E-Government and Political Communication in the North American Context

E-Government and Political Communication in the North American Context

Jo-An Christiansen (Graduate of Athabasca University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-947-2.ch014
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Abstract

This article will introduce the concept of e-government, provide a model and background, and discuss emerging issues. Canadian examples will be drawn into the discussion as the country recognized as the leader in e-government (Accenture, 2004). E-government (electronic government) is a component of e-governance (electronic governance). The context of e-governance includes such components as e-government, e-democracy, e-representation, e-consultation, and e-participation. E-government refers to those aspects of government in which information and communications technologies are or can be utilized and in which basic functions are to increase efficiency in administrative processes, to guarantee easy access to information for all, to provide quality e-services, and to enhance democracy with the help of new technological mediation tools (Anttiroiko, 2005). It can be seen to describe all of the processes (administrative and democratic) that combine to constitute public sector operations, as broadly defined by Grönlund (2002). E-government is defined as “the use of ICTs [information and communication technologies], and particularly the Internet, as a tool to achieve better government” (OECD, 2003). E-government involves goals of enhanced operational efficiency and enhanced effectiveness. Effectiveness gains are attributed to “a better quality of services and increased and better quality citizen participation in democratic processes” (Grönlund, 2002). E-government relates to how the government delivers information, services, and programs. It relates to who provides services and how the services are delivered (Lenihan, 2002). At the core of e-government is the provision of information. E-government tasks include who and how, while e-democracy deliberates on what is to be delivered. Determining what services are to be delivered is a function of policy deliberation. The ability to research policy issues is an important element of a democracy. Stakeholders can share in the responsibility for developing the policy agenda, policy outcomes, and policy effectiveness. Public participation in this process will be discussed under the topics of e-democracy, e-representation, e-consultation, and e-participation.

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