A true “revolution” through data will be one that enables all of us to hold our governments accountable for fulfilling their obligations, and to play an informed and active role in decisions fundamentally affecting their well-being. We believe such a revolution requires ambitious commitments to make data open; invest in the ability of all stakeholders to use data effectively; and to commit to protecting the rights to information, free expression, free association and privacy, without which data-driven accountability will wither on the vine.
The frustration of activists against MPs felt to have escaped justice boils over in Ukraine.
It’s 7:00 a.m. and I’m rushing through my morning routine with an eye on the clock. My plan is to get into my car before 7:30 a.m. so I can tune in and listen to the Brekete Family Radio program. It is always the perfect companion during my 15-minute drive to work through Abuja’s bumper-to-bumper traffic. As I drive out of my compound, I am relieved to hear the voice of Ordinary Ahmed Isa, the president and host of the Brekete Family, come on the air with the familiar but strange greeting “Hembelembe,” to which his studio audience responds “Olololoooo.” You can’t help but mutter the response under your breath. The atmosphere is electrifying because you don’t know what to expect on this show. The Brekete Family Radio (BFR) is a reality radio program in Abuja, modeled after a public complaint forum or people’s court. Conducted in the local lingua franca (pidgin English), people call in to report on issues of impunity, whether public or private. The panel sitting in the studio discusses the issue and invites the public to give advice to the plaintiff.
Our goal is to create this family of sites where the journalists are given extraordinary opportunities to go down whatever rabbit hole they think is useful to cover a story, and hold powerful institutions to account.
How the media should cover media policy related stories is always a difficult issue. Newspapers, of course, have their own interests to consider as well as those of their readers. Is it acceptable that they should use their influence to protect their own interests, or should they always give a balanced view of the issues?
The coverage of the Savile scandal and McAlpine by the BBC had serious flaws. But the BBC did eventually show that it was capable of setting its own journalistic watchdogs to work on itself, putting public interest journalism before any narrowly defined corporate interest.
Now it is the turn of the Press. Over the coming days, we will see the extent to which newspapers can bracket off their own interests and give a balanced view of the Leveson Report, including the criticisms he is likely to make of the press.
For media researchers it is an interesting laboratory in which to study the press. Will they report Leveson in a balanced way, or will they will use their power to turn public opinion against the report or its author? Will they skate over what is likely to be excoriating critique of newspapers, and try to rubbish the recommendations? Or will they give some space to criticism?
After all, one of the key issues Leveson himself has been pondering is whether, because of their ability to shape public opinion, the press, or elements