Oct 23, 14

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politics

Who Runs London?: New Guide Facilitates Transparency

Who does run London? A new guide [PDF] to public bodies in the UK capital, by New London Architecture (NLA) and the London Communications Agency, yields the answer: 'it's complicated'. And yet, the three-page guide does a remarkable amount to lay the foundations for answering the question further. The 'Who Runs London?' guide illustrates the web of ministries, assemblies, agencies and councils that together run London in a visual diagram (see example below). Additional information about...

politics

TED Global 2010: Peter Eigen and Global Transparency

Peter Eigen, the founder of Transparency International, warns us that our governance systems are failing us in the face of a globalized economy. We can see evidence of this failing governance: billions of poor, hungry, people without access to sanitation. And we can see that some problems are beyond the reach of national or multinational governance: the image of a helpless Obama at a oil-covered beach, a helpless Ban Ki Moon at a refugee camp. Eigen was World Bank director for East Africa...

politics

Threatened Voices: An Interactive Map

My friend and colleage Sami Ben Gharbia just launched a fascinating and useful new site: Threatened Voices. It’s an interactive map of bloggers under arrest and under threat around the world, with an accompanying timeline that makes it possible to track the phenomenon of arresting bloggers over the past several years. It’s an uncomfortable fact that, as blogs become a more influential public space, the technique of arresting bloggers to silence online speech becomes increasingly...

politics

Hossein Derakhshan, Now Detained for Over a Year

Hossein Derakhshan (”Hoder”) has now been in prison in Iran for more than a year. My friend Cyrus Farivar has followed his case closely, and has been in touch with Hoder’s family, who confirm that he’s beeing held in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison. Reports from the activist group Human Rights in Iran suggest that Hoder has been held in solitary confinement for long periods of time, beaten and otherwise mistreated, and that Hoder was considering a hunger strike...

politics

Paul Van Zyl: Why America Needs a TRC

Ethan Zuckerman is blogging from Camden, Maine, at the wonderful Pop!Tech conference. Paul Van Zyl was an anti-apartheid organizer in South Africa. When Mandela became president, he became the executive secretary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and he’s now co-founder and EVP of the International Center for Transitional Justice. He explains that in the four years from Mandela’s release from prison to free elections, an enormous amount of work had to be done. South...

politics

On Connecting The Dots - A Response To Lessig On Transparency

Celebrated legal scholar, intellectual property activist and now congressional reformer Lawrence Lessig has written a provocative and somewhat surprising article in this month’s New Republic. Titled “Against Transparency“, the article questions whether a move towards increasing government transparency – as advocated by President Obama as a candidate and by nonprofit groups like the Sunlight Foundation – will lead towards better government or, as he fears,...

politics

Tip Of The Day - Welcome To Hebron

If ever you happen to be in Patras (Greece) on Sunday, Oct 4th, for the International Film Festival don't miss the screening of the film Welcome to Hebron. If, like i guess most of the readers, you can't make it to Patras, you can also catch the film in Montpellier at the end of the month or in Stockholm and in Kassel in November. Two weeks ago Welcome to Hebron won a prize at the Cinefest Daazo Competition in Hungary. I saw it recently in London. The film was part of Goshka Macuga's...

politics

China Gradually Improves Environmental Transparency

Very little is known about pollution levels throughout China, despite the country's worsening air quality and imperiled waterways. In 2006, Chinese environmentalist Ma Jun estimated that 100 cities nationwide provided no public data on water pollution. Two years later, the Ministry of Environmental Protection authorized its Measures on Open Environmental Information, a new effort at public disclosure. The freedom-of-information law requires municipalities to provide details on which...

politics

The Rights of Future Generations

Some people seem to have a hard time even understanding the concept of the rights of future generations. The idea that people who do not yet exist have the right to assert their needs in our lives is one that seems to be hard to fully grasp. Think of this example: If someone set a bomb to go off in a public square 100 years from now, is he committing a crime? Should he be stopped? Almost everyone would say yes. Should he be tried before a court of law and prevented from doing further harm?...

politics

VIDEO: A New Sound

by Eric Hess Green For All (the organization started by Van Jones in 2007) has a new video out that’s worth taking two minutes to watch: (If the video doesn't work, watch it on YouTube.) Why do I like it? It gives a clear audible and visual depiction of the difference between a dirty fossil fuel economy and a clean energy economy. Visually demonstrating green jobs — along with promoting smart policies to back them up — helps move the issue into the foreground of public debate. And...

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