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Tag Archive: open parliament

Why Kenya’s open data portal is failing – and why it can still succeed

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Kenya’s open data portal is floundering. Despite the excitement that surrounded its launch in July 2011, the portal has not been updated in eight months, has seen stagnant traffic, and is quickly losing its status as the symbolic leader of open government in Africa. For a number of reasons, the portal, which runs on a Socrata platform and can be viewed here, has not lived up to the often sky-high expectations of many onlookers. Kenya portal First, government ministries have been reluctant to release data. Many observers expected that the launch of the portal would help eradicate the Kenyan government’s harmful culture of secrecy. The Official Secrets Act, a holdover from the colonial era that prevents government employees from sharing official information, has created a closed culture in government and has starved the portal of much needed information. Second, implementation of the new constitution has hamstrung government officials who are trying to adjust to new roles and identify new responsibilities, significantly reducing government officials’ ability to incorporate open data into their already overburdened workstreams. The new Kenyan constitution, which was overwhelmingly passed in a 2010 referendum, created a new devolved system of government. Large changes are still being implemented, and government officials are struggling to adjust. This inexhaustive list displays some of the large obstacles standing between the open data portal and the goals of a more transparent, accountable, and effective government. Despite these challenges, there is still hope that Kenya’s open data experiment can regain its footing and reestablish itself as an open government leader.

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In Philippines, Summer of Potential for Open Government

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As a member of the Open Government Partnership Steering Committee, the Philippines is uniquely positioned to be a highly visible leader on open government. However, the legislature’s failure to pass a freedom of the information bill has brought this role into question. So, what’s going on in the Philippines? Manila 2 In the parliament, bills on internet freedom, legislative crowdsourcing, and parliamentary openness have all been introduced this summer. The other branches of government are also turning increasingly towards technology to improve governance. All this suggests that the Philippines’ role as an open government leader may be back on track, but only if this summer’s promising work is sustained.

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One Year of Monitoring the World’s Parliaments

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It has been just over a year since the PMO Leaders Conference convened an ever-growing community of activists working to open up their national and local parliaments. It has been a year since numerous individuals and groups participated in drafting the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness. It has been a year full of promise and success for the PMO community, but that’s not to say that we couldn’t do more to work together.

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