single Category Archives transparency

files_in_gyumri_300.jpgAn aspiring government watchdog in Armenia faces an uphill battle. Weak safeguards against corruption and a government-dominated media have led to widespread distrust of elected officials and most news outlets. A recent Open Society Foundations report cites the country for "lack of independence of regulatory institutions, non-transparent media ownership," and a slow-developing media sector.

Levon Barseghyan, activist and founder of the Journalists Club Asparez, says mainstream media has so little credibility that Armenians watch state TV using "a vice versa approach."

Asparez (or "Arena") hosts one of the country's top 10 news web sites, To foster public knowledge and government accountability, they are also tracking public funding to schools and regional governments, then posting and charting the results online at

Solid strategies, the wisdom of peers and an upbeat realism were the themes driving last month's Bridging Session for international advocates and technology groups promoting transparency. Like our 2011 session, the event sought to build bridges between policy and technology experts. Participants from five continents met in Glen Cove, New York from November 27 through November 30. The attending NGOs shared a commitment to improving disclosure and citizen knowledge about government budgets and natural resource wealth, but many of the week's lessons turn out to apply across all forms of advocacy. Web sites and mobile tools can help citizens and leaders improve governance and uncover corruption, but the full potential of these tools often remains untapped. Through the "TABridge" project, the Transparency and Accountability Initiative (T/AI) seeks to improve collaboration on tech projects by identifying gaps in knowledge and improving funding strategies. Some presentations were highly structured, to expose people…