Circulation of information is one of the inevitable stages of democratic development as well as the evolution of healthy relationships between all social partners. Thus, at the end of 2003, Timişoara local authorities launched a long-term programme based on the concept of participatory democracy and focused on sustaining and stimulating direct dialogue between ordinary citizens and administration, both at decision-making level and at executive level, in order to improve the quality and efficiency of local governance. From the very beginning, the West Foundation for Regional and Euro-regional Journalism (WFJ) participated in this programme by developing specific projects aiming at improving interaction between civil society and public bodies.
Since 2004, the partnership of local authorities with WFJ developed a large scale programme entitled ‘Together for Transparency’ implemented in three complementary stages. The first stage consisted of setting up the so called communicational multiplier, a complex interactive system involving mass media and IT resources, aiming at: gathering, analysing and categorising information regarding citizens’ concrete needs and demands as well as suggestions, propositions and ideas to be addressed to local authorities in order to improve the authorities’ capacity to answer these issues; keeping local administration well informed; disseminating information throughout the community, aiming at forming public opinion in favour of citizens’ concrete needs and demands. The second stage consisted of increasing the responsibility, accountability and transparency of the decision-making process as well as citizens’ participation. This was done through live radio broadcastings of all local Council sessions; public debates on the community issues; meetings between representatives of the City Hall and citizens and a daily interactive radio show called ‘Timişoara, my neighbourhood’. Here, leaders of district councils and local administration representatives would be guests, focusing on people’s concrete needs and demands in each of the 19 neighbourhoods of the city. The third stage consists of developing a complex and coherent programme in the civic educational field (such as seminars, team-building and meetings) in order to maximise inhabitants’ awareness of citizenship and the importance of a permanent and fluid dialogue with local authorities. A further aim is to develop citizens’ communication skills, orientation and capacity to participate at democratic processes, and to find joint solutions to community problems.
All implemented projects have a strong component addressing young people in order to stimulate and sustain their interest in citizenship and involvement in community problems. The fact that discussions on important issues such as local taxes, the budget, transportation, city planning were broadcasted on radio was a positive point in transmitting information as far and to as many people as possible.
|Award category:||partnership working|
|Sector:||Information society, technology, media and audiovisual|
|Type of activity:||community and stakeholder participation|
|Keywords:||Good governance, responsibility, transparency, communication|
|Short English description:||A further aim is to develop citizens’ communication skills, orientation and capacity to participate at democratic processes, and to find joint solutions to community problems|
|Organisation:||City Hall of Timişoara|
|Other applicants:||Timişoara West Foundation for Regional and Euro-regional Journalism|
|Level of government:||regional level|
|Size of organisation:||>100|
|Number of people involved:|
|EU membership:||EU member|