Electronic Interaction with the Forum

Document: Openness in Public Life

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Electronic Interaction with the Forum

But simply publishing information relating to the deliberations of the Forum is, at best, only the first step. The Forum's terms of reference go on to state:

The purpose of the Forum will be to provide, as far as possible, an opportunity to both major traditions as well as to others, to assist in identifying and clarifying issues which could most contribute to creating a new era of trust and co-operation on the island.

I suggest that the Forum could potentially benefit considerably from the provision of an Internet based discussion group (or perhaps several separate groups) to address these issues. The advantages of such discussion groups are that they allow interested people, from any location in the world, to easily contribute, and respond to, the problems, and proposed solutions. They would allow a direct mechanism for private individuals to communicate with the members of the Forum proper; and for the members of the Forum to respond. It allows a much freer, open and personal style of communication than is feasible with formal hearings; more importantly, it potentially permits participation by people who would otherwise be necessarily excluded, whether by reason of geographic location, or otherwise.

To my knowledge, this would be the first occasion on which a major international peace process was opened up to direct participation by interested individuals on a world-wide basis. It seems to me a unique opportunity to turn technology to specifically peaceful purposes.

Tue Feb 28 12:29:27 GMT 1995