magistrates are wasted if cases are never brought to them. Good investigations are wasted efforts if the judge or magistrate is corrupt.  A government needs to put in place a solid set of preventive tools. Palatable educational strategy, functional code of conduct, and strong independent educational policy can help ensure the acceptable standards of behavior and respect in the educational domain in the private and public sectors.

Broad-based participation of youth is central to sustainable development. Only programs that manage to become locally-owned and valued finally flourish. This is particularly true in many developing societies were for so long so much has been forced from the top for the benefit of a few, or what is being called “social educational capital”. By all logic, therefore, anti-corruption strategies should work to greatly enhance the participation of youth in the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs to improve accountability. Rather than economists or procurement experts imparting their knowledge via a few high placed government clients or “champions,” the key effort should involve international educational task managers who develop, train, and coach local stakeholders to facilitate the broadening of circles of strategic educational participation. These participants, especially youth from the regions than can approach experts to devise technically competent but also locally developed, adapted, and owned solutions. Systematic mechanisms to ensure access to information and checks and balances can be developed by the task managers and local owners, to suit the local needs. In such a manner, the participatory process would anchor the educational substance while working to balance the competing interests by opening access.  The wider implications of broad participation are even more promising as a means of prevention giving teeth to citizenship, generating broader consensus, and even producing a workable educational and social contract upon which to base reform and development priorities and programs.  This type of empowerment combined with other practical tools constitutes the best practice in promoting educational governance. Well, can that bring a local effect on the social media issues for equitable responsibility?

Involving youth in governance strategies

Youth, if taken into confidence, can be an invigorating force. Educating and involving the public in building integrity is the key to nation-building and thereby the key challenge and the keystone of this holistic integrated strategy which can take different forms. Youth education and awareness campaigns (radio, newspapers, TV); conduct annual broad-based national/municipal integrity workshops where all stakeholders are invited to discuss problems and suggest changes; inform youth about their rights and empower them to monitor the government through periodic service delivery surveys; production and dissemination of a national integrity strategy and an annual development survey at national, municipal and village level; production of integrity surveys at the municipal or village level; investigative journalism and information by the media; and dissemination of the relevant information and experiences of other countries in educational capacity building.

Beyond the government, members of the media play a critical role in raising public awareness. A free and independent media with professional investigative capabilities can be a “nation builder.” By drawing attention to educational backwardness or corruption, journalists can turn corruption from a seemingly low risk, high-profit activity for those involved to one that is high risk and low profit. It can be a key player in fostering democratic elections by educating the public as to each political candidate’s philosophies, values, and goals. Researchers worldwide feel that the local governments have ignored youth, as in educational capacity building focused on “tools and skills” for the executive branch of government with little emphasis on the capacities of the legislative and judicial branches of government or of civil society and the private sector. More attention was given to budgets and activities than to the economic outcomes and impacts that would be achieved by these activities. Results were seldom the focus. And government accountability and transparency were not seen as particularly important.  Underlying this new approach is the belief that elected politicians and public sector employees should focus on generating sustainable development results by meeting the needs of the general public and other clients. Politicians and employees should be held accountable individually and collectively for fulfilling the government’s responsibilities and commitments.

Involve the youth in educational accountability through transparency i.e. access to information. Focus on prevention rather than enforcement. Raise awareness and expectations of civil society. Focus on results-oriented service to the youth would bear fruits.  Lack of educational accountability by national and international politicians and civil servants is probably one of the most important reasons why sustainable development has not occurred in most of the world’s poorest countries. How can transparency and accountability be generated? To institute accountability and transparency in educational governance, both internal and external pressure is needed. Educational accountability must be generated by a combination of political will from the top and public pressure from the base. Even if leaders are successful in changing attitudes within the government bureaucracy, more will need to be done because less than two percent of the population in most developing countries works for the government. The new educational strategic governance approach should be based on the assumption that increased public sector accountability can only be achieved through the education, involvement, and empowerment of the remaining 98 percent of the population, including the private sector, media, and civil society.

Youth and strategic educational capacity

Capacity building has traditionally focused on expanding government facilities and skills.  Typically, such projects financed infrastructure, equipment, and technical skills training.  These activities are important, but without leadership confidence in introducing accountability, transparency, and a focus on objectives and results, the sustainable effect of these initiatives is questionable. The new approach to capacity building encouraged and pioneered should be amenable to adoptive and accommodative measures. The World Bank in close collaboration with educative stakeholders must shift its plans and strategies form traditional approaches. The new approach must emphasize the importance of young leadership and an integrity mindset among public servants. “Mindset” refers to the outlook and state of mind that policy-makers and civil servants bring to their jobs in relation to the educational planning and coordination scenario. Donors work as facilitators with clients to establish standards and ground rules for educational leaders in public service through the introduction of leadership codes, codes of conduct, declarations, and monitoring.

Strategic educational integrity is critical when appointments of a key executive are made and are equally important among politicians. The second change is that the audience for the educational capacity building is broadened to include all parts of society interested in creating and maintaining national integrity. Traditionally, the focus of benefactor attention has been on the executive branch of the government, particularly the programs and activities relating to government ministries. However, capacity building focused almost entirely on strengthening the capacity of ministries to deliver public services is insufficient. A more systemic approach to building integrity and sustainable development requires the institutional strengthening of other “pillars” that is domestic stakeholders both inside and outside the government. Youth have in some of the more advanced countries been invited in to help initiate awareness-raising and skill-building efforts with parliaments, law enforcement agencies, judiciaries, public account committees, NGOs, and private-sector organizations.  To ensure that there is an enabling environment that is supportive of private and public sector contributions to sustainable development, a National Integrity System needs to be built with mutually supportive pillars.

The “pillars of integrity” in a society include actors outside the executive and outside the government itself. The collection of stakeholder groups is referred to as “pillars of integrity” because it is incumbent on them to support and uphold practices that promote educational integrity. A national educative integrity system is based on eight pillars of integrity: (a) executive, (b) parliament, (c) judiciary, (d) watchdog agencies, (e) media, (f) private sector, (g) civil society and (h) law enforcement agencies. The pillars are interdependent, a weakening of one pillar results in an increased load being shifted on to the others. Where several pillars weaken, the system can no longer support sustainable development and effectively collapses. Examining a national educative integrity system requires identifying gaps and opportunities for corruption within each of the pillars and then coordinating the work of the government, civil society, and youth into a coherent framework of institutional strengthening. The reasons for building an educative integrity system may differ from country to country in relation to impending conditions.

Nation-building, governance, and youth

The primary objective of nation-building can be to develop a systemic approach to building educational integrity by ensuring the inclusion of governance issues in the educational reform agenda; provide central co-ordination for expert assistance on integrity-related issues; provide a direct link between government and institutions of civil society for research, information, and public awareness-raising and using the information in partnership with the media, NGOs, and citizens; facilitate educative-integrity-building activities as part of the implementation of the government’s economic and public-sector reform programs; and conduct public-education and awareness-raising activities, integrity-building workshops, and other events.

The nation-building strategy should result in a wide range of reforms that are inter-related and integrated in order to create systemic change. The focus of the strategy is on achieving specific outcomes, in the expectation that these will, in turn, contribute significantly to such impacts as improved public service delivery and the creation of an enabling environment for private sector development through the establishment of the rule of law.

First among the key elements in promoting a new governance strategy is local ownership. Local “ownership” must be rapidly achieved when a pilot governance program is launched. Local actors must drive the process for the very reason that they will be bringing about reform. It is alive for outsiders to believe they can solve another country’s corruption problems. Corruption takes myriad forms, and the internal dynamic varies subtly but distinctively from country to country.

The local community is best positioned to know and understand its particular problems, the network of participants, and the best possible solutions. The involvement of youth is a central part of a strategy to build integrity. Government efforts have failed when the confidence and support of youth were absent, so it is essential to develop broad coalitions supporting reform. An apathetic, cynical youth could undermine even a government’s best intentions, thus the stipulation that credible donors be invited into a country by government and an organization in civil society. The potential partner in youth must be one the government feels comfortable with to enhance creativity. This protects the benefactor’s objectivity on political issues and ensures that work is directed towards the entire system rather than individuals.  Most youth would probably today openly accept that they have more questions than answers and must work with partners in a learning process. There are no standard solutions that anybody can impose upon or recommend to a country. The benefactors’ competitive advantage lies in the knowledge it acquires through its global experience and perspective; its ability to help identify the questions that should be asked; and its capability of contributing relevant experiences from other countries and contexts into the answer-seeking processes.

With a shared understanding of objectives among all the partners and with the process being locally owned and driven, the youth should work as facilitators, focusing on the process, rather than presenting themselves as policy experts. These facilitators should help governments determine how to manage a change process that results in increased transparency, accountability, and improved service delivery. The strategy is to demonstrate an approach that can be incorporated into projects and to act as a resource for local institutions.  One of the strategies is to initiate a process that will lead all the stakeholders to identify their roles and recognize that “they are either part of the problem or part of the solution.”  Well, that can be equally good for social media too.

Media role in educational governance

Taking a pertinent view of the role media can play is absolutely rudimentary and participatory in nature. The type of media outage available today is intricate and dynamic.  What role and function of these media platforms can perform is definitely thinkable.  Let us take a holistic view of mass media as a tool for educational governance. If we break this into the palatable presentation, then we find the essence of bringing participatory nature run into the realms of new media only.

As we are aware the traditional media has never allowed anybody to enter its content and structure easily. Of course, they have their constraints. But the new media has broken all shackles and has provided an avenue to the youth to not only participate but to be actively involved in the projection of the content, expression of varying views, and put a virtual face to the world. That has created a world of youth who can put their actions on a platform provided by the new media to change the way they think. Thus, a culture is being created in a very lucid way. Noam Chomsky said, “Media manufactures consent”. It is slowly getting changed to “Media is manufactured by content”. Education is the lifeblood of a growing economy. The youth perspective is governed by new forms and reality. I think the new media has already started shaping educational governance in a country like India. The only hitch I find may be the form of its reach and access. This is a time and space factor, which has to be eliminated with the input of technique and infrastructure. But the governance and the layoff plans can be decided by meticulous planning only by the youth. Let there be an experiment of educational objectives influenced by the present need, which will engage the youth in a consistent manner. This will harness the youth’s ability to reposition themselves according to the derived notions about the educational perspective. The new media products have to come in a very fast and dynamic form. The given virtual environment and its penetration in the youth will definitely bear fruits. Yes, we all have to contribute to finding out the newer forms to have sustainable and comprehensive educational governance with changing times keeping youth involved in it at regular intervals.

Conclusion

If there are many unanswered questions, there are also many challenges. First, the question of the sequencing of the reforms. This will differ from country to country, but actually working out precisely where to start the process is important as it will dictate much of the path ahead. It is in this context that the “national integrity system workshop” can be most effective, providing an opportunity for all stakeholders to participate in a process that otherwise tends to be dominated, for no good or compelling reason, by lawyers. A particular challenge for the outsider is to identify the appropriate (and clean) partners in a given country. There may be many who offer themselves, but the outsider must be able to determine what hidden agendas there may be and what individual motivations are as well as gain a reading on where the people concerned stand in their community. This dictates a special role for civil society in a country from the very outset so as to ensure that the reform process is fostered with the right “champions”.

The roadblocks, too, need to be identified from the outset, and the baseline of acceptable (or perhaps better described as tolerable) conduct which the people are prepared to live with, defined. The credibility of enforcement and watchdog agencies is crucial to the building of public trust and confidence. Credible agencies will attract public co-operation, both as complainants and as witnesses. An institution lacking in the trust will not. And at the heart of credible institutions lies their manifest and popularly accepted integrity. Their leaders’ role and conduct must be of the highest order. The community of youth has a significant role to play in developing countries, both as part of the problem and the solution. They are part of the problem because in many quarters they are viewed as having turned a blind eye to corruption, and tolerated the misappropriation of public funds to suit their own ends.  However unfair some may think this to be it is a perception that is very real. And in many instances, there is a substance in this complaint. So we must re-examine their own practices, something which many have been doing. And as part of the solution, there are activities that are essential and these be locally owned and driven. The traditional form of aid flying in with an expert for a short period, doing his job, and returning has been conspicuous by its failure to achieve sustainable development.

Whatever may have been the position in the past, most countries now have the human resources to tackle their own problems. But they may need access to information, the tools they need to undertake the job, and, at times, a word of encouragement. Thus, the youth’s role has to be low key, supportive, and facilitative. The more conspicuous the role of the youth (dominating small group discussions etc.)the less likely are the efforts to bear fruit. The youth can back up the data collection processes needed to empower civil society to hold the civil service accountable and turn public servants into servants for the public. And they can help focus on the bribe giver, and not just the bribe receiver. The process of building national integrity systems is as important as the content.

The following are six final thoughts about the process.  1. Successful reform requires a country to integrate and harmonize all reforms into a National Reform Program, including sector reforms, educational reforms, financial reforms, economic reforms, constitutional reforms, civil-service reform, decentralization, army demobilization, privatization, and legal reforms.  2. Reform is a long-term process where attitudes and conduct must be examined and re-evaluated for effectiveness at all levels. 3. Successful reformers will have to manage both expectations and change while introducing realistic incentive structures and sanctions.  4. Initially, reform should only tackle areas: (a) that can show the credible impact on issues important to key stakeholders; (b) where the return on investment is greatest; (c) that are discrete and where reformers can control implementation, (d) that are within the budget; and (e) that can have some short-term positive impact. 5. Reform is a process of instituting building blocks that must be put in place over a number of years. 6. The process of and commitment to reform must be visibly supported from the top.

As decentralization becomes a growing priority, more analyses are needed to assess the relative advantages of decentralization and the process for the efficient delivery of public broadcast services. The growing realization that the private and public sectors should be examined supports efforts to develop effective youth participation. Action-oriented information-gathering procedures should be explored. Of course, the media will impact the complete proceedings and on its operative part.

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