Some radical transparency initiatives in Africa present huge opportunities for journalists and citizens. Parliaments and governments are bring opened up on the web as never before by local activists and coders. I am lucky enough to come across and sometimes fund this work as a trustee of the Indigo Trust. Here are some of my favourites:
There is a clutch of parliamentary transparency sites that bring about a profound change in the ability to find out who your representative is, contact them and work out what they have been saying in Parliament. It’s hard for people in the North to appreciate sometimes just how hard it was to work out what was going on in the parliament in the capital city – these sites hugely improve the situation, at least for those who can get online. These sites are often inspired by They Work for You in the UK and MySociety is often involved in the background supporting local coders:
Mzalendo – Kenyan Parliament
Odekro – Ghana Parliament
The Peoples Assembly – South Africa – only went live in February 2014
As well as parliament there is other material becoming more transparent that is very mush the raw material for journalists:
Nigerian Constitution For All app – has distributed hundreds of thousands of downloads of the Nigerian constitution to mobile phones. Is likely to hit a million downloads this year.
Open Bye Laws – South Africa lovely project that is making ZA’s all important local bye-laws more accessible
Your Budgit – Nigeria – superb information on the state of the Nigerian budget and some info graphics that actually add value – ‘shopping with $20billion‘ is a favourite – this amount has gone walkabout from Nigerias oil revenues.
Most of these sites put local and sometimes national government in the UK to shame.
Through this quick blog post, I wanted to inject the above into the thinking around today’s excellent #Polis14 event at the LSE, in particular the session on the future of transparency journalism with @georgeprof @sambrook and others.
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