OGP in the News – Week of February 20, 2017
A series providing a round-up of media attention received by the Open Government Partnership throughout the world.
OGP news circulated the globe with OGP’s Steering Committee elections making headlines, OGP discussions occurring throughout Eurasia, and democracy-defending Pirates championing education reform via OGP in the Czech Republic.
Following an OGP press release about the 12 countries vying for a spot in OGP’s leadership body, news of the current Steering Committee elections was picked up in almost 15 news sources in non-member country India, including Business Standard, Yahoo! News India and WebIndia123.com.
More OGP excitement came out of Kyiv, Ukraine where the Ukrainian government and the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) co-hosted the “Open Government: Eurasian Dimension” meeting. Ukrainian NGO “Civic Space” ran an article recapping the event, which brought together a mix of local authorities and civil society reformers from 10 countries in the region. Elsewhere in Eurasia, Kazinform reported that open government reformers from the Georgian civil service met with a number of Eurasian NGOs in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, to exchange ideas about combatting corruption and improving service delivery.
Meanwhile, questions about the future of open data ’ under the Trump administration were raised after the contents of the United States’ federal open data portal were erased from the new White House website (though data.gov is still up and running). Joshua New, a policy analyst at the Center for Data Innovation, voiced his concerns in an opinion piece for The Hill. He noted that among the archived data were the United States OGP National Action Plans (NAP)—a move that, according to the author, suggests the Trump administration “does not consider these policies as its own.” French journalist Thierry Noisette also commented on the “suppression” of these open data pages in a blog for the international business technology news site, ZDNet.
German news site Heise Online covered the meeting of European Information Authorities in Berlin, which was hosted by Germany’s Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Information Freedom, Andrea Voßhoff. On the first day of the event, Voßhoff championed open government as a critical tool for informing the public in the current era of “post-factorial politics” and touted Germany’s recent entrance into OGP as proof of its progress.
Netzpolitik.org, in contrast, published an opinion piece criticizing the German government after plans to implement a beneficial owner registry were stalled. The author, Arne Semsrott, characterized the delay as major transparency setback, counter to OGP principles:
Despite the accession to the Open Government Partnership, Germany does not use this opportunity to provide a clear signal for more control of money laundering by opening up the data, especially as it is itself one of the major tax havens within the EU.
In the Czech Republic, news portal ParlamentníListy.cz announced that the Czech Pirate Party has joined the Prague-based Alliance for Open Learning in efforts to modernize the national education system, which Pirate Party Chairman Ivan Bartos described as being stuck in the “times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.” According to the article, the Pirate Party also plans on leveraging international cooperation for education reform though the OGP platform.
And in Nigeria, several national news outlets including Naij.com and The Guardian Nigeria highlighted Nigeria’s participation in OGP as a major achievement of the Buhari administration in addressing corruption and elevating Nigeria’s international standing.
Last but not least, have you heard the Open Government Fable? A chance encounter between a Turtle and a “Mysterious Stranger” (the good kind!) illustrates the power of open government principles.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.