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Tunisia

Enhance the Transparency in the Cultural Sector : “Open Culture” (TN0025)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Tunisia Second National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry in charge of culture

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Access to Information, Capacity Building, E-Government, Open Data

IRM Review

IRM Report: Tunisia End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Tunisia Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Enhance the transparency in the cultural sector : “open culture”

IRM Midterm Status Summary

5. Enhance transparency in the cultural sector: “open culture”

Commitment Text:

The aim of this commitment is to promote openess in the cultural sector in order to facilitate access to the culture heritage and stimulates innovative reuse in this field. This could generate several benefits especially an economic value by promoting foreign investment and tourism. 

Milestones:

  • Opening public cultural data:

The openness and sharing of public cultural data is guaranteed through the development of a central website. The website will include a set of data concerning all cultural fields (music, dance, books, scenic arts, audiovisual arts, cultural patrimony, fine arts, cultural institutions activities…) and boosting it with statistical results, ministry interventions, the budget, and public funding.

-   Disseminating data about events and cultural festivals using modern technologies (cultural Agenda system):

The system of cultural agenda will provide users with digital information about cultural festivals and events on the central and regional level. The content will be comprehensive and easy handling as it will be joined by photos, posters and the festival’s program. This system can be browsed through various digital bearings enabling users to evaluate and give their opinion about it.

-   Opening sound recordings and musical archive of the “Arab and Mediterranean Music Center”:

Disseminating and facilitating the access to the sound recordings and material archive of the Arab and Mediterranean Music Center through the development of two web sites in order to allow users especially journalists and researchers to exploit the digital data bases as well as paper and audiovisual documents. It could enhance the cultural heritage in this field and develop new high value uses of these data.

Responsible institution: Ministry in charge of culture

Supporting institution(s): “e-governance society” association

Start date: August 2016     End date: July 2018

Context and Objectives

With more than 3,000 years of historical heritage, Tunisia has numerous classified historical sites and museums that are often unknown to the public due to the absence of a meaningful and exploitable cartography. The Tunisian Ministry of Culture funds the maintenance of cultural sites and helps to promote and subsidize local and national festivals, movie productions and other relevant art work. Often, budgets allocated to these subsidies are not publicly available and have become the subject of contested discussions. Information on multiple cultural events funded by taxpayers’ money is not centralized.

This commitment aims to disclose information about the location of cultural facilities and open access to the electronic sound archive of the Center of Arab and Mediterranean Music. The commitment also includes disclosure of allocations for cultural subsidies. The commitment is overall relevant to the OGP value of access to the information. If all milestones were to be fully implemented, the commitment overall would have a minor potential impact. While milestones on the cultural agenda system and opening of audio archives are not likely to have major impact in making the culture sector more transparent, the part of the commitment on disclosing state subsidies allocated for cultural events could be a major development for transparency of government spending on culture. However, the commitment is not specific about the number of the datasets, the frequency of updates and if a process to obtain, verify and upload the datasets will be in place.

Completion

All the deliverables stated under this commitment are completed and available online.

In summer 2016 the Ministry of Culture created a website (http://www.openculture.gov.tn/) for the publication of cultural data. The website includes 59 datasets on 11 cultural sites. The ministry started publishing information on subsidies allocated for cultural events according to years. Twenty datasets about subsidies provided to festivals and associations are available, however, these are only for 2014, 2015 and 2016. Moreover, some datasets are simply the summary of a larger dataset, for example, “Subsidies by Sector” or “Subsidies by Region”. These could have been simple macros or separate Excel sheets among the main dataset. The datasets appear to be collected from different departments of the ministry without further work done on harmonization or merging.

For the second milestone, the cultural agenda system, a website was launched in June 2016 displaying information about cultural events, such as festivals and concerts [25].

The third milestone, the website with the archive of sound recordings, was already in place before the start of the action plan in June 2016. The Phonotheque Nationale [26] is an online music and sound archive containing historical recordings of Mediterranean and Arab music. According to the government self-assessment report, the website was updated with more content during the first year of implementation.

Websites created under this commitment are not well referenced and need search engine optimization. In addition, while the general website of the ministry is in both Arabic and French, the agenda is only in Arabic and the open government platform is only in French.

Early Results

The publication of open data about the infrastructure of the ministry, its budget and its subsidies represent major developments. The Ministry of Culture has also published an interactive map that allows geo-localization of cultural sites, however, at the time of writing this report, the data is still missing some sites.

The ministry held an event to launch its open-gov platform without visible interaction with civil society. Most of the interviewed CSOs were not aware of the existence of the open government portal.

Next Steps

The effectiveness of this commitment could be enhanced by raising awareness of the new websites and reinforcing search engine optimization. In addition, the websites’ content should be bilingual; the official administrative language in Tunisia is Arabic, however, the open culture website is in French, while the official website is bilingual, and the electronic agenda is in Arabic. The Ministry of Culture could put in place internal rules and procedures to keep populating the portal with up-to-date information on budgets and complete the list of sites and facilities in geo-localized maps. Moreover, work should be done to harmonize the databases and make more compelling datasets.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

5. Enhance the transparency in the cultural sector: “open culture”

Commitment Text:

The aim of this commitment is to promote openness in the cultural sector in order to facilitate access to the culture heritage and stimulates innovative reuse in this field. This could generate several benefits especially an economic value by promoting foreign investment and tourism.

Milestones:

  • Opening public cultural data:
    • The openness and sharing of public cultural data is guaranteed through the development of a central website. The website will include a set of data concerning all cultural fields (music, dance, books, scenic arts, audiovisual arts, cultural patrimony, fine arts, cultural institutions activities…) and boosting it with statistical results, ministry interventions, the budget, and public funding.
  • Disseminating data about events and cultural festivals using modern technologies (cultural Agenda system):
    • The system of cultural agenda will provide users with digital information about cultural festivals and events on the central and regional level. The content will be comprehensive and easy handling as it will be joined by photos, posters and the festival’s program. This system can be browsed through various digital bearings enabling users to evaluate and give their opinion about it.
  • Opening sound recordings and musical archive of the “Arab and Mediterranean Music Center”:
    • Disseminating and facilitating the access to the sound recordings and material archive of the Arab and Mediterranean Music Center through the development of two web sites in order to allow users especially journalists and researchers to exploit the digital data bases as well as paper and audiovisual documents. It could enhance the cultural heritage in this field and develop new high value uses of these data.

Responsible institution: Ministry in charge of culture

Start date: August 2016 End date: July 2018

Editorial Note: This is an abbreviated version of the commitment text. For the full commitment text from the Tunisia National Action Plan, see here.

Commitment Aim:

This commitment aimed to improve the transparency in the cultural sector in Tunisia by disclosing information about the location of cultural facilities and open access to the electronic sound archive of the Center of Arab and Mediterranean Music. The commitment also includes disclosure of allocations for cultural subsidies.

Status

Midterm: Complete

As of the midterm, this commitment was completely implemented. In summer 2016 the Ministry of Culture created a website (http://www.openculture.gov.tn/) for the publication of cultural data. The website included 59 datasets on eleven cultural sites. Moreover, another website was also developed, displaying a cultural agenda of the events held by facilities or organizations sponsored by the state. The ministry started publishing information on subsidies allocated for cultural events according to years. Twenty datasets about subsidies provided to festivals and associations were available, however, these are only for 2014, 2015 and 2016 and they do not include the more recent data. Moreover, some datasets are the summary of a larger dataset. The datasets appear to be collected from different departments of the ministry without further work done on harmonization or merging. [34] The third milestone, the website with the archive of sound recordings, was already in place before the start of the action plan in June 2016. The Phonotheque Nationale2 is an online music and sound archive containing historical recordings of Mediterranean and Arab music. According to the government self-assessment report, the website was updated with more content during the first year of implementation. [35] Despite the complete implementation, the websites created under this commitment are not well referenced and need search engine optimization. In addition, while the general website of the ministry is in both Arabic and French, the agenda is only in Arabic and the open government platform is only in French.

End of Term update

By the end of term, the IRM researcher accessed the websites to check for updates of the government portal. The online agenda was empty and did not have any ongoing events, however, the IRM researcher confirmed that a major music festival was being held, subsidized by the government, at the same time. The website had some additional datasets uploaded. The online sound archive website was functional as well.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Marginal

Prior the implementation of this commitment, the Ministry of Culture did not disclose all the facilities or programs that it supported. The publication of these datasets in an open government format website, and trying to advertise events subsidized by taxpayers’ money, is a step towards more transparency. However, the website of the cultural agenda does not seem to be updated regularly. Also, the most recent data update on the Open data website goes back to 2016.

Carried Forward?

This commitment was not carried forward.


Commitments

Open Government Partnership