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PARLIAMENTARY PERFORMANCE AND EMERGING TECHNOLOGY


government through more tradition- al processes. • 2.10: The Study Group noted that the international transparency community was increasingly focused on complementing freedom of in- formation laws, which often required disclosure of public information upon specific request, with laws that required routine posting of public information online, often in open and structured formats that allowed for third-party reuse. The transition from a right to access to information upon request to the routine provision of public data had a number of potential benefits, including: a) cost savings for government by avoiding the need to review specific requests; b) greater public transparency and public integrity; and c) greater information to the private and non-profit sectors to


help advance a country’s develop- ment outcomes. The Study Group recommended that CPA Parliaments examined laws governing disclosure of public information and sought to find opportunities to expand methods of making public information more routinely and proactively available to the public online. • 2.11: Just as Parliaments had a duty to expand access to parliamen- tary and government information, the consumers of this information (including the press, PMOs and pub- lic officials themselves) had a duty to use this information responsibly. This included a responsibility not to distort, misrepresent or sensational- ize parliamentary information or data, as they sought to strengthen public interest. The Study Group highlighted that citizens in a number


210 | The Parliamentarian | 2013: Issue Three


of Commonwealth countries had placed inflated or inappropriate expectations on their Members of Parliament. In some countries, for example, citizens expected MPs to find jobs for specific individuals or to pay for the private expenses of constituents (such as scholarships or the costs of a wedding or funeral) out of the MP’s own salary or wealth. MPs often found themselves need- ing to respond to these requests, and to seek funding to do so, if they hoped to be re-elected. Reference was made to MPs who might make few interventions in Parliament and make few contributions to laws or to oversight, but who were nonetheless re-elected based on their abilities to provide private favors to their constituents. Parliaments and non-partisan PMOs had a joint


The group pictured with the CPA Secretary-General (centre second row,)


responsibility to educate citizens about the democratic roles and responsibilities of government and Parliamentarians, and to combat the types of behaviour that led to citizen expectations that Parliamentarians provided such personal benefits in lieu of the public exercise of parlia- mentary powers.


Parliamentary use of social media


• 3.1: The Study Group took note of the document Social Media Guide- lines for Parliaments published by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). The Study Group noted that social


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