Sharing through the Open Government Partnership- August 19, 2014 Newsletter

– Brief Updates on Coalition Partners & Others (more)
– OTG Meets with Open Government Leaders from Sierra Leone (more)

News from Coalition Partners & Others

POGO Director, OTG Steering Committee Chair Talks Open Government on CSPAN

Project On Government Oversight Executive Director Danielle Brian joined CSPAN’s Washington Journal to discuss legislative reforms after the Watergate scandal. The wide-ranging conversation is available here. In these two shorter clips, Brian talks about the administration’s transparency promises and the FOIA Improvement Act.

Applications Open for NEFAC Institute

The New England First Amendment Coalition (NEFAC) holds an annual institute to provide training for New England journalists on investigative and database reporting techniques. The institute will be held from November 16th to 18th in Dedham, Massachusetts. Apply here before the October 3rd deadline.

Partners Respond to EPA Press Policy for Advisory Committees

According to a memo from the EPA’s chief of staff, EPA science advisory committee members are asked to “refrain from responding in an individual capacity” to inquiries from the press and public and requests that all inquiries directed first to EPA officials. Several partners, including journalist and environmental groups, joined the Union of Concerned Scientists to ask Administrator Gina McCarthy to clarify the policy. As the groups note, the policy “prevents many of our nation’s top independent environmental science experts from sharing their expertise, unfiltered, with the public” and undermines EPA’s transparency efforts.

OTG Meets with Open Government Leaders from Sierra Leone

In early August, helped identify individuals at partner organizations who could share insight with leaders from the government and civil society sector of Sierra Leone into how the US has tackled open government issues. During a meeting that included the group from Sierra Leone, White House officials, federal agency personnel, and members of US civil society, partners offered their thoughts on a range of topics, including spending transparency, records management, and right to information. The meeting was intended to help Sierra Leone as they begin to implement the recently-enacted Right to Access Information Act and meet other commitments in the plan they developed as part of their participation in the Open Government Partnership. The White House indicated they are interested in hosting similar meetings and learning opportunities in the future.



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