Politicians wise up, get on technology wagonLocal politicians are gearing up to become more tech-savvy, making use of social networking sites and smartphone applications before local elections this June.
As a part of the effort, all Grand National Party members and employees will receive smartphones, Choung Byoung-gug, newly-appointed GNP secretary general, said yesterday during a press conference. “The political sector is loosing the interest of the public while staying stuck in the old analog era,” said Choung.
He vowed to make GNP a “SMART” party - “SMART” standing for the first letters of symphony, messenger, active, renovate and together.
“We will make it obligatory for national assembly members and election candidates to use short-message services including Twitter. Also, considering that most people are netizens, we will make a division exclusively for this purpose,” said Choung. He added that the GNP is planning to operate a mobile home page and opening “SMART” academies to train members to use new technology to connect with the public.
The Democratic Party is joining in as well. “The Democratic Party will be a ‘network’ party which communicates with the public,” said DP leader Chung Sye-kyun during a press conference yesterday. He said members will use Twitter and other interactive, mobile programs. The DP is also considering selecting two to three netizens to be proportional representation candidates for the metropolitan area. They would be selected through an Internet vote after they post their positions on the DP home page. Twitter has been buzzing with local politicians’ postings. Roh Hoe-chan, leader of the New Progressive Party who is preparing to run for Seoul mayor, is an avid Twitter user, with over 24,000 followers.
The National Election Commission, however, is uncertain how to handle these new advanced technologies as campaign tools. There are no present laws governing them. To prevent cyber election crimes, the National Police Agency said last week that it will keep a close eye on election candidates’ and their fans’ Twitter pages.
At present, posting or handing out campaign material more than 180 days before the election date is forbidden. However, many say that it will be hard to control politicians’ Twitter activity. “It is nearly impossible to give penalties for Twitter postings,” said Kim Sung-hoon, head of the GNP’s digital party committee.
By Cho Jae-eun, Lee Ka-young [firstname.lastname@example.org]
More in Politics
Tensions rise between prosecution, Ministry of Justice ahead of court review
Opposition jumps on idea of Assembly probe of Choo
Blue House names new foreign policy secretary
Prosecutors protest suspension of Yoon by justice minister
DP wants parliamentary probe of prosecutor general