Archive for 2006

  • 13 November 2006

    World Bank Anticorruption Strategy May Spark Changes in Disclosure Policy

    Adoption of a new anticorruption strategy at the World Bank may lead to changes in the Bank’s disclosure policy. The broad suggestions of such changes must still be converted into specific proposals, however–a process that has only just begun. If fully implemented, the changes could bring about improved transparency on proposed Bank projects and their […]

  • 25 October 2006

    UNDP Panel Makes First Decision, And Guts Disclosure Policy

    Alasdair Roberts Syracuse University The UNDP Oversight Panel, established in 1997 to oversee the organization’s Information Disclosure Policy, issued the first decision in its history on October 9. Unfortunately, the decision robs the Information Disclosure Policy of most of its power. The UNDP Policy is widely regarded as a model for other international organizations. It […]

  • 12 October 2006

    Inter-American Court Finds Fundamental Right of Access to Information

    In the first decision of its kind from an international tribunal, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled yesterday that there is a fundamental human right to access government information. In the case of Claude Reyes and others vs. Chile, the Court found in favor of three environmental activists who in 1998 sought information from […]

  • 28 September 2006

    International Right to Know Day 2006

    International Right to Know Day was established to mark the founding on 28 September 2002 of the global Freedom of Information Advocates Network. The 4th International Right to Know Day is being celebrated in 2006. The aim of Right to Know Day is to raise awareness of every individual’s right of access to government-held information: […]

  • 22 September 2006

    Hungarian Government Releases NATO Secrecy Policy Document

    UPDATE – 11 OCTOBER 2006 In response to a subsequent HCLU request, the Hungarian National Security Superintendence recently released an additional, previously secret NATO document entitled “Directive on the Security of Information,” dated 2005. The directive, enacted in support of NATO Security Policy C-M(2002)49, contains mandatory provisions related to classification, marking and handling of sensitive information, […]

  • 22 September 2006

    Access to Article IV Reports Remains Major IMF Disclosure Issue

    The major disclosure issue at the International Monetary Fund remains access to its key reports about member countries, the so-called Article IV reports. Although more of these reports are now released–about 83 percent of them–there are still more than 30 countries that legally veto their disclosure. This core of resistance includes some larger countries, including […]

  • 22 September 2006

    World Bank Disclosure Policies Change Slowly

    Notwithstanding periodic reviews and modest advances, the World Bank’s disclosure policies continue to shield many important documents from disclosure. Take, for example, the baby step forward in 2005 to release minutes of Board meetings. An advance, no doubt, but the minutes themselves are skeletal. The much more useful "summaries" of Board meetings, though carefully-worded to […]

  • 22 September 2006

    GTI Launches Transparency Charter

    A set of principles to inform the disclosure policies of international financial institutions was announced Sept. 17 in Batam, Indonesia, by the Global Transparency Initiative (GTI). The nine principles were developed, with public comment, over the past year by the GTI, a nongovernmental network of civil society organizations of which is a member. It […]

  • 7 September 2006

    Australia: High Court Sides with Bureaucrats, Rolling Back Right to Information

    The Australian High Court yesterday in a decision in McKinnon v. Secretary, Department of Treasury dealt a crushing blow to the country’s 24-year-old Freedom of Information Law, setting a precedent that permits government bureaucrats to deny public requests for information on the basis of broad claims of potential harm. The High Court found that Treasurer […]

  • 31 August 2006

    INDIA: Right to Information in Jeopardy

    Just six months after the Right to Information Act came into force, the bureaucrats in the Indian government are on the verge of rolling back the Act’s progressive access provisions. In July 2006, without any public consultation, the Cabinet approved amendments to the RTI that exclude from disclosure file notings contained in many of the […]

  • 18 August 2006

    In India, Right to Information in Jeopardy

    Just six months after the Right to Information Act came into force, the bureaucrats in the Indian government are on the verge of rolling back the Act’s progressive access provisions. In July 2006, without any public consultation, the Cabinet approved amendments to the RTI that exclude from disclosure file notings contained in many of the […]

  • 18 August 2006

    Mexican Newsweekly Asks for Access to Contested Ballots, Uses Access to Information Act to Request Independent Count

    By Emilene Martínez Morales and Jesse Franzblau, National Security Archive’s Mexico Project Editing Assistance Farrah Hassen and Michael Baney In the spirit of the right to know Mexican newsweekly Proceso has requested access to documents, tally sheets and ballots pertaining to the July 2, 2006 presidential elections via four different requests through Mexico’s Freedom of […]

  • 4 August 2006

    World Bank Continues Work on Anticorruption Strategy

    Liberally sprinkled with references to “transparency,” the latest internal World Bank draft anticorruption strategy appears to follow through on President Paul Wolfowitz’s pledge to increase investment in the areas of media and freedom of information. While lacking in operational details, the “revised draft” of July 20, 2006, obtained by, calls for a new stress […]

  • 17 July 2006

    UNDP Seminar Spotlights Complexity of Expanding Right to Know

    By Toby McIntosh Fostering the right to know in developing countries requires multi-faceted, flexible strategies, according to the minutes of a May 2006 seminar sponsored by the United Nations Development Program. The 31 seminar participants, with practical experience in many parts of the world, reviewed the impediments to improving government transparency and shared insights on […]

  • 14 July 2006

    Documentos en Defensa del Medio Ambiente

    Emilene Martinez-Morales para Coordinadora de Programas de Transparencia, Proyecto Mexico, National Security Archive, George Washington University Inglés Grupos ambientalistas en México, desde el estado de Chiapas hasta Coahuila, están utilizando exitosamente la leyes de acceso a información impactando directamente políticas relacionadas con la ecología. El trabajo de estas organizaciones ha arrojado información clave en […]

  • 14 July 2006

    Using FOI Laws in Mexico in Defense of the Environment

    Español Environmental groups in Mexico, from the southern state of Chiapas to Coahuila on the U.S. border, are actively using access to information laws to directly impact ecological policies. Their work has shed light on the controversial La Parota Dam project in the state of Guerrero and uncovered irregularities in the administration of water services […]

  • 27 June 2006

    Two Steps Forward, One Step Backwards: The Access to Information Campaign in Argentina

    By Martha Farmelo and Mariela Belski Martha Farmelo is Coordinator of the Freedom of Expression Program and Mariela Belski Coordinator of the Access to Public Information Program at the Buenos Aires-based Association for Civil Rights ( Which is preferable, a severely flawed national access to information law, or no law at all? Freedom of information […]

  • 31 May 2006

    Info Commissioners Meet in Manchester: 4th International Conference Separates Officials, NGOs

    By Emilene Martinez-Morales for Transparency Programs Coordinator, Mexico Project, National Security Archive, George Washington University Delegates from more than 40 countries participated this month in the 4th International Conference of Information Commissioners (ICIC), which took place in Manchester, United Kingdom, on May 22nd and May 23rd, hosted by the U.K. Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas. […]

  • 9 May 2006

    EIB Adopts New Disclosure Policy

    The European Investment bank has released its new disclosure policy, making a variety of improvements while sticking to secrecy in several areas. The changes were “welcomed’ as “a step in the right direction” by the CEE Bankwatch Network, a nongovernmental organization that monitors the EIB. Toby Mendel, from Article 19, commented: “We are pleased to […]

  • 13 April 2006

    Wolfowitz Stresses Media and FOI as Anticorruption Tools

    World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz on April 11 put “the media and freedom of information” at the heart of his anti-corruption agenda, raising intriguing, if yet unanswered, questions about the specifics of his plans. “I will be asking my staff in high-risk countries to develop a strategy to mobilize all World Bank instruments — loans, […]


In this column, Washington, D.C.-based journalist Toby J. McIntosh reports on the latest developments in information disclosure in International Financial and Trade Institutions (IFTI).
Contact: or
1-(703) 276-7748