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16 January 2018

OGP in the News - December 2017

OGP en las noticias: diciembre de 2017 >>

A weekly round-up of Open Government Partnership (OGP) media coverage around the world. Want to receive OGP in the News directly in your email inbox? Subscribe here.

While 2018 is already underway, this month we take a final look at some OGP’s media highlights from the last month of 2017. Along with the Asia Pacific Leaders Forum on Open Government, December was filled with open government news from Canada, France, Kenya, and beyond.

Following Canadian Treasury Minister Scott Brison’s participation at the OGP Americas Regional Meeting in November, CBS Canada described the open government crossroads at which Canada currently finds itself. On the one hand, the government of Canada is preparing to assume the OGP co-chairmanship in late 2018.  OGP Deputy CEO Joseph Powell explained that Canada is poised for leadership, with the “open government community [looking to] leaders like Trudeau.” At the same time, “with leadership comes scrutiny”—a statement that rings particularly true for the Canadian government as it faces heightened criticism for its access to information system. Mary Francoli, a professor at Carleton University and part of OGP’s International Experts Panel, reflected on the unique opportunity that Canada’s upcoming OGP co-chairmanship represents. She said, “It is an ideal time for the government to make more ambitious change and to share [best] practices internationally."   

Much of December’s OGP coverage zeroed in on the Asia Pacific Leaders Forum on Open Government (APLF2017), which took place in Jakarta, Indonesia. Detik.com announced the event a few days before it kicked off, while The Jakarta Post ran an editorial on December 14, the day of the event. Highlighting some of Indonesia's recent reforms towards an “accessible, accountable and open government,” the piece emphasized the importance of continued open government progress, saying, “Governments, including that of Indonesia, have no choice but to advance openness, or else they will perish.”

In the days and weeks following APLF2017, national news outlets Tribunnews.com, Merdeka.com, and Okezone.com published several pieces underscoring messages made by high-level leaders throughout the forum. Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla and Minister of National Development Planning, Bambang Brodjonegoro, took to the stage during the event’s opening plenary. Kalla explained that the government of Indonesia is looking to expand outlets for citizen participation to help shape and improve essential government services. Minister Brodjonegoro remarked that APLF2017 represented an opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences on ways open government can support inclusive development efforts. At the day’s closing, Tribunnews.com reported that Deputy Foreign Minister Abdurrahman Mohammad Fachir reminded all present that work on open government should be a “universal value,” not limited to OGP participants.       

In other news, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal net neutrality. French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and Secretary of State in charge of Digital Affairs, Mounir Mahjoubi, responded by underscoring France’s commitment to using technology for greater openness in a piece for Les Echos. Le Drian and Mahjoubi outlined the objectives of France’s international digital strategy, one of which entails “shaping a digital world founded on cooperation, openness, and trust.” They called for France’s “active involvement” in advancing OGP and advocated a “multilateral, realistic and pragmatic” approach among all European nations as they develop digital policies and regulations.

Elsewhere in Europe, Corriere Milano reported that Italy’s capital city, Milan, will be hosting the second edition of the country’s “Open Government Week” in February. Minister of Public Administration Marianna Madia announced the idea, which was first introduced by Roberto Maroni, president of the province of Lombardy, when Italy joined OGP in 2011. According to the article, Open Government Week will commemorate Italy’s recent progress on transparency issues, including establishing the Anti-Corruption Authority and passing a decree for access to information.   

In Latin America, Mexican Secretary of Civil Service, Arely Gómez González, sat down with commissioners of the National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI), to try to convince civil society organizations to re-engage with the Mexican government on OGP after withdrawing from the country’s OGP process in May 2017 due to allegations of government spying.  

Moving on to Africa, Victor Bwire of the Media Council of Kenya penned an opinion piece for the Daily Nation. Following an address made by President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, for the 54th Jamhuri (Republic) Day, the author noted that the media will play a critical role in delivering on the President’s proposed agenda. Noting that communication between the government and media should be a constant dialogue, the author encouraged the public to track the government’s implementation of key reforms. He also emphasized the importance of “information sharing” for those inside and outside of government, pointing out that this commitment to openness is reflected in Kenya’s membership in OGP. Bwire concluded with a stark reminder that a “minimalist approach to sharing information” can be “dangerous for the country.”

Last but not least, test out the famous adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” by viewing photo highlights from the Asia Pacific Leaders Forum on Open Government.

Of course, we can’t catch everything in our news round-ups, so if you see we’ve missed something or think a particular story ought to be featured, please send it to jacqueline.mcgraw@opengovpartnership.org.