Twitter and Facebook campaigns force legislators to back down on plans for more comfortable seats.A campaign to stop Kyrgyzstan’s parliament spending much-needed money highlighted the growing power of social media.
Soon after the October 4 parliamentary election, it emerged that legislators wanted to refit the chamber with leather seats. The public outcry about what was seen as unnecessary extravagance forced the authorities to withdraw a tender for the refurbishment work.
Online campaigning on Facebook and Twitter was seen as a key tool in shaming politicians into reversing the decision. Hundreds of people photos of their own under the hashtags #mychair and #120chairs.
The newly-elected members of parliament were forced to respond, and several announced that they neither needed nor wanted the new seating.
Aytunuk Nurdinova is an IWPR contributor in Kyrgyzstan.
This audio programme went out in Russian and Kyrgyz on national radio stations in Kyrgyzstan. It was produced under two IWPR projects, Investigative Journalism to Promote Democratic Reform, funded by the European Union; and Strengthening Capacities, Bridging Divides in Central Asia, funded by the Foreign Ministry of Norway. The contents of this article are the sole responsibility of IWPR and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the EU or the Norwegian government.