International Statistical Review

The Citizens' Right to Information and the Duties of a Democratic State in Modern IT Environment

Jozef Olenski

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Modern information technologies, particularly the technology of very large data bases, Internet and modern mass media, have changed the processes of production, storage and dissemination of information. These technologies have a direct impact on the practical realization of citizens' rights to information. In democratic societies, in modern IT environment, information is produced and disseminated by many social and economic entities. Many producers and disseminators of information do not know or do not obey the criteria which should be met by any information delivered to the public. In this paper the advantages and the threats for the citizens' rights to information generated by the distribution and globalization of information processes in modern IT environment are discussed. It seems that for the protection of the citizens' rights to information, there is the need for specification and codification of quality criteria and standards for information produced and disseminated with the use of modern IT. Official statistics may and should play an important and active role in defining those criteria and standards. Professional ethics of statisticians and of official statistics seems to be the proper basis for that. Ethical principles of statistics are formulated in two basic documents: The fundamental principles of official statistics adopted by the UN Statistical Commission in 1994 and the ISI Declaration on statistical ethics adopted by the ISI in 1985.

Article information

Internat. Statist. Rev., Volume 71, Number 1 (2003), 33-48.

First available in Project Euclid: 17 March 2004

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Zentralblatt MATH identifier

Official statistics Statistical ethics Standardisation Harmonisation Meta-data IT environment Citizens' rights to information


Olenski, Jozef. The Citizens' Right to Information and the Duties of a Democratic State in Modern IT Environment. Internat. Statist. Rev. 71 (2003), no. 1, 33--48.

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  • [1] Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics. (1994). United Nations Statistical Commission, Washington, 1994. 2.10.
  • [2] ISI Declaration on Professional Ethics. (1986). International Statistical Review, 54, 227-242.
  • [3] Koneczny, F. (1932, 1996). Wielosc cywilizacyj, (Multitide of civilizations). Gebethner i Wolff, Warszawa 1932, (reprint Warszawa 1996).