“Constitute”: the new website digitizing the world’s constitutions

30 09 2013

constituteGoogle Ideas has supported the Comparative Constitutions Project to build a new website, Constitute.  This is a new site that digitizes and makes searchable the world’s constitutions. Constitute enables readers to browse and search constitutions via curated and tagged topics, as well as by country and year. The Comparative Constitutions Project has cataloged and tagged nearly 350 themes.

The constitutions can be searched under eleven “topics”:

  • Amendment
  • Culture and Identity
  • Elections
  • Executive
  • Federalism
  • International Law
  • Judiciary
  • Legislature
  • Principles and Symbols
  • Regulation and Oversight
  • Rights and Duties

A search under the “Topic” of “Rights and Duties” and then “Civil and Political Rights” gives a list of constitutional provisions relating to topics such as expression, privacy and information.

It is interesting to look at the number of constitutions which make provision for different rights:

  • Freedom of expression – included in the constitutions of 170 countries.
  • The right to privacy – included in the constitutions of 156 countries.
  • Freedom of the press – included in the constitution of 141 countries.
  • Freedom to view government information – included in the constitutions of 74 countries.
  • The right to protection one’s reputation – included in the constitutions of 66 countries.

Under the Topic of “Regulation and Oversight” there can be found a list of constitutional provisions relating to “Media and Communications” including

  • State operation of the media
  • Media commission
  • Mention of radio
  • Mention of telecommunications
  • Mention of television

It is perhaps not coincidental that last week Oxford University Press relaunched its subscription site Oxford Constitutions of the World which is described as being

“the only resource to contain regularly updated, fully-translated English-language versions of all of the world’s constitutions. On an all new state-of-the-art platform, the constitutions are accompanied by individual commentaries and supplementary materials, including foundation documents, historical constitutions, and amendment Acts/laws, and a collection of scholarly monographs“.

The service is available on annual subscription.  It is said that  “Pricing is based on the size and type of institution and the number of users”.


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