Iceland’s Crowdsourced Constitution. Like.

Iceland use social media to get the people's input for their new constitution.

Pat Fogarty
Published on June 21, 2011

We've seen social media play it's part at the pointy end of politics with Egypt's facebook revolution, but does it have a role in regular democracy? Iceland seems to think so.

The country suffered badly at the hands of the financial crisis, causing the collapse of their banking system, and bringing down its government. In such a dire situation, tearing up the rule-book and starting again starts to look like a good idea, but who exactly should be involved in drafting a new constitution? Well, it's a document for the people, so why not have it written by the people? Given that their current constitution was copied from Denmark's in 1944 with a bit of find-and-replace work, a new version is probably due.

Iceland's constitutional council has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and is using the social media channels to get the public involved in drafting the new constitution. Draft clauses are published to the council's website so the public can see exactly what they're up to, and provide feedback. The draft constitution, which will include checks to prevent further financial crises and changes to the way elections are run, is due to be put to a referendum at the end of July.

Involving the entire population in the political process hasn't really been feasible in any nation since democracy's early days, but perhaps the internet is the way to manage it in the modern world. Australia's Senator Online has been trying to get at least one internet-driven representative into a 'traditional' parliament, but Iceland's constitution could be the first example of a democracy built on the internet involvement of its population.

[Via Guardian UK, image via flickr]

Published on June 21, 2011 by Pat Fogarty
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