Another Perspective from Nepal - Social Media As a Civic Activism Tool.

Posted on May 27, 2011

 

I was impressed that 500 youth came on April 30, when the rain stopped activities early. And that 1000 youth showed up on May 17th, for the historically low-class/low-caste act of cleaning rubbish in Nepal.

 

2. 5000 signatures in support of the Supreme Court

 

Another Facebook-related piece of activism that impressed me tremendously were¬†5,000 signatures in support of the Nepali Supreme Court. The signatures were solicited to “follow the bright spot” of Nepal’s Supreme Court’s tough stand against corruption cases recently. Facebook was used to collect signatures in support of a letter organizers Ujwal Thapa and company had written to the Supreme Court commending their work. The organizers eventually delivered the letter to the Supreme Court, and got a statement from the Supreme Court Chief Justice that is now on YouTube (

).

 

What impressed me most was the way this event approached social activism. Most activism that talk to higher powers so with an opposing stance: whether by writing a petition to change course of action, staging a protest, or complaining in the public sphere. This piece of activism went the other way: by supporting and appreciating something that the “activists” were in favor of. Co-organizer Ujwal Thapa calls it “follow the bright spots,” a suggestion I highly support myself.

 

What I also liked about this movement was that it was slacktivism at its best. The effort required by everyone participating in this intervention was very small–they each just needed to like the page in order to offer up their name as a petition-signer. And on the other hand, that was all that was required for the Chief Justice and Supreme Court officials to realize that their recent actions are appreciated. Actually, the Facebook group also shared articles about the Supreme Court’s work and had discussions related to corruption in Nepal surrounding the petition. But, the core activity was as simple as it needed to be–solicitations of names that supported a Supreme Court fighting corruption in Nepal.

 

Again, in a climate where the public sphere’s main duty has been to talk truth in opposition to power, this campaign brought about a refreshing change by appreciating the effort of some civil servants who are doing well. In “Understanding Corruption,” Lawrence Rosen writes that building professional pride may be one of the key components of reforming corruption at large. This effort is a small set in an ecosystem that fosters professional pride for activities that are morally right.

 

How to launch a campaign