A comparison of political, cultural, and economic indicators of access to information in Arab and non-Arab states
Type of work: Article (academic)
Categories:e-Government | Policy & Regulation
Tags:transparency, access to information
As more and more countries adopt access-to-information (ATI) laws to advance economic development and democratic self-governance, efforts are under way to foster ATI movements in the Arab world. While one nation in that region already has adopted the legislation, the likelihood of adoption in other Arab states is unknown. This comparative study analyzed 12 quantitative indicators measuring political, cultural, and economic factors associated with access to information. Results indicate that Arab countries, as a whole, contrast sharply in nearly all areas with non-Arab countries that have ATI laws and are consistent with non-Arab countries that do not have ATI laws. However, the study also found that the most recent ATI law adopters had weaker political, cultural, and economic enabling environments for government information access, which may portend a global phenomenon that will continue and could explain the interest in adopting the legislation in the Arab world. Findings also suggest that while a handful of Arab countries might have the wealth to effectively implement ATI laws, political and cultural conditions may be substantial obstacles for greater government transparency. Other results regarding the use of quantitative indicators of ATI adoption, particularly structural pluralism, are discussed.