RTI platforms as a force for positive change

Silvana Fumega

25 Apr 2017, 3 p.m.
Main Plenary (Sala Verde)

Over the past two decades, advances in information and communication technology have transformed the way people access and interact with the information that governments produce and hold.

The development of online platforms, which enable users to submit requests for information under right to information legislation (RTI), is one of many examples of these changes (Fumega 2015).

The development and implementation of RTI online platforms by civil society provides the scenario to understand the potential effects of these platforms on Right to Information regimes.

RTI laws create a new type of relationship between government and civil society, which is often contentious. These laws are the foundations for RTI regimes or arenas (Scrollini 2015), where several actors interplay to get and use public information.

RTI regimes are a system of institutions, actors and practices dealing with the exchange of official information between the state and society. RTI online platforms operate as a new variable in this environment.

This paper, commissioned by U4, presents an analytic framework to explore how RTI online portals impact RTI regimes, while reviewing the experience of five civil society portals in developing and developed countries with different RTI regimes.

Silvana Fumega and Fabrizio Scrollini argue that these civil society-led portals have affected these RTI regimes in a positive way. In short, if they had never been developed, some positive changes noted in these RTI regimes would not have materialised.