Openness as a new communication strategy for political parties. A comparison between Spanish and Portuguese websites
Keywords:political parties, political communication, transparency, open government, accountability
AbstractSpanish and Portuguese political parties are highly distrusted by citizens and need significant democratic regeneration. The promotion of transparency and citizen participation by political organizations might be a useful communication strategy. However, previous academic studies have not paid much attention to political parties in assessing openness, transparency, and accountability. Rather, they have focused on administrations. This article not only explores transparency but also the rest of the open government principles, these being participation and collaboration, as performed by political organizations, and as new communication strategies. The paper will argue that political parties should implement these ideas because of their public role but also to demonstrate honesty and integrity to the electorate. The implementation of transparency, accountability, deliberation, decision-making and collaboration by Spanish and Portuguese political parties has been analysed through a detailed study of the information available on their websites. The results of this analysis show that political parties are still far from being open and should focus especially on developing principles that involve citizen interaction. Although transparency was the most developed aspect, further promotion of participation and collaboration would imply a paradigm shift in how parties communicate with the electorate.
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