'New technology boosting citizen involvement in Knesset'

Rivlin says improved website and TV channel brings about new era of transparency, promotion of democracy.

REUVEN Rivlin 311 (photo credit: Courtesy of the Knesset)
REUVEN Rivlin 311
(photo credit: Courtesy of the Knesset)
The Knesset’s recently introduced technological services – especially its improved website and TV channel – have brought about a new era of transparency, promotion of democracy and improved links between the parliament and citizens, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said on Wednesday.
Rivlin spoke on the first day of a two-day conference for information-technology directors from 20 parliaments around the world. Among the countries represented in the Knesset auditorium were Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Namibia and Uganda, as well as the European Parliament. Since 2006, this group has met each time in a different world capital; this was their first time convening in Jerusalem.
Wednesday’s event was one of the largest conferences to be held on the subject so far – double the size of the previous one. Participants discussed shared dilemmas on how to use technological tools to promote connections between parliaments and residents.
The participants also went on tours and were exposed to projects carried out in this field by the Knesset.
Rivlin said he hoped the projects – including real-time follow-ups of the progress of bills through the lawmaking process – would improve the parliament’s image among the public.
This would strengthen Israeli democracy, he added.
One of the projects is the E-parliament, in which viewers can see the plenum and committees in action through video and text. Knesset director- general Dan Landau called the idea a “unique project” that didn’t exist even in Europe. The system, which follows legislative action, is now being developed in cooperation with the cabinet secretary and the Justice Ministry, he said.
Landau promised that the Knesset’s website at www.knesset.gov.il would soon be upgraded significantly and become a “leading and pioneering site with a variety of possibilities and data.”
He added that “it is our responsibility and obligation as civil servants to promote democratic values, and this cannot occur without modern technology that backs up the commitment to democracy. It must be accessible and transparent to everyone who is online and to everyone with a cellular phone. We must find the most creative ways to transmit information to the public and make it accessible in the most open and user-friendly way.”