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Title: E


1
E
Rona Zevin Director, Office of Electronic
Communications City Of Seattle USA
  • The Future of Democracy?

2
"Modern communications technology, by itself,
will be neither democracy's savior nor its
terminator. But unquestionably it will continue
to have enormous influence, both for better and
for worse, on the nature and character of our
political system."
1995 Lawrence Grossman, former president of NBC
News and PBS The Electronic Republic
Reshaping Democracy in the Information Age
3
So what is Electronic Democracy?
  • On the theoretical side, there is a dichotomy
    between those that see e-democracy as a way to
    move towards direct democracy and those who see
    it as a tool to enhance representative democracy
  • Excellent article by Steven Coleman of the Oxford
    Internet Institute on this issue

4
Why is government interested in e-democracy?
  • Concerns about citizen alienation from
    government.
  • Desires to get a wider range of participation.

5
The European Commission, Eurobarometer 57 Spring
2002
6
(No Transcript)
7
Elements of E-Democracy
  • Improve Government Transparency
  • Facilitate Civic Participation/Consultation

8
Transparency Index
  • Countries that are otherwise perceived as the
    most transparent are also leaders in e-government
    and e-democracy

www.transparency.org
9
Transparency
  • BASIC
  • Prevent corruption by posting bid requests
  • MODERATE
  • Show government in action
  • ADVANCED
  • Expose influences on decisions

10
Anti-Corruption Bidding Processes
  • This example is from the Philippines, but there
    are many others
  • Assumed in countries with high transparency, but
    a big deal in those where corruption is prevalent

11
Show Government in Action
  • Most common form is web videostreaming
    legislative body deliberations

12
Expose Influences
  • CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTING
  • It is ugly but it serves the purpose.
  • You can look up who contributed to each campaign.

13
Analysis of Campaigns on Web
                                                
                                                  
  ltgt
14
Mexico Public Officials Disclose Assets
  • Mexican President Vincente Fox started the
    reform process towards greater transparency and
    government openness by submitting a public
    declaration of his assets using the e-government
    site Declaranet and urging all public
    functionaries to do the same.

14
15
Expand Participation
  • Provide means for people to express opinions
  • Give them enough information so that they can
    participate effectively
  • Enable true interaction

16
Is e-mail an effective tool?
17
E-Petitions
  • Government sponsored e-petitions are not the same
    as e-mail chain letters

18
Queensland Another example
19
On-Line Consultation
20
Using both TV and Internet
21
Seattles Democracy Portal
  • In 2001, the Mayor and City Council established a
    citizens commission.
  • The Commissions recommendations form the basis
    for the Democracy Portal initiative.

22
Democracy Portal Mission
  • To inform and engage citizens in the
    governmental, civic, and cultural affairs of
    Seattle through compelling use of television,
    Internet, and other media.

23
Seattle is the Right Place
  • Known for our civic activism and open government
  • High Internet (over 76 at home) and 55 of that
    is high speed access
  • Award winning website (800K user sessions and 3
    million page views a month).
  • Award winning TV channel
  • Elected officials who really want to hear from
    citizens.

24
Government TV
  • In US, federal law enables local governments to
    require cable companies to provide them with
    channel capacity for free.
  • Most cities and a few states have TV channels
  • You can do it all without the TV channel

25
Core is new Website
  • www.seattlechannel.org
  • Focused on
  • Issues
  • Interactivity
  • Enhanced videostreaming

26
Issues
  • Site takes topics of interest and explores them
    as issues.
  • City Inside/Out and City Stream TV programs
    explore issues weekly.

27
Interactivity
  • Polling is not scientific, but a way to involve
    users and gauge opinion.

28
Live Stream of Seattle Channel
  • Stream live TV channel signal
  • Stream Council Live
  • Pet Cam

29
Video Archives
  • City Council and other meetings
  • Public affairs, arts, history and culture,
    lectures, features
  • About 800 videos in the archive
  • 17,000 videos played in the first quarter of 2004

30
Indexing Meetings
  • Create web links to meeting topics so user can go
    directly to subject.
  • While operator is taping meeting, they write down
    time code at beginning of each agenda item
  • Webmaster inserts timecodes and agenda
    information into a javascript file
  • Homegrown application automatically pulls up our
    player and indexed text

31
(No Transcript)
32
Enhanced Council Meetings
  • Begin to take advantage of convergence of
    internet and TV
  • Provide additional context for discussion on the
    TV screen
  • Refer to documents on the website

33
(No Transcript)
34
E-Democracy as Direct Democracy
  • Government will naturally focus on ways to
    improve representative democracy
  • NGOs have two roles
  • Neutral intermediaries between citizens and
    government
  • Organizing the voice of the people

35
Electronically Enhanced Democracy in Canada
  • local government may prove to be the cradle of
    electronically enhanced democracy in Canada",
    with online politics at the federal and
    provincial levels continuing to fall short of
    expectations as elected representatives face
    disincentives to participation.
  • the non-profit sector offers the best avenue
    for creating and maintaining electronically
    enhanced democracy resources.

Canada West Foundation Report
36
iCAN run by the BBC
  • Find information and advice on hundreds of
    issues
  • See what's going on in your area
  • Get details of local people who can help you
    (like your MP or councillor.
  • Read our guides to help you take action.
  • Post a notice about something that concerns you.
  • Write an article to share your experience.
  • Start a campaign online

37
Minnesota e-democracy
38
MoveOn.Org
39
Digital Divide
  • Government can not be committed to electronic
    democracy without addressing the digital divide
  • Seattle has several programs to make technology
    accessible to all
  • Over 100 sites with free high speed internet
    access and training programs

40
Technology Matching Fund
  • Seattle makes small grants to NGOs to support
    technology literacy and access
  • This year, one focus was on e-democracy projects

41
Future
  • Looking for ways to pair technology access sites
    with participatory events.
  • New TV program and matching fund grants focused
    on immigrant and non-English speaking people.

42
For more information
  • joane.obrien_at_seattle.gov
  • Videostreaming coordination
  • gary.gibson_at_seattle.gov
  • General Manager, Seattle Channel
  • rona.zevin_at_seattle.gov
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