A series providing a round-up of media attention received by the Open Government Partnership throughout the world.
It’s been a tumultuous week in international politics, yet the nature of OGP coverage remained relatively unchanged.
The English-language online computer magazine PCWorld, as well as France’s NextINpact and La Tribune, reported widespread criticism of the French government following its announcement of a new centralized database—Titres électroniques sécurisés (TES)—that will contain biometric data from nearly 60 million French citizens. The French government has unsuccessfully attempted to implement similar databases in the past, and the authors of each article noted that this latest iteration paradoxically coincides with France’s hosting of the OGP Summit, and threatens to undermine the French government’s commitment to the principles of transparency promoted at the Summit. While the French government believes such a database will help prevent document fraud, the National Council of Digitization (CNNum) released an official communiqué criticizing the lack of dialogue leading up to the decision.
Also in France, Le Monde ran an article highlighting growing concern among Europeans over free-trade agreements, notably the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union. Secretary of External Commerce, Matthias Fekl, responded by proposing a series of reforms, which France intends to add to the agenda of the OGP Global Summit in Paris, to make European trade negotiations more democratic and transparent.
In other news, Pakistan’s Minister of Finance, Ishaq Dar, was quoted by various Pakistani news sources revealing the nation’s tentative plans to join OGP. The news followed a meeting in Islamabad about ways in which the Pakistani government can ensure good governance and increased transparency. The country recently signed the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. Dar said Pakistan’s “accession to these multilateral agreements will augment Pakistan’s efforts to combat fiscal crime and will further strengthen our compliance framework on anti-corruption.”
Gov.uk and Foreign Affairs New Zealand published a speech delivered by a Member of Parliament from the United Kingdom, Chris Skidmore, at the D5 Summit for leading digital governments in Busan, South Korea. Highlighting the achievements of the U.K. government in developing efficient and cost-effective IT services, Skidmore referenced the U.K.’s most recent National Action Plan (NAP), calling it a testament to the nation’s commitment to becoming the “most transparent government in the world.”
The American political newspaper The Hill published an article by Security Policy Studies student John Steele in which he recommended OGP as a possible tool in ending the terrorist group Boko Haram’s presence in Nigeria. He said, “Nigeria should strengthen its toothless anticorruption bodies by adopting harsher penalties for unscrupulous officials and foster greater transparency by joining the Open Government Partnership.” In other Nigeria news, The Guardian Nigeria conducted an interview with Kayode Fayemi, chairman of the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI). In response to a question about transparency, Fayemi pointed to the “significant step of signing up to join Open Government Partnership” as proof of Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to openness.
Several news sources from the Dominican Republic reported that the Directorate General of Budget (DIGEPRES) received recognition for meeting all requirements of the country’s Open Data Initiative. The articles also praised the country’s datos.gob.do portal, containing data from 38 public entities, that was designed to help public institutions follow through on OGP commitments.
There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in….., speculation has arisen about the winner of the #OGPAwards – could it be @OpenGovHulk? Watch this space!
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.