OGP in the News – Week of June 19, 2017
A series providing a round-up of media attention received by Open Government Partnership throughout the world. Want to receive OGP in the News directly in your email inbox every Monday morning? Subscribe here.
From open source in Taiwan to the recent parliamentary elections in the United Kingdom, this week’s coverage of OGP circulated the globe.
Head of Televisa and a well-known face on Mexican television, Carlos Loret de Mola is just one of many journalists who is said to have been a victim of illegal espionage by the Mexican government. BuzzFeed News, Argentina’s Taringa!, and Venezuela’s TeleSUR ran articles on a recent report conducted by several civil society organizations, including Article 19 and Citizen Lab, documenting incidences of “systematic monitoring of journalists and human rights defenders” in Mexico. Each media outlet noted that this is old news, particularly for the group of Mexican civil society organizations that protested the government’s spying activities by withdrawing from the country’s OGP Tripartite Secretariat in May. According to BuzzFeed’s analysis, every incidence of spying has been targeted at activists and journalists who have either investigated, questioned, or criticized decisions made by the Peña Nieto government. So what’s the way forward? According to the organizations who curated the report, “There must be an urgent, serious, exhaustive, impartial and transparent investigation.”
Elsewhere in the Americas, Spanish-language news outlet Terra announced that Argentina launched an online public consultation, inviting citizens to give their input on a new law proposing to change how the country’s political parties are financed. Adopting a methodology consistent with that of the OGP Co-Creation Standards, the public consultation will be open through June 30 and can be accessed through Argentina’s Open Government platform.
Executive Vice President of Integrated Strategies at Results for Development (R4D) and OGP Steering Committee member Nathaniel Heller gave an interview to My República during his recent trip to Kathmandu, Nepal. Framing open government as the way of the future “whether the government wants it or not,” Heller reported that open government practices are “on the rise” in Nepal, and are supported by a strong base of reformers as well as some government officials.
Taiwan, though not a member of OGP, has come to be recognized as a “leader in tech policy and transparency.” And according to an article in Truthout, an open-source community known as “Gov” is at the forefront of the country’s digital revolution. During an interview, four Gov representatives explained how, in sticking to the Gov principles of “openness and collaboration,” all Gov projects, code, hackathons, and forums are posted online and open to anyone. Gov also participated in the 2016 OGP Global Summit, where Gov members met with other digital revolutionaries to share tools and experience around open government.
On to Europe, United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May has turned to Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) for political support following close parliamentary elections held earlier this month. In a piece for Politics.co.uk, Transparency International UK Director Duncan Hames advised caution over this new alliance, pointing out that DUP leader Arlene Foster “lost her hold on government over serious questions about the use of public funds,” particularly in light of the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal. Hames expressed concern that this new collaboration might be destructive to the UK’s strong anti-corruption reputation that is characterized, among other things, by the UK’s leadership in OGP and its top ten ranking in Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perceptions Index. He offered three recommendations for May as she works with the DUP, including ensuring that Northern Ireland follows through on its commitments in the UK OGP National Action Plan.
And finally, in Africa, Vanguard reported that the Nigerian government is working hard to meet its 2017 budget projections. Quoted throughout the article, Minister of Budget and National Planning Udoma Udo Udoma said the government is trying to ensure fewer oil disruptions in the Niger Delta and keep the fiscal deficit under the 3% threshold. Elsewhere in the article, Director General of the Budget Office Ben Akabueze spoke to how Nigeria’s participation in OGP has prompted the government to work more closely with its citizens: “Our membership of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) has strengthened our resolve to enhance stronger citizen engagement and improved public service delivery.”
Last but not least, can you say oh SNAP? OGP has a new publication about the reforms and themes in the Subnational Action Plans (SNAP) of our 15 subnational pioneers. Check it out here!
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 email@example.com.