Open Government movement growing in strength

More governments are signing on to the Open Government Partnership started by Brazil, the United States and six other countries last year.

The purpose of the OGP is pretty straight forward:

The Open Government Partnership is a new multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. In the spirit of multi-stakeholder collaboration, OGP is overseen by a steering committee of governments and civil society organizations.

From the original eight countries that created the OGP in September 2011, there are now 51 of an eligible 70 signed on.

This is significant for U.S. reporters as well as our counterparts around the globe. Let’s face it, it is easier to do reporting on government policies and programs when the governments are more transparent.

In the United States, the Freedom of Information Act forces government agencies to produce material. The fact that there are massive loopholes and massive bureaucratic delays does not take away from the underlining importance of the legislation: The people have a right to information held by the government. (When Lyndon Johnson signed the bill into law, he told his press secretary, Bill Moyers, that the FOIA was perhaps the most dangerous piece of legislation ever enacted.)

The expansion of the freedom of information/right to know laws in the world is a testament to the growing desire by people for governments that are more responsive and transparent.

For FOI freaks who can see beyond local borders, following the OGP is well worth the time.

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Filed under Connections, Freedom of Information, International News Coverage

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