A series providing a round-up of media attention received by the Open Government Partnership throughout the world.
This week, OGP coverage came overwhelmingly out of Latin America.
Following the appointments of Arely Gómez González as new Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Service (SFP) and Raúl Cervantes as new Attorney General in Mexico, OGP was mentioned in several articles in Mexican press, including Aristegui Noticias, Noticias de Economía y Finanzas and Proceso. The appointments – spearheaded by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and ratified by the Senate – came days after 200 people and 50 organizations called for a national dialogue to restructure the Attorney General’s Office (PGR). Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center (Center Prodh) released a statement saying the appointment of Arely Gómez for the SFP “violates the international commitment made by the Presidency in the third National Action Plan of the Open Government Partnership.” La Jornada then covered a meeting between Gómez and civil society leaders in Mexico during which the new Secretary of SFP apparently pledged to strengthen dialogue mechanisms such as OGP, which she described as a “key component of efforts in openness, transparency and accountability.”
In Chile, a former advisor to the Transparency Council, Juan Pablo Olmedo, wrote an op-ed for a leading Argentinian daily in La Nation discussing Argentina’s recent Freedom of Information (FOI) Law (passed in September 2016). Olmedo called the law revolutionary, emphasizing that it reinforces Argentina’s commitment to OGP and singles out the country as leader in the Americas region. In Peru, meanwhile, Generaccion.com featured a piece with commentary from Marcelo Sukni, the General Manager of the Peruvian branch of software and business analytics company SAS. Sukni argued that open government is fundamentally changing the nature of the executive branch by making its decisions, spending and operations more transparent. The article also highlighted Peru’s OGP commitments aimed at implementing a number of open data initiatives. Finally, Argentinian news site LaNoticia1.com announced that an Americas Regional meeting for OGP’s new subnational program will be held in the Buenos Aires – one of the pilot program’s participating cities.
The widely-circulated Spanish-language daily El Pais provided updates on Nigeria’s transparency efforts. While some people remain skeptical of Muhammadu Buhari’s crusade against corruption, BUDGIT co-founder, Oluseun Onigbinde, pointed to the steps the government had to take just to meet OGP’s eligibility requirements as proof of the authenticity of Buhari’s commitment to open government. The administration is now working with both the OGP community and BUDGIT to increase transparency in the oil sector and in public procurement.
Sri Lankan weekly The Sunday Times ran news of the country’s first ever National Action Plan (NAP). More than a dozen Indian news sources, including Yahoo! India News, also spread word of the NAP and pointed out that Sri Lanka is the first South Asian country to join OGP. More firsts came from Australia, which completed its début draft NAP according to Australian Policy Online.
In other news, an article on the Center for Global Development (CDG) website revealed plans by the United States government to establish a fund of $1 billion aimed at expanding economic opportunities for women and girls in developing countries. According to the article, the fund would be modeled after OGP with a permanent secretariat to support and monitor commitments made by member countries. More good news for women came from a Wired article in which Chief Technology Officer of the United States, Meghan Smith, had two messages to send. First, she encouraged technology gurus to use their talents to improve government services, citing OGP as model: “This is happening all over the world. The Open Government Partnership now has 70 countries, hundreds of civil society organisations and it has the techies involved.” Smith also preached inclusion of women in the tech bubble and condemned narratives that erase the integral involvement of women, such as Katherine Johnson, in the world’s greatest technological achievements.
More civic tech news came from France’s NextINpact, which published an article on the debate around a proposition to increase online citizen consultation. As underscored by the article, this proposition falls very much in line with the theme of “Open Parliament” to be addressed in a panel on December 8 as part of OGP’s Global Summit in Paris.
And last but not least, OGP is now the stuff of art in the Regency of Bojonegoro in Indonesia, which, reported Antara News, has organized a public exhibition titled… “OGP”!
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.