Internet Enhancement of the Role of Civil Society in Promoting the Rule of Law in Transitional States

Howard N. Fenton, Brian D. Anderson


The Internet has the potential to play a key role in the way civil society organizations promote the rule of law in transitional states.  In many states several barriers stand in the way of utilizing the Internet for this purpose.  Challenges that arise include technological deficits and poor infrastructure, socio-economic barriers, government hostility to open information, and civil society organizations unable to reach populations.  With the development of new technologies, and increased openness of information, civil society organizations will be better positioned to embrace the use of the Internet to promote the rule of law by helping citizens receive information, and facilitating communication between citizens and government.


Rule of Law; Civil Society; Internet; Access to Information


Aarhus (1998), Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, done at Aarhus, Denmark, 25 June 1998.

Afullo, Thomas (2000), Global Information and Africa: the telecommunications infrastructure for cyberspace, Library Management, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 205-213.

de Argaez, Enrique (2013), Internet World Stats: Usage and Population Statistics, available at: (accessed 19 July 2013).

Bornman, Elirea (2012), The Mobile Phone in Africa: Has it Become a Highway to the Information Society or Not?, Remarks at the International Conference on Communication, Media, Technology and Design, available at: (accessed July 25, 2013).

Campbell, Scott (2013), Mobile media and communication: A new field, or just a new journal?, Mobile Media & Communication Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 8-13.

Chabrava, Eliso (2012), Freedom of Information: Legislation and Practice, Georgia, United Kingdom (Scotland), United States of America, Estonia – Comparative Analysis, USAID report, available at: uploadedFiles/files/FOI%20-%20Legislation.pdf (accessed 25 July 2013).

Council of Europe (2009), Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents, CETS No.: 205, 18 June, available at: Treaty/Commun/ QueVoulezVous.asp?NT=205&CM=1&CL=ENG (accessed 25 July 2013).

Darch, C. and Underwood, P. (2010), Freedom of Information and the Developing World: The citizen, the state and models of openness, Chandos Publishing, Oxford.

Economist (2013), The airlines with widespread Wi-Fi, Jul. 2, 2013, available at: blogs/gulliver/2013/07/flight-wi-fi (accessed 25 July 2013).

Economist (2004), Case History: A brief history of Wi-Fi, Jun. 10, 2004, available at: (accessed 25 July 2013).

Efrati, Amir (2013), Google to Fund, Develop Wireless Networks in Emerging Markets, Wall Street Journal Online, 24 May 2013.

Fountain, Jane (2001) The Virtual State: Transforming American Government?, National Civic Review, Vol. 90 No. 3, pp. 241-51.

Gomez, R. and Camacho, K. (2011), Users of ICT at Public Access Centers: Age, Education, Gender, and Income Differences in Users, International Journal of Communication Technologies and Human Development, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 1-20, (2011).

Hellström, Johan (2012), Mobile Governance: Applications, Challenges and Scaling-up in Poblet, M. (Ed.), “Mobile Technologies for Conflict Management: Online Dispute Resolution, Governance, Participation”, Springer, New York, NY, pp. 159-79.

Howard, P. and Hussein, M. (2012), Opening Closed Regimes: Civil Society, Information Infrastructure, and Political Islam in Anduiza, et al., eds., “Digital Media and Political Engagement Worldwide: A Comparative Study”, Cambridge, NY, pp. 200-220.

Jassem, Harvey (2010), Municipal WiFi: The Coda, Journal of Urban Technology, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 3-20.

Kairu F. and Maneno, M. (2012), Public Participation in Governance Gives Kenya a Chance against Graft and Poor Governance” Transparency International Kenya (September 3, 2012), available at: 09/03/public-participation-in-governance-gives-kenya-a-chance-against-graft-and-poor-governance/ (accessed 25 July 2013).

Krever, Tor (2011), The Legal Turn in Late Development Theory: The Rule of Law and the World Bank’s Development Model, Harvard International Law Journal, Vol. 52, pp. 287-319.

Landsbergen, David (2004) Screen level bureaucracy: Databases as public records, Government Information Quarterly, Vol. 21, pp. 24-50.

Mahnood, Kahlid (2005), Multipurpose community telecenters for rural development in Pakistan, 23(2) The Electronic Library Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 204-20.

Mann, L. and Graham, M. (2013), Do Information and Communication Technologies Really Eliminate Corruption and Improve Peer-to-Peer Participation? Behind the Scenes at the Kenyan and Rwandan Governments, ASA Annual Meeting Paper, available at SSRN: (accessed 11 Nov. 2013).

Mapulanga, Patrick (2012), Impact of the optic fibre network and increased bandwidth on e-resources access in Malawi, International Digital Library Perspectives, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 221-34.

Mendel, Toby (2008), Freedom of Information: A Comparative Legal Survey, 2d ed., UNESCO, Paris, France.

Mercer, Claire (2002), NGOs, civil society and democratization: a critical review of the literature, Progress in Development Studies, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 5-22.

Mtega, W. and Ronald, B. (2013), The State of Rural Information and Communication Services in Tanzania: A Meta-Analysis, International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Research, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 64-73.

Nugroho, Yanuar (2008), Adoption of the Internet in rural NGOs in Indonesia – A study on Internet appropriation for rural sector reform, Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper No. 21, available at SSRN: http://ssrn. com/abstract=1265513.

Oyediran, K. and Ogundiran, A. (2013), Public Participation in Urban Covernance: Case of Ibadan South-East Local Government Area of Oyo State, Nigeria, 4(2) Journal of Economics and Sustainable Development, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 100-12.

Paroški, M., et al. (2013), Implementation of e-Government at the local level in underdeveloped countries – The case study of AP Vojvodina, The Electronic Library, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 99-118.

Pearce, Katy (2013), Phoning it in: Theory in mobile media and communication in developing countries, Mobile Media & Communication, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 76-82.

Peixoto, Tiago (2013), The Uncertain relationship Between Open Data and Accountability: A Response to Yu and Robinson’s The New Ambiguity of “Open Government”, UCLA Law Review Discourse, Vol. 60, pp. 200-13.

Proenza F., et al. (2001), Telecenters for Socioeconomic and Rural Development in Latin America and the Carribean, available at: _e.pdf

Puerta Riera, M. and Osio, L. (2013), Communal Councils and Technological Gap, INVECOM Accepted Papers Series (Apr. 29, 2013), available at: SSRN: (accessed 11 Nov. 2013).

Reed, John (2013), Africa’s Big Brother Lives in Beijing, July 16, 2013, available at: lives_in_beijing_huawei_china_surveillance (accessed 11 Nov. 2013).

Reuters (2011), Rwanda completes $95 mln fibre optic network, Mar. 16, 2011, available at: (accessed 19 July 2013).

Robison K., and Crenshaw, E. (2010), Reevaluating the Global Digital Divide: Socio-Demographic and Conflict Barriers to the Internet Revolution, Sociological Inquiry, Vol. 80 No. 1, pp. 34-62.

Rokhman, Ali (2010), E-Government Adoption in Developing Countries; the Case of Indonesia, Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences, Vol. 2 No. 5, pp. 228-36.

Schuppan, Tino (2009), E-Government in developing countries: Experiences from sub-Saharan Africa, Government Information Quarterly, Vol. 26, pp. 118-27.

Stork, C., et al. (2012), Internet going mobile: Internet access and usage in eleven African countries, Proceedings of the 19th ITS Biennial Conference 2012, available at: content& view=article&id=66&Itemid=66 (accessed 25 July 2013).

Subramanian, Malathi (2012), Rural E-Governance through the “Panchayati Raj” Institutions in India: Prospects and Challenges in Manoharan, A. and Holzer, M. (Eds.), “Active Citizen Participation in E-Government – A Global Perspective”, IGI Global, Hershey, PA, pp. 314-33.

Touray, Almamy, et al. (2013), ICT Barriers and Critical Success Factors in Developing Countries, Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, Vol. 56 No. 7, pp.1-17.

Tshwane Principles (2013), Global Principles on National Security and the Right to Information, 12 June 2013, available at: publications/global-principles-national-security-and-freedom-information-tshwane-principles (accessed 25 July 2013).

Tufekci, Z. and Wilson, C. (2012), Social Media and the Decision to Participate in Political Protest: Observations from Tahrir Sqaure, Journal of Communication, Vol. 62, 363-79.

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2007), E-Participation and E-Government: Understanding the Present and Creating the Future, United Nations, New York, NY.

Warf, Barney (2013), Global Geographies of the Internet, Springer, Ney York, NY.

Zhao, Fang (2011), Impact of national culture on e-government development: a global study, Internet Research, Vol. 21 No. 3, pp. 362-80.

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.