Accessibility and Transparency for Accountability: The Portuguese Official Municipal Websites

Abstract :

Local government is a political power close to citizens and constitutes a mainstay of democracy. Because of their mission, the guidelines promoted by local government must be embedded in strategies of accountability and public communication. In that sense, it is worthwhile to ask if “local government accountability is being an inclusive concept?”. In Portugal, transparency of municipalities is being accessed through the Municipality Transparency Index (MTI). Our aim is to investigate whatever MTI measure accessibility. This study examines the availability of local government information on the Website for a sample of 86 Portuguese municipalities and presents the results of a quantitative evaluation of the Web accessibility based on W3C guidelines, using an automatic tool. Based on these main concepts of transparency and accessibility, we explore static association between MTI and web accessibility. This study contributed to the discussion about transparency as a social value and is of great importance for local policy makers and civic movements in favor of disable people.