Ideas for a quantum leap towards more transparency in public life

A lot of information cascades down on us ahead of each election – pictures, posters, TV debates, etc. But what do politicians do the rest of the time? I could certainly try to collect information by reading the press and watching TV reports every day – probably all day long – yet I’m not that interested in politics (the news and a few websites usually cover my needs). The idea I’m presenting here would create more transparency and help people with an interest in politics to find the information they are looking for more easily.

– All the public debates in the House of Representatives should be filmed (ogg format) and be easily available in digital form to interested citizens (e.g. on an extra sub-website, archives, one for each debate) – free of charge.

– Each speech held (speaker’s reference at the bottom of each video film) should also be freely available in PDF format.

– The same applies to the list of all the representatives attending the debates.

– Another list should give the speech duration for all speakers (name/party: …. speech: 1:34 p.m. – 2:12 p.m.)

– All the documents used or referred to (government reports, etc.) should also be posted on these websites (no links to external contents because they could be deleted or altered).

– It should be possible to download all the information pertaining to a meeting/session (all the contents, video film and texts) in one package (zip file).

– I believe that the nation is entitled to having access to this information and that it should be broadly disseminated – this is why I suggest putting it under a Creative Commons License (CC License).

All this is certainly feasible and would bring far more transparency to public life. For instance, I can quickly check on-line a politician I don’t know. With such a system, it would be easier to track the course taken by parties/politicians and to form one’s own views, far away from the mainstream media. In Europe, this information system would also be a major improvement regarding the European Parliament, as very little of the debates filters through to the general public.

Ideas for a quantum leap towards more transparency in public life – PDF