FOI Notes: RTI Movie in India, and some other stuff

16 May 2014

RTI the Movie: A movie, Angusam, with an RTI theme by a director using one name, Manukannan, has come out in India.

One review says that “the seriousness of the issue gets diluted, what with the narration being jumpy and inconsistent, and the screenplay layered with romance, songs and sentiment.”

A plot description says:

Shiva (Skanda), son of a retired school master (Vagai Chandrasekhar seen after a long time), learns about the RTI Act and decides to become a responsible citizen. He sets out to expose a corrupt MLA (Dandapani) and his nexus with the cops. The MLA’s goons try to assault Shiva, ignorant of the fact that he had time and again bashed up a dozen armed goons single-handedly. The volte face of Anthony, a dreaded thug (Karate Raja) who is impressed by Shiva’s forthright nature, turns  a friend, is not very convincing. Thwarted at every point, it’s not an easy task for Shiva. Skanda as Shiva is adequate in his role.

The mobilising of a people’s movement and bringing in the media comes a tad too late in the narration. These elements could have been integrated in a more convincing way. Angusam had promise. If only the screenplay had been more focused.

Transparency/Accountability: Article 19 has started a new website on transparency and accountability in the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

C20: The civil society advisory group to the G20 has produced a paper on governance, setting three priorities:

Priority recommendations for the C20 Summit to consider:

1. G20 Leaders should commit to addressing lack of beneficial ownership information through public registries of beneficial owners of companies, foundations, trusts, and similar legal structures with adequate safeguards.

2. G20 Leaders should effectively address loopholes in the international tax system through an inclusive and transparent process, ensuring developing countries benefit from these tax reforms.

3. G20 Leaders should ensure that governments are open, companies transparent and citizens informed and empowered to hold decision makers, companies and investors to account.

The paper and the place to make comments is here.

United States: Voice of San Diego’s Liam Dillon describes a forthcoming study on transparency at police departments across the country by San Diego State University professor Joshua Chanin. “Police departments are not transparent,” Chanin said. “San Diego is in good company in that respect.”

New Organization: Poplus is a brand new international federation of “people who are trying to use the internet to help citizens get what they want out of governments, politicians and other powerful people. As activists and technologists, we need better ways of sharing our knowledge, and our technology. Poplus, as a federation, is going to help us do this.” An organizational meeting of about 80 people from all over the world was held in Chile.

Aid Transparency: The second annual report of the International Aid Transparency initiative. A summary says: “While IATI has reached critical mass in terms of membership and growth in publishers and has made progress, the message is clear – it is now important to improve the quality of data and ensure that it can be used to add value at country level.”

United Kingdom: Media stories using FOI are highlighted in the David Higgerson blog.

United States: Practical tips about dispute resolution and good communication on the US Ombudsman’s blog.

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