This post was originally submitted as part of HIVOS INTRODUCTION TO INTERNET GOVERNANCE 1410 (B) Mid-Assignment
If you live in one of the two Arab government countries that allow having access to its data, Jordan and Tunisia, according to Open Government Partnership, you might not be as lucky as Finland citizen who has a broad band as “Legal Right” or a Brazilian who judge his government performance figures via the project Dados Abertos (Open Data). But definitely you are more lucky than who lives in the “dark side” of internet rights in MENA region, where majority is still struggling to capture the right of freedom of expression online whereas still the debates whether the Internet is good or bad for democracy roaming in the world.
So who define the citizen right of participating in government accountability?
“Transparency reporting by international ICT companies […], is quickly becoming common.” Kevin Bankston, Open Technology Institute
Recently, Multi-stakeholders of NetMundial2014 in Brazil agreed to be transparent as one of the internet governance process principles which state “decisions made must be easy to understand, processes must be clearly documented and follow agreed procedure”. Arab region was not an exception when Forum for Internet Governance 2013 demands the transparency as right of the internet user.
This right which is widely dishonored in MENA countries, though that Government Transparency considers as one of key Ingredients for a Successful Internet Policy Dialogue in the Arab Region, and Code of good practice on information.
Nevertheless there are few encouraging projects of Technology on Transparency Network, from Lebanon, Kuwait, and Tunisia that “promoting government transparency, accountability, and public participation in political processes”; yet, participation and transparency in Internet governance achievement is undetermined in many countries where the Arab citizen has no clear participation or engagement to build his society.
The growing prevalence of transparency reports promotes questions about its role in the future of Internet governance and raise the big question: how could both ICT companies and Arab governments develop and reinforce standards of online rights effectively to insure accountability?