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Critical - Flow Model

 

Underlying Principle

The model is based on disseminating/ channeling information of critical value (which by its very nature would not be disclosed by those involved in bad governance) to the targeted audience (such as the media, opposition parties) or into the wider public domain through the use of ICT and convergent media. 

This model requires a foresight to:

  • understand the "use value" of a particular information set,

  • how to obtain such information,  

  • how it could be used strategically, and finally

  • targeting it to users to whom the availability of such information would make a  difference.

The strength of this model is that ICT makes the concept of 'distance' and 'time' redundant when information is hosted on a a digital network, and this could be used advantageously-- by instantly transferring the critical information to its strategic user group located anywhere or by making it freely available in the wider public domain. 

Applications

 

This model could be applied in the following possible ways:

  • Making available Corruption related data about a particular Ministry / Division/ Officials online to its electoral constituency or to the concerned regulatory body. 

  • Making available Research studies, Enquiry reports, Impact studies commissioned by the Government or Independent commissions to the affected parties. 

  • Making Human Rights Violations cases violations freely available to Judiciary, NGOs and concerned citizens.

  • Making available information that is usually suppressed, for instance, Environmental Information on radioactivity spills, effluents discharge, information on green ratings of the company to concerned community.

 

Organisations / Projects based on such models

  • China: Human Rights in China

    http://iso.hrichina.org/iso/ 

    Human Rights in China (HRIC) is an international non-governmental organization founded by Chinese scientists and scholars in March 1989.  It strives to make information on human rights issues accessible to the Chinese people through short-wave Chinese radio broadcasts, overseas Chinese publications, and an evolving virtual media hub on human rights.

See Human Rights New section:

http://iso.hrichina.org/iso/news.adp

  • El Salvador: Probidad 

    http://www.probidad.org/

    Probidad promotes democratization efforts vis--vis diverse and integrated anti-corruption initiatives, most which rely on the use of ICT and an extensive network of contacts. The  activities are designed to monitor corruption and control mechanisms; mobilize awareness about the complexities and costs of corruption and increased interest and participation in curbing it; enhance the anti-corruption capacity of other civil society organizations, media, government, business, and researchers in our region; and contribute to more informed local and context-specific measures that undermine corruption and promote good governance. 

Land is a major resource and a reason for conflict in areas where pressure on land is high. In developing countries, land related information such as ownership maps etc. is available only in the hands of few which increases the chance of its misuse. Land registration offices throughout Andhra Pradesh now operate computerized counters to help citizens to complete registration requirements within an hour instead of several days, as was necessary under the earlier system. The lack of transparency in property valuation under the old system resulted in a flourishing business of brokers and middlemen leading to corruption. 

          http://www1.worldbank.org/publicsector/egov/cardcs.htm

 

Discussions

This model is more directed and evoled in comparison to the Broadcasting / Wider - Dissemination Model.

Different organizations can use it differently depending on the aspect of governance they situation they want to address. By focusing on the critical aspect of information and locating its likeable users, the model corrects information failure, raising awareness about the bad governance practices, and acts as a hindrance to bad governance practices.

At the same time, the model exerts indirect pressure on the concerned governance institution / policy-making body to move away from optimal ignorance attitude to reform, and take into cognizance the interest and opinion of the masses in decision- making processes.

The model may not work in cases where the governance mechanism does not allow public debates and opinions, and censures all information of critical nature. This model unlike the Broadcasting/ Wider-Dissemination model would be more effective in situations of Optimal Ignorance of the Government. Optimal ignorance occurs when injudicious decisions are taken not in the absence of availability of enough information but because of disregard of information by the decision-makers.

 

 

Source : Vikas Nath, Networking Networks for Empowerment and Governance

Presented at the Global Development Network 2000, World Bank, Japan.

 

Vikas Nath, Conceiver, Digital Governance and KnowNet Initiative

Inlaks Scholar, London School of Economics, UK

 


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