Transparency and Secrecy
Gaining access to government information is a perpetual concern of citizens. This is due in large part to the relationship between transparency and the issues of ethics, corruption, administrative malfeasance, and accountability. The last few years have proven that governmental transparency is a burgeoning academic subfield spurred on by contemporary political events and attention generated by the popular press. This reader addresses the topics of governmental transparency and secrecy and includes original discussion, classic readings, and primary source documents. Transparency and Secrecy is organized according to a theoretical model fully developed in the introduction. Governmental transparency is the degree to which access to government information is available through various channels. These avenues of access to information include governments proactively releasing information, freedom-of-information type requests, open meetings, and whistleblowing and leaks. The reader addresses each of these components as well as values that compete with openness such as privacy, security, and efficiency. The chapter discussion sections begin with the presentation of cases to make the material relevant to students. The cases together with the review of the literature help readers understand how each aspect of transparency is relevant to contemporary public policy debates. The discussion sections include a brief summary of the included articles and place these readings within the scholarship at large. Integrative study questions, suggested class projects, recommendations for case studies, movies, and supplemental reading all make Transparency and Secrecy ideal for classroom adoption.
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