Here is a simple idea – update open meeting laws to require that all public meetings must be digitally recorded and then be freely Internet accessible either live/on-demand or on-demand within 48 hours for at least five years. For legislative bodies, you’d need to update their rules of procedure. Whether it is video or audio-only doesn’t matter to me, as long as public meetings and all legally public distributed documents are fully available online as if you could afford/had the time to attend in person (or pay a lobbyist to be there for you).
So where are we now with the U.S. Congress? … we have a long way to go.
From the The Open House Project online group, here is a note from Perla Ni:
Subject: [openhouseproject] Transparency of committee hearings – transcript/audio/video
Date: Tue, 4 Sep 2007
From: Perla Ni
We just did a survey of what transcripts/audio/video is available from
Congressional Committees. We’ve heard from lots of advocacy groups
that the real stuff is in the committtees rather than on the floor
debates and that they need to know what’s happening in these
committees inorder to follow and participate in the issues.
What we’ve found is pretty sad. Here’s the state of available
video/audio/transcript for House and Senate committees:
You’ll notice how many committees for which there is no audio, no
video nor transcript available. Including the Ethics committee,
Also, for the ones that do post video, either it’s not posted until
months after or it’s posted, but not archived so if you miss it,
you’ve missed it.
I know that Carl Malamud, John and others have made progress on this
issue. (I know the short term procedure is to use the public order
form, get it signed by the committee chair and then pay $65 for each
60 minutes of video – all of which add up to a pretty substantial
obstacle to get information, I’d say. Or we could try calling up each
committee, asking for a particular day’s transcript/video/audio – this
is pretty labor intensive and may get the committee staffers irritated
with our many requests )
Does anyone have any idea on the timetable for the next step that was
proposed – for Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Brady approve having the
videos on FTP servers? From what I’ve heard from staffers, all the
rooms are already wired for video last year.
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