In this blog, I often discuss the need for governments, at all levels, to operate more transparently when it comes to formulating public policy or implementing public projects. I am happy to learn that Johnson Toribiong, President of the Pacific island nation of Palau, launched a blog to promote government transparency. Bernadette Carreon wrote an article for the Marianas Variety, a newspaper based in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, saying "the Belau Blog was established to promote direct access to government information and address misinformation." (Photo of President Toribiong courtesy of the ROP)
In an interview given by President Toribiong, according to Ms. Carreon's article, "the blog contains information regarding the executive branch including laws that needed to [be] explained." The Belau Blog will allow Palauans living outside their native country "to access information about the executive branch" and will offer all readers the opportunity to comment on President Toribiong's activities. Posted on July 29, 2009, President Toribiong's first entry said, "Welcome to the Official Blog of the Republic of Palau. As much as we can, we will publish as much news, executive, orders and such on this Blog. Please feel free to comment on this blog but please keep it polite. Thank you very much and hope you visit the blog often."
I commend President Toribiong's efforts in using technology to promote transparency and, I hope, government accountability. I recommend all nation leaders to follow the President of Palau's lead in using the Internet to engage citizens at home and residing abroad. Using blogs and social media services will allow citizens to become better informed on various issues and engage constituents to help formulate solutions to their nation's most pressing problems.