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Role of ICT in Uniting Civil Society around Social Issues

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Information and Communication Technology (ICT) gives a rise to a new kind of power – the bottom up ICT mediated power of citizens. According to Professor Dutton of Oxford University, this power of citizens through ICT can be titled as the Fifth Estate. The Fifth Estate can help not only to increase transparency and hold government institutions accountable, but also to develop new modes of governance and self accountability.

The key question here is whether the new networked power will be a partner of traditional institutions or will provide an alternative to them. Additionally, the major issue for social development policy in consequence is how to develop new tools for dialogue and new modes of collaboration between traditional institutions and networked citizen based bottom up structures.

This BBL will introduce the theoretical framework of the Fifth Estate with few case studies, mostly from the Russian Federation. This BBL also aims to provide a discussion platform on the question relating to social media and other citizen-government ICT platforms: What is the implications of social media to our work at the World Bank? What has been done thus far? Are we equipped to utilize such platforms?

Maria Amelina, Senior Social Development Specialist, SDV

Gregory Asmolov, Polis Silverstone Scholar and Ph.D. Candidate, Media and Communications Department, London School of Economics 

Gregory Asmolve is a contributor to Runet Echo, a project of "Global Voices Online" that analyzes the Russian Internet. He has consulted on information technology, new media, and social media projects for the World Bank, and worked as research assistant at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society (Harvard University). He has previously worked as a journalist for major Russian daily newspapers Kommersant and Novaya Gazeta, and served as news editor and analyst for Israeli TV. He is a co-founder of HelpMap, a crowdsourcing platform, which was used to coordinate assistance to victims of wildfires in Russia in 2010 and won a Russian National Internet Award for best project in the "State and Society" category. Currently he and his colleagues are working to develop a new crowdsourcing platform ( for coordination of mutual aid in crisis situations. His recent work includes the report on Social Change and the Russian Network Society. Gregory holds MA in Global Communication from George Washington University and BA in Communication and International Affairs from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.


Troy Etulain, Technology for Development Expert (Former Senior Advisor for New Media, USAID)

Oleg Petrov, TTL, Moldova Governance e-Transformation project, TWICT

Tiago Peixoto, ICT for Governance Consultant, WBIOG

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