New Naratif, a member-supported movement for democracy, freedom of speech, and freedom of information in Southeast Asia, announced a new initiative on Sunday (11 August), entitled “The Citizens’ Agenda” (newnaratif.com/CITIZENSAGENDA).
According to New Naratif, The Citizens’ Agenda’s goal is to increase issue-based discussion and citizenship participation in Singapore, by representing the voice of New Naratif’s readers in its coverage of Singapore’s impending General Election. It was designed via focus groups of New Naratif readers, who helped shape the framework of The Citizens’ Agenda and the survey question at the heart of the initiative.
The Citizens’ Agenda works in two stages.
In stage 1, New Naratif’s community are surveyed and asked what issues they consider the most important:
“In your opinion, what issues do you consider important to Singapore? What do you think the candidates should be talking about as they compete for your vote in the upcoming election?”
The answers are then analysed to produce a summary list of issues considered important by New Naratif’s community. In the second stage of the survey, New Naratif’s readers are then asked to rank the top 5 most important issues.
These surveys are being run in Singapore’s four official languages (Bahasa Melayu, English, Chinese, and Tamil).
New Naratif will take the top five issues and invite every party, and every candidate, running in the next election, and invite them to address these issues, and list all their responses on the New Naratif website.
Readers will be able to look up any candidate by name and constituency and see how they have responded to the questions (or declined to respond). New Naratif will also produce articles shaped by these issues across all of our formats. These will include in-depth, evidence-based long-form journalism; research; explainers; podcasts; comics; and videos.
“How do us citizens who never have a chance to have a real conversation with politicians get their concerns on the agenda?” asks Managing Director Dr Thum Ping Tjin. “The Citizens’ Agenda aims to empower New Naratif’s readers in Singapore by helping ensure that our elections coverage focuses on the issues that or community cares about.”
“As an independent, reader-funded publication, we want to find out what our readers care about,” explains Editor-in-Chief Kirsten Han. “Instead of allowing politicians and the mainstream media to set the tone, we want our coverage to be guided by the people of Singapore.”
The Citizens’ Agenda can be accessed at newnaratif.com/CITIZENSAGENDA and stage 1 run for three weeks, until 27 August 2019.