Public Hearing for Social Accountability: Examining the Rationale and Realities in Bangladesh

  • Kazi Maruful Islam
  • Amir M. Nasrullah
  • Sheela Tasneem Haq


The conventional hierarchy-based accountability mechanisms have proved increasingly futile to hold public institutions and officeholders to account in Bangladesh over the past decades. New forms of social accountability practices have brought more hopeful options for citizens. Among many others, several civil society organizations have conducted public hearings as a new form of social accountability. Public hearings enable citizens to confront leaders of service-providing government agencies about their promises and obligations, which improves and sustains the quality of services. In general, public hearings have been effective but the level of effectiveness varies. This is a comparative case study, using empirical data from civil society organizations that have organized public hearings in recent years. It shows that an essential condition for the success of public hearings in holding officials accountable is the support of the political leadership and local elites. Another determinant of success is the effectiveness of intermediaries such as the civil society organizations.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kazi Maruful Islam
    • 1
  • Amir M. Nasrullah
    • 2
  • Sheela Tasneem Haq
    • 3
  1. 1.University of DhakaDhakaBangladesh
  2. 2.University of ChittagongChittagongBangladesh
  3. 3.Governance SpecialistDhakaBangladesh

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