OGP in the News – Week of March 6, 2017
A series providing a round-up of media attention received by the Open Government Partnership throughout the world.
With hundreds of opengov events happening throughout Italy in celebration of the country’s Open Government Week, it is little wonder Italy took the cake for this week’s OGP media coverage. Nevertheless, OGP news circled the globe with stories also coming out of South Korea, Burkina Faso, and Mexico.
Several Italian news sources covered the events of Italy’s Open Government Week (#SAA2017) between March 4, International Open Data Day, and March 11. Il Sole 24 Ore reported that the week-long event, organized by the Department of Public Administration, encouraged greater participation in OGP. Topics addressed during #SAA2017 included needed improvements to Italy’s open data portal (i.e. “freeing” public data to make it easily usable and downloadable) and ranking public entities on the amount of “open” data they release. Elsewhere in Italian media, news portals Tiscali and Agenzia Giornalistica Italia reported widespread demands for lobby registries. Since 1976, more than 50 lobbying regulation laws have failed to pass, leaving Italy without a national regulatory lobbying framework. The articles noted that some progress has been made on this front, particularly when the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) fulfilled a key commitment in Italy’s third OGP action plan in September 2016 by successfully implementing a lobby registry. Will other ministries follow suit?
Elsewhere in Europe, Spain’s transparency agenda is moving forward. El Confidencial and a handful of other Spanish news sources reported that government officials from the Ministry of Finance and Public Function met with representatives of the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP) – an association of various local city, county and town councils – to establish an open government commission. According to a statement by the Ministry of Finance, the commission will work with other stakeholders to draft Spain’s 2017-2019 NAP, to be presented before the the OGP Steering Committee in June.
In nearby Germany, the Federal Ministry of the Interior is inaugurating Germany’s recent accession to OGP with a municipal open government competition. According to Springer für Professionals, the competition aims to promote innovative open government projects at the subnational level.
Moving on to Asia, South Korea is one of the 12 countries competing for a spot on OGP’s Steering Committee, the partnership’s leadership body. News of the 2017 elections appeared in a Korean news outlet, which quoted a government official speaking about what taking on a leadership role in OGP could mean for the country: “[I]t will be a chance to conceive the direction of international society through leading meetings with heads of countries for transparent government administration. It will be momentum for Korea’s status in the international community to rise.”
Southward, following a data journalism workshop in Medan, Indonesia, Tribunnews.com reported enthusiasm among Indonesian journalists for this up-and-coming field, particularly within the context of OGP. One workshop participant and journalist, Abdul Manan of Indonesian weekly Tempo, described the value of data-driven journalism: “Data journalism is not only journalism that uses data, but more than that. Data driven stories to provide context, trends or patterns, and interpretation independent of official information to understand what is happening.”
Westward to Africa, in Nigeria, Uche Igwe asks a critical question: “Is OGP the next big thing?” While Igwe’s opinion piece – published in the Premium Times – admits skepticism among some Nigerians about the government’s ability to deliver on its ambitious OGP action plan, his message is ultimately one of hope:
[T]he global experience sharing and cross-fertilisation of ideas offered by the OGP platform could become the model of how government and civil society could work together to collectively deliver good governance. If diligently followed, methodically implemented and tailored to context, OGP may indeed become the next big thing in transforming the good governance landscape, especially in countries that need it most.
During a Cabinet meeting held in the capital of Burkina Faso, several national news sources, including Faso.net, announced that President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré agreed to appoint a minister to oversee the country’s OGP processes.
Finishing our trip around the world, La Crónica de Hoy announced that Mexico City recently published its Constitution, which resulted in changes to the legislative branch, namely the introduction of an “Open Parliament” clause. Citing the core principles of OGP (access to information, citizen participation, and accountability) among others, these revisions aim at “closing the gap between the governed and their representatives, which is critical for the democracy of any State.”
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.