How do those who never have a chance to have a direct conversation with candidates and party leaders get their concerns on the agenda? New Naratif’s The Citizens’ Agenda is a space for people to voice their concerns and increase their political engagement. We invite our community to participate in our public survey and share with us what issues they consider important to their respective countries. Using this public survey, we will help ensure that our coverage focuses on the issues that our community cares about.
We’re expanding The Citizens’ Agenda to Indonesia this year!
New Naratif’s The Citizens’ Agenda was launched in 2019 to address the question of “How do those who never have a chance to have a direct conversation with candidates and party leaders get their concerns on the agenda?” We received over 400 responses from the people of Singapore and summarised them into a list of 28 most important issues facing Singapore. Soon after, we commissioned articles shaped by these issues across all of our formats. These included in-depth, evidence-based longform journalism, research, explainers, podcasts, comics, and videos. Before the 2020 Singapore General Election, we launched a collection of articles in a single book, The Singapore Citizens’ Agenda. We also invited every political party to address these issues and listed all their responses.
Since 2019, we have run The Citizens’ Agenda in Singapore and Malaysia, and we are expanding it to Indonesia in 2023. As New Naratif grows, we plan to expand it to the entire region of Southeast Asia.
How Is The Citizens’ Agenda Conducted?
In Stage 1, we use an online survey platform to ask people each in the countries where this programme is conducted: In your opinion, what issues do you consider important to your country? What do you think the candidates should be talking about as they compete for your votes in the upcoming or next general elections? Using a professional survey company means we will get statistically representative samples across the countries that accurately reflects our great diversity.
At the same time, we also want to hear from our New Naratif community. We will invite them to answer the same questions via a public survey.
We then separately analyse and produce a list of responses from both groups (the professional survey sample and the public community) for each of the countries.
In Stage 2, we share the top issues from each country that emerged from our surveys and ask them to pick and rank the 5 most important issues facing their respective countries.
In Stage 3, we publish our findings from both surveys. We also commission and produce articles, podcasts, and explainers in order to help people better understand these issues.
In Stage 4, we use our findings and resources to create a series of Democracy Classrooms to educate and empower our community to take action for the next elections.
The first iteration of The Citizens’ Agenda was highly successful.
- It successfully predicted the top five issues that were the focus of the Singapore 2020 General Elections.
- The handbook, published just before the elections, sold out its entire first print run and is in its second printing.
- Democracy classrooms were held every night during the election period on the various issues, and drew large crowds who participated enthusiastically.
Following the elections, the Institute of Policy Studies, a Singapore government think tank, found a correlation between people who changed their vote to an opposition party and people who were “politically active”, defined as taking part in online political activities such as attending online meetings like New Naratif’s democracy classrooms. A few months later, the Singapore Prime Minister’s Office filed a police report against New Naratif. Investigations dragged on for over a year before it was finally dropped, just a few days before the PAP government introduced legislation specifically targeted at New Naratif operations. Clearly, the Citizens’ Agenda hit a nerve.
FAQs about The Citizens’ Agenda
What is The Citizens’ Agenda?
The Citizens’ Agenda is a survey that creates space for people to voice their concerns and increase their political engagement. Your concerns will then be used to guide our coverage and Democracy Classrooms to build pathways for citizens to be politically engaged/to make it easier for Southeast Asians to participate as citizens in their communities.
What’s the purpose of The Citizen’s Agenda?
The Citizens’ Agenda is to find out what you, our audience, care about.
Can you give me a brief explanation regarding how The Citizens’ Agenda is conducted?
You can learn more here.
What do I have to do to participate in The Citizen’s Agenda?
- For Stage 1, you are invited to fill out our public survey for your country.
- For Stage 2, we will publish a list of all the issues that respondents in your country have identified in stage 1, and we’ll invite you to pick the top 5.
- Participate in our democracy classrooms.
- Stay up to date by signing up for our weekly newsletter.
How would the survey responses be used?
All survey responses and any identifiable information will be kept confidential and can only be accessed by the Research teams at New Naratif.
We may wish to highlight some of the most interesting answers from the stage 1 public survey. In the survey form, you will have the choice to opt in to allowing us to highlight your answer on our social media channels.