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C IVIL S OCIETY O RGANIZATIONS AND THE I NTERNET Enhancing Promotion of the Rule of Law Brian D. Anderson and Howard N. Fenton Claude W. Pettit College.

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Presentation on theme: "C IVIL S OCIETY O RGANIZATIONS AND THE I NTERNET Enhancing Promotion of the Rule of Law Brian D. Anderson and Howard N. Fenton Claude W. Pettit College."— Presentation transcript:

1 C IVIL S OCIETY O RGANIZATIONS AND THE I NTERNET Enhancing Promotion of the Rule of Law Brian D. Anderson and Howard N. Fenton Claude W. Pettit College of Law Ohio Northern University Ada, Ohio, USA

2 T HE I NTERNET AND C IVIL S OCIETY O RGS. Core principles of democratic governance and rule of law Internet and ICT use by CSOs can enhance promotion of good governance and the rule of law TransparencyAccessibilityAccountability Government communication through Internet use and access to information laws Greater Accessibility through the use of the Internet and ICT CSOs embracing the Internet and ICT to promote access and accountability

3 CSO S + ICT AND THE I NFORMATION C IRCUIT Meaningful government interaction with citizens involves: Individuals, commercial entities, and CSOs use ICT to facilitate citizen- government communication End Result: meaningful ROL interaction Internet and ICT with help of CSOs to inform public Internet and ICT for public to obtain Information Government Information is Disclosed Disclosed Information Reaches the Public Public processes and reacts to information Government Officials respond or are politically sanctioned

4 C HALLENGES TO E MBEDDING AND E XPANDING THE I NTERNET IN THE R ULE OF L AW ICT/Internet Challenges: Bridging the Digital Divide CSO Challenges: equalizing access and resources Government Challenges: Adopting and implementing meaningful access to information laws

5 I NTERNET C HALLENGES Overall lack of access Developing or upgrading infrastructure is cost prohibitive Privatization increases access only insofar as users can afford it Predominantly wired technologies have limited capacity to bridge the digital divide Rural and remote areas remain largely unconnected Bridging the Digital Divide and Providing Equal Access to the Internet

6 I NTERNET C HALLENGES Limitations of existing Internet connections: Fibre optic & undersea cables must be integrated into infrastructure to reach rural inland areas High fixed costs for development of infrastructure passed to consumer Bridging the Digital Divide and Providing Equal Access to the Internet

7 I NTERNET C HALLENGES Socio-Economic barriers Geographic limitations and urban-rural divide Conflicting societal gender roles Inequality in educational opportunities and societal class distinctions Disparity of wealth Bridging the Digital Divide and Providing Equal Access to the Internet

8 CSO C HALLENGES Small indigenous / national CSOs Play a critical role in assisting citizens with accessing and understanding information Encourage accountability and facilitate communication between citizens and government compete with Large CSOs in primarily urban areas Well-established and staffed with foreign staff and local elites Favored by international donors Overcoming inequality amongst CSOs

9 G OVERNMENT C HALLENGES Despite growth of Access to Information laws, best practices not always followed Legal and political barriers constrain efforts to seek information Exceptions in laws often prevent disclosure of information International efforts are largely aspirational Institutional Barriers to Accessibility and Transparency

10 O PPORTUNITIES TO E XPANDING THE R OLE OF THE I NTERNET IN P ROMOTING THE R ULE OF L AW ICT / Internet Opportunities: Increase use of existing effective projects Expand new mobile technology CSO Opportunities: Strengthen local indigenous organizations Government Challenges: Meaningfully expand access to information laws Limit use of exceptions and expand judicial enforcement

11 I NTERNET O PPORTUNITIES ICT / Internet Opportunities: Increase use of existing effective projects Telecenters targeted to provide service in poor dense urban areas and rural areas Expand new mobile technology Cost effective and widely adopted Widely accessible Suitable platform for Internet and e-governance initiatives Building on existing and new technology

12 CSO O PPORTUNITIES CSO Opportunities: Strengthen local indigenous organizations Expanded Internet opportunities will enable local CSOs to expand their reach Local access for marginalized citizens to receive services from CSOs Empowering small rural and indigenous organizations

13 G OVERNMENT O PPORTUNITIES Government Opportunities: Meaningfully expand access to information laws Limit the use of exceptions in existing laws Expand judicial enforcement to provide meaningful opportunities to access information Promoting greater transparency in all development

14 Brian D. Anderson Reference Librarian & Assistant Professor Taggart Law Library Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law Howard N. Fenton Director of the LL.M. Program in Democratic Governance and Rule of Law and Professor of Law Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law Please contact us for questions, discussion, and collaboration!


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