It’s a mess. As France hosts on December 7-9 the global summit on Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Paris, a sort of COP21 for open democracy, ten French organizations promoting civil and digital liberties are calling for a boycott, pointing to poor results in terms of open democracy.
Co-presided by the French government since October 2016, OGP includes 70 countries and aspires to a new form of collaboration between governments and civil society, in order to find solutions that tackle the big challenges faced by democracies: human rights, environmental protection, anti-corruption efforts, access to knowledge, etc.
For the associations and collectives April, Bloom, Democracy OS France, Fais ta loi, Framasoft, Ligue des Droits de l’Homme, Regards Citoyens, République citoyenne, SavoirsCom1 and La Quadrature du Net, France is far from exemplary. In a statement released before the summit on December 5, they list the attacks on democracy in France and “criticize” its flawed expression of open democracy. Among their gripes: the extension until May 2017 of the state of emergency in France and its parade of exceptional measures; the controversial decree passed in early November to create the TES (Secure Electronic Titles) file, a database of 60 million French citizens; the “Equality and citizenship” bill drafted by senators “to combat anonymous slander on the Internet”, which upsets the foundations of the Law of 1881 regulating the rights of the press.
They also denounce a system of citizen participation biased by conflicts of interest, technological choices that contradict the open principles they advocate, and hard-to-believe promises regarding “the commons”.
Read the full statement (in French)