The rapid development of new digital communication technologies and equally rapid acceptance of the internet by citizens in their social and professional lives creates huge opportunities and significant risks for democratic governments.
At one level, the web should enable governments to deliver better and more effective services to its citizens in a more equitable way.
However, there is a risk that those without access to online services will be left behind, creating a ‘digital poverty gap’.
Citizens are demanding greater transparency in government policy making, and access to the information on which decisions are based.
- What does the internet add to existing vehicles for transparency?
- How much can it improve policymaking and contribute to reform?
- What do Governments, media, civil society and citizens need to take into account if e-government and e-transparency is to make a positive contribution to democracy?
- What are the risks?
Britain and Greece have been particularly innovative in their commitment to e-Government. Using the experience of these two countries as a platform for global discussions, this conference brought together ministers for e-Government and Local Government; Chief Information Officers; Digital engagement and political communications experts; journalists and bloggers; civil society groups and business leaders to explore the prospects for effective e-Government as a positive tool of democracy and accountability.