TRANSPARENCY - The Right to Know

Free and open access to information is essential to making informed decisions in a democracy, and to ensuring that governments respect the civil liberties of their citizens. Digital technology is a tool for delivering transparency by making information accessible to everyone, everywhere, and at every level. As curated traditional (“legacy”) media are being displaced as the main source of our news, transparency is also assuming a new level of importance as a way for individuals to evaluate the bias of social media and websites. In this lesson, we will examine the assertion that transparency is expanding the role of citizens, not just as passive consumers of political information and occasional voters, but as active players, monitoring what governments and politicians are doing, and participating in problem solving. Students will also debate whether the highly controversial leaking of information to the public through digital means (Wikileaks, Snowden, Manning, et al) is helping or harming our democracy.