Transparency as a concept is closely related to advocacy and the Rights-Based Approach. For the people to exercise their right to participate in the development process, they should be able to trace down the decision making processes that are used in making public policies that affect their lives. Transparency is an essential means of holding public officials accountable.
“[Transparency is] the full, accurate, and timely disclosure of information.”
American Psychological Association (APA): transparency. (n.d.). Wall Street Words. Retrieved February 02, 2007, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/transparency
When laws, decisions, budgets, and policies are open for public discourse and for review by independent media, there is a better chance for making good public decisions that are not influenced by corruption. Needless to say, transparency does not exist as a purely one way of communication. It requires the participation of those who might disagree with decisions and want to change the course of these decisions. Democracy builds on the participation and actions of those who see things differently to develop for the better1).
Especially with the current state of the world’s security, transparency does not necessarily mean that ALL decision and the rationale behind them are made public all the time as some decisions are sensitive ones. It should, however, create a system to make the process and rationale of making decisions visible to other parties that the public trusts to see and judge the legitimacy of such decisions.