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WeGov

How Do You Prepare For A Disaster That Could Kill More Than 300,000 People?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, September 3 2013

Aerial view of damage to Wakuya, Japan, following 2011 earthquake (U.S. Navy/Flickr)

An earthquake in the Nankai Trough, off of the southern coast of Japan's Honshu Island, could kill up to 323,000 people and cause ¥220 trillion (US$2.21 trillion) in damages. Or at least, those are the worst case scenario projections by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Disaster Prevention Council. To prepare for the potential calamity, the Japanese government is building an electronic mapping system in advance of the potential earthquake.

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WeGov

Bribespot Thailand: Effective Anti-Corruption Tool Or Mere Outlet For Disgruntled Victims?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, August 23 2013

Screenshot of Bribespot Thailand

An anti-corruption intiative originally from Lithuania has been repurposed in Thailand. Bribespot Thailand officially launched two weeks ago, and already has more than 80 official reports of bribes demanded. The nonprofit hopes the initiative will empower citizens to report bribery in the public sector immediately, and to raise the Thai authorities' awareness of the scope and pervasiveness of petty corruption.

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WeGov

How Social Media Could Save Disgraced Chinese Politician Bo Xilai

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, August 23 2013

A CCTV image of the Bo Xilai trial provided by 886 Happy Radio (快乐886电台) via Weibo

In an unprecedented move, the Chinese government is providing an official live feed of the corruption trial of disgraced politician Bo Xilai. They are streaming it via Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter and a search of his name (薄熙来) turns up nearly 1.5 million posts. Past trials have been closed affairs and what information is revealed after they conclude tend to be the carefully orchestrated portions of the trial. Read More

WeGov

South Africans Use Community Monitoring Tool to Promote Gov't Accountability

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, August 15 2013

Screenshot of the Lungisa Facebook page

Citizens in South Africa have taken community monitoring into their own hands – and onto their social networks. Using a tool called Lungisa, they can report problems with water, sanitation, electricity, schooling and health care and the nonprofit that operates Lungisa, Cell-Life, reports the problem to the appropriate authorities. Even better? The issues are getting resolved.

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WeGov

India Launches Open Data Portal

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, August 13 2013

On Thursday August 8 the Indian government launched an open data portal with more than 3,500 data sets from 49 different government offices. The website, Data Portal India (data.gov.in), has been compared to similar websites launched by the US in 2009 and the UK in 2010. Read More

WeGov

Citizens Create Open Data Tools to Drive Transparency in Hong Kong

BY Rebecca Chao | Thursday, August 8 2013

The Legislative Council Building in Hong Kong (source: Martin Schiele/flickr)

Edward Snowden might have thought otherwise, but Hong Kong residents find their city-state pretty opaque when it comes to access to information about their own government's activities. A group of open data activists are trying to change that, kicking off several initiatives and creating new tools. Read More

WeGov

Declaration on Parliamentary Openness Gains Wide Endorsement in Europe

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, August 7 2013

Since the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness was introduced last September, it has garnered more than 120 endorsements from civil society organizations in 74 countries. This month, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) became the first international institution to endorse the declaration.

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WeGov

Restrictions on Social Media Target Vietnamese Citizen Journalists

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, August 5 2013

Nguyen Tan Dung, PM of Vietnam (Wikipedia>)

An amendment to Vietnam's already draconian Internet laws bans Internet users from sharing “compiled information” on their websites, blogs or social media pages. The decree will make the government's ongoing persecution of activist bloggers and citizen journalists completely legal. Signed into law by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on July 15, the new regulations will go into effect September 1.

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Write This, Not That: Instructions From China's “Ministry of Truth”

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, August 1 2013

On July 17 a Chinese watermelon vendor died at the hands of plainclothes policemen, or chengguan. The following day, the State Council Information Office sent this missive to China's media outlets: “All websites are asked to remove from their homepages the story of the melon grower beaten to death by chengguan in Linwu County, Chenzhou City, Hunan Province. Do not make special topic pages, and do not post video or images. Delete any such previous posts.” Instructions like this are known by Chinese journalists and bloggers as “Directives from the Ministry of Truth.” More than 2,600 such instructions have been collected on the website China Digital Times.

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WeGov

Crowdsourced Internet Freedom Bill a First for Filipino Lawmakers

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, July 31 2013

Philippine Congress (Wikipedia)

Only a week into a new congressional term, lawmakers in the Philippines have introduced bills that would repeal overreaching anti-cybercrime laws and put in place protections for Internet users. The bill known as The Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom was actually the product of a spontaneous crowdsourced initiative led by six connected and tech-savvy self-identified “tweeps.”

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