ICTs for Information Capabilities of Parliamentary Stakeholders

ICTs for Information Capabilities of Parliamentary Stakeholders

Malik Aleem Ahmed (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-329-4.ch003
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Parliaments are central institutions in democratic government systems. Parliaments in some developing countries are closed institutions. Efforts for improving the “representation function” of the closed parliaments can also result in information freedom for the citizens, members of parliaments, and other stakeholder groups. I discuss, using the concepts of Capability Approach, how different ICT interventions can assist in improving the representation function of the parliaments by expanding the information capabilities (i.e., freedom of realizing functionings of acquiring, using, and disseminating information) of parliaments, citizens, and members of parliaments. The ICT interventions discussed in this chapter include developing or enhancing parliamentary website, webcasting system, telecasting system, media center for members, resource centers for members, reporting center for external reporters, and printing press.
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Capability Approach And Information Capabilities

The underlying theory behind the concept of information capabilities is the Capability Approach (CA). Capability Approach has been developed by (Sen, 1980; 1985; 1999; 2002) and later on enriched by many researchers in different fields. Some of the prominent names in advancing the CA include Nussbaum (2000), Alkire (2002) and Robeyns (2003; 2006). CA stresses that the focus of development should be on human development, agency, well-being and on providing freedoms to the people (Sen, 1999) instead of only on economic development or utility maximization. Economic development is considered as one of the means to reach the ideal of human development (Sen, 2002). CA focuses on what people are able to do and to be (Nussbaum, 2000) in a given society.

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