The purpose of this research is to provide some theoretical elements to clear this confusion. In order to achieve such goal, related papers of academic journals over the past six years have been reviewed and classified on three main paths of knowledge. From this point a concept of open government is proposed and discussed.
The aim of this paper is to contribute with a theoretical framework that supports research on open government, transparency and accountability. Como citar.
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Open government and transparency: building a conceptual framework. Convergencia Revista de Ciencias Sociales , [S. ISSN Fecha de acceso: 27 sep. London, United Kingdom: Taylor y Francis.
Beer, L. Birkinshaw, P. Butler, Tom et al. Chuansheng, R. Anttiroiko y M. Drachsler, d. Elbadawi, I. Harrison, T. Dissident and human rights organizations openly opposed to the regime have little hope of gaining Internet access: most have their telephone calls regularly monitored, and several have had computers confiscated by authorities.
CSOs that have positive relationships with the regime have faced few obstacles to access, while those with a neutral political outlook generally have had more difficulty in obtaining an Internet connection [ 71 ]. The implication of Internet use in the domestic economy poses a third potential challenge to the regime. While Cuba has been forced to implement some market reforms during the economic difficulties of the s, it has generally contained them to the dollar—denominated, export—oriented sector of the economy.
The regime has been quite reluctant to take steps that could generate class divisions between Cubans, and it looks disapprovingly upon the nouveau riche who have emerged from gains in tourism or the informal economy. Although the obstacles may be significant, the Internet could present another lucrative opportunity for enterprising Cubans to make money, potentially exacerbating social tensions. Indeed, Cubans have been allowed to pursue self—employment for several years, and a few have begun doing freelance Web design for international clients.
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These clients benefit from cheap labor costs, yet still pay more than Cubans typically earn through most other pursuits [ 72 ]. But the government still controls Internet access for this handful of budding entrepreneurs, and as long as access does not become a freely available commodity, it would be impossible for such activity to grow faster than the government desires. The largest share of Cuba—related political information on the Internet emanates not from domestic sources, but from foreign—based organizations trying to influence Cuban politics and U.
Cuban exile groups call for political change on their Web sites, human rights organizations post critical reports online, and sites like Cubanet publish stories from independent Cuban journalists transcribed from international telephone calls. Cuban authorities consider all of this activity to be an unwelcome and potentially subversive intrusion in its internal affairs, but the regime has no control over Internet use outside of the country. In addition to its strategy of access restriction, however, the state has also promoted Internet development in areas it considers priorities.
Part of this strategy involves Internet propaganda.
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Various government—affliated portals offer official perspectives on current events, with frequent criticism of the United States. The recently established site cubavsbloqueo. In the future, the regime may also incorporate the Intranet into its long—standing strategy of using the mass media for top—down political mobilization.
Cuba has also taken an active interest in promoting Internet development in export—oriented industries that can generate hard currency. Since the establishment of Cubaweb in , state tourism corporations have made significant gains in Internet advertising to an international audience. Most are now online, offering extensive information on hotels, excursions, rental cars, and other services, including some online reservations [ 74 ].
In addition, several Cuban Web sites offer information for potential investors [ 75 ]. Recently, a handful of foreign entrepreneurs have entered into joint ventures with the Cuban government to offer e—commerce services for international consumers. Several have set up Internet travel agencies; others have introduced online stores that sell Cuban compact discs and other merchandise. There are even Internet services oriented toward Cuban exiles, who can send money online to their relatives in Cuba or purchase consumer goods to be delivered [ 76 ].
The state is heavily involved in all of these initiatives and undoubtedly benefits from the economic stimulation they provide. As for the increased presence of foreign investors, most have found it wise to ignore politics in their dealings with the Cuban government. Finally, the Cuban government has endeavored to leverage the capabilities of the Internet to improve the social conditions of the Cuban people. Its principal effort in this area involves Infomed, a medical information network operated by the Ministry of Public Health.
Since its inception in the early s, Infomed has connected medical centers around the country to such services as electronic journals and searchable databases. Undoubtedly, the system provides a social benefit to the Cuban people, but it also serves to extend the reach of the state and improve its legitimacy by facilitating the provision of public services. The cases of China and Cuba illustrate how authoritarian regimes can counter the many challenges posed by Internet development. Nonetheless, the two regimes also have much in common, principally in the proactive strategies that they have employed for guiding Internet development to serve state interests.
In general, these choices of strategy reflect a more fundamental difference between the two regimes — their respective levels of economic liberalization. While both have retained a closed, authoritarian political system, China has enthusiastically embraced market reforms throughout its economy.
Censorship in China
To capitalize on the economic potential of a booming information sector and technologically savvy workforce, China needs to promote widespread Internet access while maintaining control through other means. Cuba, on the other hand, has introduced economic reform only where absolutely necessary, and it has generally confined market mechanisms to the dollar—denominated, export sector of the economy.
As a regime less committed to the development of a market—oriented information economy, it has been willing to forgo the potential economic benefits of widespread Internet access and adopt a more defensive measure of control. Despite differences in their reactive strategies for controlling the Internet, both China and Cuba have effectively limited use of the medium to challenge the government. In response to the potential threats posed by public use of the Internet, Cuba has restricted individual access to the medium, thus dampening the possibility that Internet use will have a significant impact on mass public opinion.
China, while allowing and even encouraging widespread access to the Internet, has shaped the boundaries of acceptable discourse through a combination of harsh regulations, censorship, monitoring, select arrests, and other scare tactics. The two regimes also try to limit the potential challenges of Internet use by CSOs. Cuba does this largely by denying access to those deemed politically dangerous, this preventing potentially subversive CSOs from using the Internet. It aslo relies on the widespread support of the regime among those select groups to whom it grants access.
For its part, China quickly cracks down on unsanctioned domestic groups that begin to use the Internet for logistical purposes. The Chinese government has also employed top—down directives, harsh regulations, and punitive measures to send a lesson to others that might use the Internet for political organization or the dissemination of forbidden measures. Although China and Cuba both seek — in differing degrees — to modernize their economies through the use of information technology, this strategy brings with it inherent challenges. Internet—driven economic development may encourage entrepreneurship in a developing economy, leading to the emergence of a new business elite that places political demands on the regime.
Yet China has met this challenge by blanketing the new business class with regulations and scaring them into political compliance, while allowing them a certain measure of economic freedom. In Cuba, the few Internet entrepreneurs who have emerged still depend completely on the government for Internet access, and they are hampered by widespread restrictions on employment outside the state sector.
Researching the History of the People’s Republic of China
In both countries, those involved in the Internet industry are acutely aware that their continued success depends largely on remaining in the good graces of the government. It is widely believed that international actors may use Internet—enabled forms of organization and communication to challenge authoritarian states. In the cases of both China and Cuba, a number of externally based dissidents, human rights organizations, and others have used the Internet to press for political change and an end to authoritarian rule.
Neither regime has any real control over Internet use outside of its borders, so each has been forced to accept this activity, although China has occasionally tried to disable foreign Web sites with hacker attacks. But Internet use for international pressure on authoritarian regimes is often effective only in a roundabout way, through its impact on the policy of other governments. In some cases, it may provoke a backlash from the regime, encouraging authorities to maintain tighter control over the Internet than would otherwise be the case.
Although Cuba and China have pursued different reactive strategies for controlling the Internet, they have a taken a more similar approach in their proactive attempts to guide and channel the development of the medium.
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Both states have made extensive use of the Internet for propagandistic purposes, setting up and promoting their own Web sites to disseminate the official government line. In the economic sphere, Cuba has promoted Internet development in areas that can generate hard currency and shore up the regime economically.
China has embraced the economic potential of the Internet more comprehensively, seekingto build a booming information economy in the hopes that Internet—driven economic growth will both advance development and ensure political legitimacy for the regime. Both regimes, through promoting Internet use within the government, endeavor to strengthen state legitimacy and power through improving bureaucratic efficiency and the provision of social services. Taken together, the cases of China and Cuba should illustrate that the diffusion of the Internet does not necessarily spell the demise of authoritarian rule.
Although conventional wisdom often suggests that the Internet is an inherently democratizing technology, many authoritarian regimes have translated a long and successful history of control over previous ICTs into effective control of the Internet. Through reactive strategies that range from the restriction of access to the promotion of self—censorship, authoritarian regimes can successfully restrain the potential challenges posed by varous types of Internet use. In addition, these governments can proactively guide the development of the Internet so that the medium extends and consolidates state power.
While much is different about the specific strategies employed in the cases of China and Cuba, these differences suggest that their individual success in controlling the medium is no fluke. In the Middle East, several governments have begun to promote widespread Internet access but remain even more committed than the Chinese to censoring content available on the World Wide Web. In Asia, the strictest regimes have mimicked Cuba in selectively granting access to the medium. Almost all of these regimes are attempting to benefit from proactive approaches towards the Internet, harnessing technology for economic development, e—government, and other purposes.
Singapore and the United Arab Emirates stand out in their respective regions as success stories of proactive Internet strategy, and many of their neighbors are looking to them as examples to emulate.