Government Transparency: An Examination of Meaning and Its Use in the Executive Branch [November 14, 2012] [open pdf - 450KB]
"The Obama Administration has undertaken its own transparency initiative, known as the Open Government Initiative, to make executive branch agencies more transparent, publicly accessible, and collaborative than they have historically been. Watchdog organizations have offered mixed reviews of the initiative's ability to promote and institute government transparency. Transparency may be defined as the disclosure of government information and its use by the public. Transparency, under this definition, requires a public that can access, understand, and use the information it receives from the federal government. This report first assesses the meaning of transparency and discusses its scholarly and practical definitions. It also provides an analysis of the concept of transparency, with a focus on federal government transparency in the executive branch. This report subsequently examines the statutes, initiatives, requirements, and other actions that make information more available to the public or protect it from public release. It also examines transparency and secrecy from the standpoint of how the public accesses government information, and whether the release of government data and information may make operation of the federal government more or, counter-intuitively, less transparent. Finally, this report analyzes whether existing transparency initiatives are effective in reaching their stated goals."
CRS Report for Congress, R42817
U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/