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From Data Extractors Workshop, Harare, May, 2016 (Photo: PWYP)

This is the second in a two-part Q&A about PWYP’s Data Extractors programme, its progress and its potential to help PWYP members seize the opportunities of open data. The programme’s manager James Royston, PWYP Advocacy Officer, spoke with Jed Miller, a longtime digital strategist and PWYP colleague who helped facilitate the Data Extractors workshops in Indonesia and Zimbabwe.

Q (Jed Miller): The past 20 days have been a critical time for the PWYP movement, with multiple oil companies releasing new data and details about their payments, and with U.S. regulators announcing a final version of the long-delayed Dodd-Frank rules for company reporting. So even though you and I spoke just a couple of weeks ago, a lot has happened. What are the members of the Extractors programme seeing over these first few weeks of “the new normal?”

Pen and Figures

It is a historic year for the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) movement, as oil and mining companies begin to issue new and newly-detailed reports on their payments to governments. The anticipated windfall of data is the result of new regulations in Europe and Canada, and similar transparency requirements are likely to come into effect soon for companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges.

As PWYP and its partners prepare to harvest this new supply of data, we are increasingly aware of the challenges on ‘the demand side’ of financial disclosures. Most financial data does not magically appear online in easy-to-find locations or easy-to-use formats. As companies become more open with their data, campaigners must become more adept at using it.

AR-Scribing-Edited_Global-Standard

As citizens in many democracies seek greater participation in public debate, international civil society organisations (ICSOs) are seeking a new model for advocacy: one where supporters become fuller participants in priority-setting and tactics, and where leadership demonstrates accountability to those participants on an ongoing basis.

“People power”, unleashed and expedited by newer technologies, can help ICSOs scale their impact – through crowdsourcing projects, for instance, that harness the input of thousands of unconnected individuals, or through networked campaigns that disseminate not only information but also campaign leadership across hundreds of small groups and thousands of miles.

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