OGP in the News - Week of October 10, 2016

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

This week OGP was included in a range of news subjects, from advances in civic tech in France to fracking in Mexico and even the American presidential election.

Growing fervor around the intersection between technology and politics was the OGP “sujet du jour” in France. Prestigious French daily Le Monde covered a civic tech forum - Geeks for Saving Politics – that took place in the country’s capital and followed a rather nontraditional format in which elected officials declared their political goals while civic tech representatives “pitched” ideas for how best to achieve them. Secretary of State Axelle Lemaire was present at the forum and expressed her intention of using OGP’s upcoming Global Summit in Paris as an opportunity to build France’s reputation for being “à l’avant-garde” in the civic tech world. An article from French computer science and technology news site Next INpact reaffirmed France’s investment (literally) in civic tech by revealing the country’s plans to allot the open data taskforce Etalab nearly 2.5 million euros, some of which will be used to prepare for the Summit. Finally, French weekly La Tribune ran an article highlighting the symbolic significance of OGP’s next Global Summit for moving away from the political legacy of figures like Edward Bernays who believed mass manipulation was essential to democracy (Propaganda and Crystallizing Public Opinion were among his most seminal works).

Lagos-based Nigerian daily Vanguard ran an article about the nation’s ongoing fight against corruption and its membership in OGP. Director-General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) Dr. Joe Abah announced that recent reforms within the BPSR have saved Nigeria 650 billion Nigerian naira and encouraged other government agencies to uphold OGP principles:

It is, therefore, important that public servants are fully aware of the objectives and essential elements of the Open Government Partnership, OGP. . . BPSR considers Open government and freedom of information to be extremely important mechanisms in fighting the scourge of corruption.

Indonesian news agency Antara reported that Indonesia is also taking strides to prevent fraud and corruption and maintain OGP’s mission of openness by implementing an open contracting system.

Columbia University’s sustainability blog State of the Planet published a post about the Tunisian government’s commitment to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which was deemed a top-priority in the country’s most recent OGP National Action Plan (NAP). The post also heralded the launch of a new Tunisian website – ResourceContracts – providing information about hydrocarbon investment contracts in Tunisia. Across the Atlantic, Mexican regional daily El Siglo de Torréon noted that Mexico’s government similarly promised to provide open data about extractive activities, namely fracking, in its NAP but has yet to follow through on such commitments.

In other news, Mexican news outlet Excélsior and several other national news sites, reported that Mexico’s Secretary of the Navy Francisco Soberón Sanz pledged to combat corruption by signing an agreement with President of the National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI) Ximena Puete. Sanz spoke of efforts to fulfill Mexico’s OGP commitments:

We are continuously striving to deliver, in a timely manner, the information that is requested of us. Thus we are contributing to achieve our national goals and projects, including those established by Open Government Partnership.

The agreement will apparently include classes, workshops and seminars on information management and requests for information. Meanwhile, Colombia’s HSB Noticias, along with 20 other Colombian news agencies, covered the International Open Data Conference on October 6 and 7 in Madrid. All articles mentioned OGP’s panel at the conference, which sought to brainstorm government reforms that have concrete impacts, particularly on the health and education sectors. Senior analyst at the Sunlight Foundation Alex Howard also reflected on the event, describing 10 takeaways from the conference in a post that originally appeared on the Sunlight Foundation blog.  

And last but not least, as the presidential election in the United States draws closer and many feel that the future of certain transparency initiatives are becoming more ambiguous, the Sunlight Foundation featured a list of questions curated by the American Society for News Editors and OpenTheGovernment.org to be answered by candidates Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. One such question asked how the next administration plans to meet the commitments articulated in the United States’ Third NAP. Wouldn’t we all like to know…

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 jacqueline.mcgraw@opengovpartnership.org.

Topics: OGP, Open Data
Filed Under: OGP News