Sun, Jan 18, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Watchdog invites public to contribute toward legislators’ evaluation reports

By Lii Wen  /  Staff reporter

Legislative watchdog Citizen’s Congress Watch (CCW) yesterday held two evaluation sessions in Taipei inviting citizens to contribute in their semi-annual report on legislative performance.

The sessions were part of a nationwide tour taking place throughout this month — including similar events in Greater Kaohsiung, Chiayi City, Nantou County and Greater Taoyuan.

The group has published evaluative reports on legislators’ performance twice a year since 2007, with results for the current legislative session set to be released in March.

Input from ordinary citizens would account for 20 percent of the final evaluation results, with about 2,000 questionnaires to be tallied, including those gathered from participants at evaluation sessions, university students and verified online applicants.

The questionnaires are designed to complement other qualitative and quantitative measures, such as legislators’ attendance records, the number of bills they initiated, and their contribution to landmark acts of legislation concerning human rights issues or in the public interest.

During yesterday’s sessions, participants were invited to fill out questionnaires on the performance of individual legislators, after watching video footage of legislative meetings accessible through the legislature’s Internet Video On Demand system.

The two sessions were focused on different issues, with the first session centered on the food safety scandal that rocked the nation last year — thus evaluating the performance of legislators from the Social Welfare Committee — and the second on same-sex marriage — with marks given to members of the Judiciary Committee.

Participants were also invited to engage in group discussions and share their thoughts on individual legislators.

Video footage allowed members of the public to gain a more complete picture of legislative performance, in contrast with media reports that tend to be focused on moments of heated argument or conflict, CCW policy researcher Hang Yi-chen (韓宜臻) said.

The group said that increased attention given to the video system would remind legislators to put more effort into initiating constructive policies.

CCW Deputy Director of Policy Hung Kuochun (洪國鈞) said that live evaluation sessions encouraged more interaction amongst participants, while also fostering more dialogue between the group’s staff and the public.

“It basically creates an opportunity for civic education,” Hung said. “I enjoy listening to the participants at our live sessions banging away at their keyboards loudly. It’s as if you can hear everyone’s anger directed at our legislators.”

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