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Penplusbytes & Parliamentary Press Corps Participate in GLOW 2016


Penplusbytes, a member of the Parliamentary Monitoring Organizations (PMOs), has been working over the years using digital technologies to create a strong, open and accountable parliament, through enhancing citizens’ participation in the legislative process. In this light, Penplusbytes on September 16, 2016 trained 30 media personnel from the Parliamentary Press Corps in using data journalism tools to tell compelling stories about the parliament of Ghana and also prepare ahead of Ghana’s 2016 elections at the New Media Hub in Accra.

The training coincided with the third annual Global Legislative Openness Week (GLOW) activities around the world which took place from 12th to 16th September, 2016.

The training workshop was aimed at addressing the need to equip the parliamentary press corps, who are tasked to inform citizens about the responsibility of parliament and the role they play in our democracy, with digital tools that will enhance their work while engaging with both the members of Parliament and the citizenry.

GLOW is an annual celebration of open, participatory legislative processes around the world and as a member of the parliamentary openness community, Penplusbytes used the training workshop to mark the global celebration.

The Parliamentary Press Corps whose members are drawn from various news organisations were taken through the use of data visualizations to tell compelling stories to advance the cause of open parliament. They were also given the basics in creative story telling through data journalism as well as social media as a tool for reporting.

The journalists after the workshop were grateful to Penplusbytes for the initiative while calling for more of such trainings to enhance their work.

In response, Jeremiah Sam, Programmes Director at Penplusbytes said, “Penplusbytes’ work over the years has heavily involved the media and GLOW 2016 gave us yet another opportunity to build up the capacity of one of our key stakeholders in the use of new digital tools to enrich their work.”

This year, GLOW events were organized in over 20 countries around the world, with many events made possible by the collaboration between parliament and civil society. Along with contributions by Penplusbytes, among the many highlights of GLOW 2016 are: the official launch of an openness action plan in Kosovo; meetings with MPs to discuss openness action plan implementation in Ukraine; public trainings and campaigns to call for greater access to legislative information in Indonesia, and Liberia; surveys by PMOs in Haiti and Latin America to capture public opinion on openness issues; legislative hackathons co-hosted by the government and civil society; and the development, release, and publicizing of a trove of digital tools that support legislative openness, including the Government Assurances Committee website, which was featured as a “Tech Tool of the Day.”