Volume 1, Issue 5
Editor’s Choice: Posting video on government committee proceedings
Governments around the world are beginning to understand the impact that video has on various proceedings – many legislatures, parliaments, and councils have begun to videotape or stream hearings and proceedings, making them available to millions of viewers via the Internet.
However, a recent dispute over video of Canadian Parliament proceedings shows government officials still suffer anxiety over this unprecedented exposure to their legislative processes.
Michael Geist, legal commentator and professor at the University of Ottawa, writes about a recent situation in Canada, that he calls a missed opportunity to embrace the YouTube generation.
Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, a broadcasting advocacy group, began to post videos of committee proceedings in early 2007. However, recently, lawyers from the House of Commons argued that posting these proceedings violated copyright and could be considered as contempt of Parliament. These videos are widely used to educate constituents on policy issues and legislative proposals. Nevertheless, the House of Commons contends they violate the law and have asked that they be removed.
Policies indicate that use of these videos is restricted to very specific use – and use outside those constraints requires prior permission from the speaker of the house. Geist notes that this policy stands in stark contrast to situation in the United States, where these proceedings are public and any video taken is fair game for the public domain.
Now authorities are working to negotiate policies related to these videos. As this issue evolves, it will be interesting to see whether the Canadian Parliament will understand the benefits of using online video as an educational tool.
Facebook Democracy in Iran
The Financial Times estimated that 475 people have registered for the election, but only three are serious contenders to incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has created a social network presence for the contest.
Accessing Congress’s Research
The U.S. Senate has introduced a resolution to make these reports freely available online. However, this resolution may have a difficult path ahead. The Times suggests this is an important step for Congress, since so many people who are connected in Washington can access this important information, but the citizens who support it generally cannot.
If at first you don’t succeed…
However, some pervasive criticisms still exist – limited ability to see posted comments, lack of searchability on many budget documents, and limited ability to reuse content or embed it on external sites.
Check out the full post for information about how to participate in the next rounds of assessment.
Reinvigorating citizens in Scotland
Appointing a cyber-security czar
Finding its vision
Ultimately, he recommends focusing on efforts to provide citizens a place to influence decisions. He also reminds leaders to not get lost in the process and focus on these goals.
More Obama Administration
Apps for Democracy
Beware the Twitter bandwagon
Take the recent elections in Moldavia and reports that Twitter was used to organize a large protest. However, the true impact was called into question when sources revealed that cell phone service was limited in the protest area.
Further reports suggest it was a broader organizational effort – no doubt a range of social media and Internet-based tools were involved.
The good news is that people are turning to these tools for civic organization. The important message here is to remember that it doesn’t matter whether Twitter did it all. That any of these tools are bringing folks together around a cause is significant.
Read more on Daniel Bennett’s frontlineclub.com blog.
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