The European Parliament and openness

, by Miguel Hesse Meana

The European Parliament and openness
MEP Miguel Urbán Crespo at the European Parliament in May. Given that online videos of them hardly work, does an ordinary citizen have to go all the way to Brussels or Strasbourg to follow EP sessions? © European Union 2017 - European Parliament

Openness in the age of information implies not just that things be accessible, but that they be easily accessible. This is, regrettably, not my experience with the website of the European Parliament (EP). My objective was to find the full recordings of the EP, and start a trial project to try and do some political journalism mainly focused on it.

Getting to it was, thanks to Google, easy. But that’s more or less where it stopped. Once on the homepage, I immediately saw “Videos and live streamings”, on the site that followed I clicked on “Plenary on demand”. Here I found some filtering interfaces and a video player that wasn’t working, and on the right an interface that allows the download of the current selected subject.

The section where the video was supposed to be read: “Sorry A specific plug-in is required to watch the video” and a link which said: ”More information about the plug-in”. Well, after clicking the link, and getting to an FAQ section, reading through it and following a link to read how to activate flash, I was none the wiser.

This continued, but I’ll not bore you with any more details. What I want to lay bare, is that this has parallels with the EU itself, or at least how it is seen: cumbersome and difficult to get to know and use.

I’d like to see this fixed because it hurts the EP not to be easily available to its citizens.

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