Questioning Candidates on Government Openness and Transparency – Pick your Top 5

    by Steven Clift
    January 29, 2008

    While the mainstream media community raises awareness about open government each year during Sunshine Week, we need to push local up strategies that promote greater government transparency online so local citizen media has access to the raw “info” materials we need to improve democracy.

    We need to take a lesson from OMBWatch’s Open Government online survey and ask questions of state and local candidate. Here is the survey introduction from OMBWatch:

    Open Government: What We Need to Know

    We deserve a more open and honest government. Elections are the time when politicians pay the most attention to people and issues, and therefore the best time to ask them questions about how they plan to govern. OMB Watch wants your help in selecting the best questions to ask.

    We’re asking you to vote on your five favorite questions on the issue of government transparency and openness. We will then share the top questions with the news media and other organizations that have direct contact with candidates.

    This election year, one of the most important issues we face is ensuring an open and transparent government, one that enables an informed citizenry. It’s an issue of central importance, and it’s up to us to make sure that the right questions are asked. … take the online survey

    So what are the local versions of these questions we should be asking state and local candidates?


    I have a few unasked questions to recommend:

    1. If elected, will you change our open meeting laws to require all public meetings to be announced uniformly online with full agendas, handouts, minutes, and digital recordings (audio and/or video)?

    2. Once in power do you promise to only use government e-mail systems for your public work and ensure that all electronic public records you create are handled properly? Will you help make this the law and prohibit the (often hidden) use of private e-mail accounts in official government business?


    3. Will you support better online dissemination services that allow people to be notified of new content or meetings that interest them base on where they live or their topical preferences?

    What is missing from this list? Add your questions in a blog comment.

    Steven Clift

    Tagged: candidates dissemination politics transparency

    Comments are closed.

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