Just because a government sign on to the Open Government Initiative does not mean that the information is properly being read, understood and publicized.
Knowing how to access the growing amount of information — dubbed Big Data — and understand it all takes some training.
Fortunately, many of the international development and finance organizations understand that helping journalists learn how to access and analyze big data means more transparency in government and a better informed citizenry.
The World Bank is helping finance a training program in the Philippines by the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism to train journalists and citizen media how to produce high-quality, data-driven stories.
In the past 10-15 years, The World Bank, the IMF and national development agencies (such as USAID) have begun to understand the close connection between development and free media.
The linkage is really pretty obvious once you look at the big picture.
- Development programs are supposed to end poverty
- Poverty comes from unequal distribution of opportunities
- Free media exposes that injustice
- Poverty is exacerbated by corruption
- Free media exposes corruption
- Free media can only exist in democratic states
- Therefore, to promote economic development, political development leading to democracy and freedom of speech and press must be part of any development activity.
- Well-trained and ethical journalists provide vital information to the public that helps build and maintain democracy
There it is: Helping develop free press helps build democracy.