Kristina Daugirdas offers a different vantage point from most scholarship on the accountability of international organizations (IOs) by examining whether a focus on reputation can address accountability deficits. In this regard, reputational concerns could pressure international organizations to act by, for example, waiving immunity. In this essay, I explore the relationship between reputation and accountability through the prism of new technologies. Koettl, Murray, and Dubberley highlight four technological developments—“satellite imagery, camera-enabled portable phones, digital social networks and publicly accessible data”—that underpin “human rights investigations in the digital age.” This essay focuses on two of these technologies in particular: the use of new technologies to capture voice and image recordings of potential violations and the role of social media in amplifying allegations. I suggest that they can open routes to accountability in three ways. First, they expose and document claims of wrongdoing. Second, they provide corroborating evidence and thereby encourage victims to come forward. Third, they amplify claims and build public pressure and campaigns for accountability through social media. All three routes, individually or collectively, may lead to direct accountability as well as a structural analysis of how to prevent violations in the future. I then identify the factors that may elevate or reduce the levels by which an IO deems its reputation to be at risk and therefore responds, rather than deciding to “ride out” damage stemming from allegations of wrongdoing and a failure to act on them.
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