Centre for Internet & Society

Sumandro led a knowledge sharing session at this event organized by Myanmar ICT Development Organization (MIDO) on May 14, 2015.

The session focused on the making of the global open data movement, the open data policy in India and its linkages with the Right to Information Act, the experience of the making of the Right to Information Act in India and its implementational challenges, the emerging open data activities in India and its opportunities and challenges. The issue of Myanmar’s decision to become part of the Open Government Partnership was discussed. The initiative started during Barack Obama's visit in Myanmar in 2012.

The NGOs in Myanmar since then have boycotted talks with the government regarding this topic, as they have felt that the government did not involve them in the decision in the first place. The Myanmar government has promised to be part of OGP by 2016. The NGOs in Myanmar has started to engage with the OGP process on their own. This is being led by the Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability, or MATA. MIDO is a member of the Alliance. Also, Nwezin Win of National NGO Network of Myanmar has also become a civil society member of the OGP Steering Committee during the rotation of the committee in 2014.

In a brief discussion regarding how open data can be part of the OGP conversations in Myanmar, and the role that MIDO can play in this, Sumandro suggested that MATA focuses both on articulating a demand for open data and information from the government, and on increasing the capacities to work with data among its members. MIDO has critical roles to play in both the demand and supply side of open data and information, especially since ICT capabilities of NGOs in Myanmar are often not sufficient, and it is very important to raise general awareness about technical qualities of open data and information impact the way such data and information can be used in transparency and accountability initiatives.

Filed under: