Public debate and policy discussions in traditional media, social media and indeed in our living rooms, railway stations and at chaupals , are important. An informed citizenry is key to holding elected representatives accountable.
Unfortunately, the quality of public deate is not very good. At AskHOW, we are a voluntary group fixing one piece to improve the quality of public debate. How?
The 2 main reasons for the low quality of discussions are
- Partisan framework: Issues get discussed in a partisan framework: BJP vs. Congress, AAP vs. BJP, ‘ Bhakt ‘ vs. ‘Sickular’, ‘neo-liberal’ vs. ‘communist’ and so on. Within this framework, effort is primarily expended in deciding who is to blame for a problem and not on how to solve the problem.
- Complexity: Policy issues in India are complex, but fortunately there is abundant, high quality, expert knowledge available on these. Unfortunately, this knowledge is in voluminous reports written by experts, for other experts. The average citizens would not have the ability or inclination to understand this.
To solve the topic ‘complexity’ problem in public debate, AskHOW India publishes ‘InfoCapsules’ and ‘Shorts’. In these, we analyse and communicate complex issues and possible solutions, using Infographics and plain language.
In the 10 minutes (typically) required, most people will have far, far greater knowledge – and that truly gives them the power to hold their elected representatives accountable.