Using ICTs to create a culture of transparency: E-government and social media as openness and anti-corruption tools for societies
Bertot, Jaeger and Grimes assess the potential for ICTs to be a change agent for openness and transparency. While they show the difficulties in the acceptance of these tools in some societies, the authors remain optimistic about their potential impact and formulate recommendations on how to use ICTs to support transparency in the fight against corruption
In this article Bertot, Jaeger and Grimes are analysing the potential for e-government and social media to contribute to a culture of transparency. They argue that in the context of different types of anti-corruption reforms (administrative reform, law enforcement reform and social empowerment) the provision of information to the public plays a crucial role. They present several cases in which governments have used e-government tools to disseminate information to the public. In doing so they particularly focus on the efforts of the Seoul Metropolitan Government which used an e-government system to curb corruption. The authors also stress the potential of social media to empower civil society and foster collaboration and participation.
Throughout the article, the three authors try to evaluate if ICT tools can truly make a difference to the political culture of particular societies. While they are optimistic about the possibilities that these technologies offer, they also stress the factors that hold back the development of a culture of transparency through the use of ICT. Thereby the authors underline that the success of ICT solutions can very much depend on the cultural and societal context. They highlight the problem of censorship in some countries, particularly in China. Nevertheless they conclude that technology is ready to create more transparency, but that access and technological literacy remain problems. On the basis of these conclusions they present recommendations to push for ICTs becoming an agent of transparency.
In recent years, many governments have worked to increase openness and transparency in their actions. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are seen by many as a cost-effective and convenient means to promote openness and transparency and to reduce corruption. E-government, in particular, has been used in many prominent, comprehensive transparency efforts in a number of nations. While some of these individual efforts have received considerable attention, the issue of whether these ICT-enabled efforts have the potential to create a substantive social change in attitudes toward transparency has not been widely considered. This paper explores the potential impacts of information and ICTs – especially e-government and social media – on cultural attitudes about transparency.
J. Bertot, P. Jaeger & J. Grimes, "Using ICTs to create a culture of transparency: E-government and social media as openness and anti-corruption tools for societies", Government Information Quarterly, 27, pp. 264-271 (2010).