No Data, No Accountability

The worldwide trend in data is toward greater openness. Governments, NGOs and private industry worldwide are moving swiftly towards hosting data online.

Open data sources provided by these groups have proliferated, and we now have a large number of tools for creating interactive visuals of this information. Even data that is not hosted online is becoming more accessible.

Over the past two decades, right to information laws in Pakistan have also taken root. Given that, journalists in Pakistan should now have unfettered access to a large amount of public data.

Unfortunately, this has not been the case. The patchwork of provincial laws that govern access to public data can be hard to navigate, and enforcement still lags.

Despite these challenges, Truth Tracker journalists are committed to making requests and demanding that the laws be enforced and improved – until all the information that should be public, is made public. This is an important part of their role in a democracy.

Even with improved access to data, journalists must be wary of the quality of this information, and also must guard against drawing inaccurate conclusions from it.

In working with data, journalists must always examine the source of the information and ask questions about it: “How was this information collected?” “What information isn’t here that would be helpful in for this story?”

Truth Tracker journalists are committed to questioning the data, finding the stories that it tells and telling our readers the truth.

The growth of publicly available data is a boon for news organizations and, especially so, for Truth Tracker as it focuses on keeping public officials accountable. Without data on the actions of our elected officials and the effectiveness of their programs, how will the public know if they have kept their campaign promises?

Our reporting strives to be neutral and factual, so that you the reader can make this decision for yourself.

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