United States and Brazil launch transparency initiative to fight corruption

In a July 12 ceremony in Washington, D.C., Brazil and the United States outlined a new multilateral initiative, the "Open Government Partnership" (OGP), which aims to find ways to combat corruption and promote transparency, according to a U.S. State Department statement and the newspaper O Globo.

The open government initiative will be comprised of more than 50 countries, led by an international steering committee that includes Mexico, the United Kingdom, Norway, Indonesia, South Africa, and the Philippines, according to the Christian Science Monitor. News of the partnership between the United States and Brazil came after U.S. President Barack Obama visited Brazil in March.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, praised the transparency measures taken by the Brazilian government, according to BBC Brasil.

Still, despite co-chairing the initiative, Brazil still has not managed to pass an information access law, considered to be one of the main criteria for participating in the Open Government Partnership.

A Brazilian freedom of information bill has been stalled in Congress since 2009. The bill's approval has been delayed several times in the Senate because of political pressure to keep government documents classified indefinitely.

Nick Judd, writing for TechPresident, also points out that not only does Brazil not have an information access law, but the Obama administration also does not have the most stellar transparency record.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.