Saturday

19th Aug 2017

Parliaments are slow in going online, study shows

  • The activities of 90% of the world's parliaments remain a mystery to their citizens due to the lack of an online presence. (Photo: EUobserver)

Only 10 per cent of parliaments in the EU, Africa, Latin America, Australia and Canada use information and communication technologies (ICT) to let their citizens know about their activities, an international study shows.

"For most parliaments, our survey has documented that there is a significant gap between what is possible with ICT and what has been accomplished," said Jeffrey Griffith, one of the authors of the "World e-Parliament report 2008" conducted by the United Nations, on Tuesday (25 November) when presenting the study at a conference held in the European Parliament.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Out of the 105 national legislatures participating in the survey, only 10 per cent were "leading" and "innovative" when it came to websites, webstreaming sessions, communicating with citizens and engaging them in policy making.

Most parliaments had difficulties in keeping their websites up to date and accessible to the wide public. When they provided the text of bills, they failed in also attaching links to relevant information, Mr Griffith said.

"Only 43 per cent of the parliaments reported that they had document management systems," he added.

The survey showed that there was a link between national income and the level of ICT use in the parliaments, but that poor online management was not exclusive to poor countries.

Mr Griffith praised the use of Web 2.0 techniques in the US presidential elections, especially by the campaign of president-elect Barack Obama, who has pledged to continue his direct communication with citizens after he has been sworn in.

A similar model, he said, could be applied by parliaments, but in order for that to happen, there would have to be strong political leadership, the active engagement of MPs and well-trained technical staff.

Vice-president of the European Parliament Mechthild Rothe said that "e-parliament" strategies also need to guarantee "a high level of IT security," to respect the privacy of the personal data when engaging with citizens.

Her summary of the ICT tools used by the European Parliament – RRS feeds, podcasts, online streams of plenary sessions in 23 languages, soon to be extended to committee meetings as well – provided a sharp contrast to the remarks made by representatives of the Pan-African parliament or the Egyptian national assembly, who spoke of a "great digital divide" between the developed world and African countries.

"There are technical and know-how obstacles in introducing ICT in the parliaments of the developing world, marred by ignorance, poverty and wars," Ahmed Fathy Sorour, speaker of the Egyptian parliament, told the conference.

Gertrude Mongella, president of the Pan-African Parliament, echoed his comments and said that the lack of dialogue and parliamentary representation was also one cause of conflicts such as the ongoing troubles in Congo.

Brexit realities dawn in UK

Just over a year after a small majority voted for Britain to leave the EU, new realities are dawning on both the in and the out camps.

News in Brief

  1. Macedonia sacks top prosecutor over wiretap scandal
  2. ECB concerned stronger euro could derail economic recovery
  3. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  4. European Union returns to 2 percent growth
  5. Russian power most feared in Europe
  6. Ireland continues to refuse €13 billion in back taxes from Apple
  7. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  8. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  2. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  3. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  5. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  7. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  8. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  10. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  11. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  12. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides