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Declaration on Parliamentary Openness [Draft Commentary]

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Title IV - Making Parliamentary Information Easily Accessible

Sec. 27. Ensuring Accessibility of Parliament through Multiple Channels

Parliament shall provide access to information about its work through multiple channels; including first-person observation through physical access to proceedings, print media, radio and television broadcast, and through the use of the Internet and mobile device technology.

Parliaments have an obligation to communicate and engage the diversity of their constituents irrespective of their proximity to parliament, access to technology, or other social or cultural barriers. In rural areas with limited Internet penetration or access to print media, parliamentary information may best be transmitted by radio or television. In the cities with deeper internet penetration, the parliamentary website or social media may serve as the best method for disseminating parliamentary information to citizens and also provides options for citizens to provide input to the parliament on the same platform.

Parliaments must seek to provide information in ways that meet citizens’ information needs; because it is difficult if not impossible for parliament to anticipate all of these needs, parliaments should disseminate information through a variety of channels and in a variety of formats. As discussed in relation to provision 12 above, an individual seeking to know the voting record of her member over the past year would find it difficult to pull this information if only provided with audiovisual records of plenary sessions.