“Nobody is listening to your telephone calls,” said a defiant President Obama—now in full damage control mode—to a crowd Friday in California. Unfortunately for the administration, the claim is too little, too late. Had the disclosure come at the program’s inception and been justified as a way to prevent attacks at home and overseas, perhaps the reaction wouldn’t have been so intense.
The nomination of Open Government Partnership architect Samantha Power for US Ambassador to the United Nations represents a tremendous opportunity to promote government transparency and accountability around the world, especially in those countries not yet part of the nascent initiative.
A Minister of Transport sits drinking a beer on a restaurant patio. Across from him is the vice president of the country’s leading private railway company. A week later, a multi-million dollar public contract to connect the country’s biggest metropolis to its countryside is awarded to the same vice president’s railway company.
On May 3rd, Pan-American Freedom of Speech NGO Alianza Regional por la Libre Expresión e Información (Regional Alliance for Free Speech and Information) published a new report which analyzes media regulations in 16 countries around the region.
Update: On May 23, The Moscow Times reported that Russia had just “postponed” its entry into OGP. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian daily newspaper Kommersant that “we are not talking about winding up plans to join, but corrections in timing and the scale of participation are possible.” Open government advocate David Eaves interprets this state of affairs to mean A) “transparency matters” and B) that “Russia may still be in OGP. Just not soon.