Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

MPs gaining familiarity with web-based media

06.12.2006
In its first decade, EPRI (the European Parliament Research Initiative) has transformed European Parliamentarians’ attitudes about technology: Where once they saw the internet as a threat, they now see it as a useful tool. The project team is now aiming to increase awareness among the national assemblies of EU’s member states.

Politics is one of those areas where the transformation of ‘the public’ from a single audience (in the form of television viewers and newspaper readers) to a fragmented group of internet surfers has radically affected the nature of communication. Like advertisers, politicians can no longer rely on mass media like TV to get their message across; they need to find new ways of reaching constituents.

Unfortunately, politicians are not, traditionally, the most techno-savvy of people – which is where EPRI (the European Parliament Research Initiative) comes in. EPRI was launched in 1995 to tackle widespread ignorance about internet communications among parliamentarians, and has been run for the EU ever since by the company TSA Teleport Sachsen-Anhalt.

Project manager Marco Langhof recalls that EPRI came along at just the right time. “Parliamentarians often had negative ideas about the internet,” he says. “They tended to associate it with pornography and anarchy.” As a corrective to these uninformed views, EPRI set out to convince the politicians that the net “is not a threat, but a tool.”

“We started by connecting our parliamentarians to the internet,” says Langhof. “They found this very useful, as most were commuting between their homes and Brussels or Strasbourg. And we also helped them to create their own websites.”

Having become a regular annual event, the next EPRI conference is to be held in Lisbon in Spring 2007. It will advance the agenda of the three-year EPRI-Knowledge programme, which is designed to raise awareness among Europe’s individual assemblies. Topics on the table will include how national parliaments can use web services to get closer to constituents.

EPRI-Knowledge (begun in 2005 and due to run until summer 2007) aims to disseminate EPRI’s findings and help to develop ICT vision and leadership among Europe’s national parliaments – as well as monitoring the existing situation in all 39 parliamentary assemblies of the EU and NAC. In this respect, Langhof notes that the project has encountered a very uneven distribution of ICT adoption among the different member states.

“It is anything but a uniform picture,” Langhof says. “It is surprising how some of the most advanced countries in terms of the adoption of ICTs by parliaments are those that are newest to democracy."

"Estonia for example," he continues, "is very advanced technologically, since it only recently drew up its democratic constitution, and so could basically allow for a paperless democracy. For the older democracies in Europe, it is much harder to accommodate new technology, since the original statutes and practices derive from pre-ICT days.”

Uneven distribution is not the only issue. “We have found that some parliamentarians worried about the growing gap – which statistics show – between citizens and the democratic process. Of course, this issue is related to e-inclusion and is a social question, not just a technological one, but technology can help to address the divide between MPs and constituents, if it is used properly.”

In addition to the conferences, frequent workshops allow parliamentarians to learn from each other’s findings, “so that we can see what can be generalised and recommended,” as Langhof says. Another important area for EPRI is research: “Our study, Learning to Live with the internet, gives you a good picture of what roles can be taken, and how the internet can be used to support the work of MPs,” says Langhof.

He likens the work of EPRI to old-fashioned television training for politicians, but emphasises, “There’s a lot of guesswork involved. We can’t be sure how effective blogs are yet.”

Nevertheless, he is optimistic about the future. “Our studies show that parliamentarians are trying to use technology – but a new balance is needed in their roles to enable them to do so efficiently,” he says. “Weblogs, for example, are time-consuming commitments. Also, we see that such channels are directed towards the younger generation, so they will only become more important.”

Technology moves so fast that progress can seem slow, but Langhof is in a good position to assess the improvements: “If I look back over the last ten years, there has been a tremendous change in the take-up of ICTS by MPs,” he says. “All parliamentarians have their own websites now, which just goes to show what can be achieved.”

Source: Based on information from EPRI.

Jernett Karensen | alfa
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht On patrol in social networks
25.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Tile Based DASH Streaming for Virtual Reality with HEVC from Fraunhofer HHI
03.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik Heinrich-Hertz-Institut

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Switched-on DNA

20.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>