OGP in the News – Week of May 16, 2016

A series providing a round-up of media attention received by the Open Government Partnership throughout the world.

This week, the most widespread press coverage related to the Open Government Partnership came out of the regency of Bojonegoro in Indonesia, where OGP was mentioned in at least 28 articles in local outlets. Although Bojonegoro is one of 15 spots around the globe recently selected for OGP’s subnational pilot program, coverage centered on a 15,000-strong rally on national defense, which also boasted an appearance by the Vice President of Indonesia.

"Defending the country does not mean only to fight a war, but it is significantly more comprehensive, and envisages strengthening the nation in all important areas," said the Vice President, arguing that education, economic development and good leadership were all central to true patriotism and security. The Vice President named participation in OGP, food and energy independence, protecting human rights, and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals as elements of building a stronger Indonesia.

In an op-ed posted on both the Huffington Post and the Human Rights Watch (HRW) website regarding the current political situation in Azerbaijan, Jessica Evans of HRW discussed the OGP Steering Committee’s recent decision to designate the country as “inactive”:

In this climate, people face a risk of reprisal for commenting on development projects or exposing the misuse of funds or harmful projects. Some multilateral bodies are starting to respond. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which promotes good governance of resource-rich countries, downgraded Azerbaijan’s status last year because of its flagrant disregard for fundamental freedoms. The Open Government Partnership (OGP), which works to make governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens, followed suit last week.

On a related note, FreedomInfo.org published a story on Turkey’s risk of being classified as inactive by OGP. After referencing the Steering Committee’s establishment of four “benchmarks” for the country, the article stated: “Despite having missed several key deadlines over several years, Turkey was given another chance. However, Turkey will be automatically designated ‘inactive’ at the September Steering Committee meeting if it does not meet minimum requirements described in a resolution.”

OGP was mentioned in stories posted on sites across Africa throughout the week, including in coverage of Nigeria’s participation in the Anti-Corruption Summit in London, and the convening of the Regional Meeting in Cape Town the week before. In other Africa-centered news, AllAfrica.com published pieces on access to information in Tanzania and OGP’s mention at a Cabinet meeting in South Africa. The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative sent an open letter to the president of Ghana regarding ongoing efforts to pass a Right to Information bill, as outlined in the Ghanaian government’s OGP National Action Plan. Nigeria’s decision to join OGP, as well as Liberia’s ongoing participation in OGP, were praised in multiple items out of those countries. This discussion stemmed from a visit by a the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, who praised Liberia’s involvement in OGP.

Elsewhere in the world, OGP CEO Sanjay Pradhan’s assumption of his post, along with his comments at the Anti-Corruption Summit, made news; Before It's News promoted the recent launch of the OGP Awards; and articles on open government out of both Italy and Guatemala spoke of the OGP process in those countries. U.S. News and World Report highlighted Vietnam’s efforts towards improving governance, tying potential OGP participation to Vietnam’s continued progress in economic development and gradual implementation of global norms and best practices.

And last but not least, although London isn't typically thought of as the most exuberant of cities, was there ever any doubt that officially joining OGP would elicit such a thunderous applause?

Authors: Alex Vedovi
Filed Under: OGP News