Analysis of online presence Romanian MPs
The online presence of Romanian MPs is still not very strong. According to a survey published by the Romanian eDemocracy group, the websites of the 2 chambers only present information and ignore bi-directional communication with citizens. In the absence of any interactive services, e-mail is the most important means of communication. But only 27% of the 485 Romanian MPs have a publicly available e-mail address. On average, the minimum in the ‘old’ EU member states is 46%.
32 of the 42 counties represented in the Senate don’t have any senator with an e-mail address. Nevertheless, even if some MPs have an e-mail address, this doesn’t guarantee their dialogue with the citizen: only 9% of the inquiries sent via e-mail receive an answer.
In a previous e-mail response study, conducted between 1 October and 30 November 2003, the percentage of e-mail addresses was 25%, with a similar small chance for citizens to get a reply (See EDRI-gram 2.6).
The authors of the survey made several recommendations for the Chamber of Deputies and Senate’s websites.
Interaction: provide online communication tools (both for MPs and for site users);
Transparency: publish relevant and accessible information to allow the public to monitor MPs’ activity;
Accountability: publish the lists with MPs’ attendance of meetings and their votes (provided the vote was open);
Monitoring: create personal records of awards or disciplinary sanctions or other relevant information (i.e.: requests for parliamentary immunity cancellation);
Budget: give direct access to specific annual laws (especially in the chapter about the institutions).
According to the report, publishing such information online would lead not only to increased accountability of the MPs, but also to strengthening citizens’ trust in the institutions that represents them.
(English) summary of the report (16.06.2004)
Full report (in English and Romanian)
EDRI-gram 2.6 (24.03.2004)
(Contribution by Bogdan Manolea, Romanian legal expert)