Towards a Qualitative Approach to Evaluating Access to Information Legislation
CPRafrica 2012/CPRsouth7 Conference, Port Louis, Mauritius, September 5-7, 2012
18 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2012
Date Written: September 7, 2012
Using a case study of push-model Freedom of Information (FOI) regimes in Australia, which require the administrative release of government information unless contrary to the public interest, this paper develops a typology of essential literacy relating to access to information in the digital environment. To achieve this aim, the research: Conducted an online audit of Government websites to gauge website accessibility in qualitative terms. Reviewed relevant national and international literature, from a range of relevant disciplines and formats, including annual reports and government submissions. Analyzed the type of literacies essential to access to government information.
Data generated from the online audit were analyzed thematically and used to characterize the types of knowledge and skills (literacies) essential to the effective use of RTI/FoI legislation in a digital environment . The resulting typology of RTI literacies is directed at helping to understand how ICTs can be used more effectively to enhance government transparency and accountability. Thus when evaluating performance of Freedom of Information regimes, the focus shifts from quantitative metrics measuring administrative efficacy to a more qualitative approach aimed at identifying the accessibility and useability of government information.
Keywords: access, information, transparency, inclusion
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