What’s New

  • 19 November 2009

    Access Info Unveils Question to Brussels Report on Requesting EU Information

    Brussels, Belgium — In April 2009, an internal guide from the EU Directorate General (DG) for Trade revealed that public officials were being given tips on how not to record information and how to avoid providing documents to the public. Access Info has launched a report on its follow-up investigations into the internal guides of 16 […]

  • 16 November 2009

    In Shanghai, President Obama Recognizes Access to Information as Universal Right

    by Yvette M. Chin Shanghai, China — On his first trip to Asia, President Obama made unequivocal statements about access to information as a universal human right at a rare town-hall style meeting of university students November 16. Over 2 years ago, the Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Open Government Information (OGI Regulations) […]

  • 20 October 2009

    New Report on Aid Transparency: Not Available! Not Accessible!

    Madrid, Spain — Transparency NGO Access Info Europe released a report on October 20 entitled “Not Available! Not Accessible!” to coincide with the opening of the International Aid Transparency Initiative’s conference of donors and recipient governments in the Hague. The report shows how donor governments are failing to make available the information needed to prevent corruption in […]

  • 16 October 2009

    Justice Minister Rejects Much-Needed Reforms to Canada’s 26-Year-Old Transparency Law

    Recommendations Called for Broad Expansion of Information Commissioner’s Mandate Ottawa, Canada — In June 2009, the House of Commons Committee on access to information, privacy, and ethics made recommendations to modernize and expand the scope of Canada’s 26-year-old Access to Information Act. However, Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson rejected these recommendations as cumbersome and unnecessary, sparking complaints […]

  • 7 October 2009

    Saber Mas: New Report on Access to Information in Latin America

    Open government advocates offer first-hand accounts of FOI promotion in Latin America Latin America’s leading open government advocates recently released a report, bringing together data from 17 countries and offering new findings on the status of freedom of information in the region. The Regional Alliance for Freedom of Expression and Information (Alianza Regional para la […]

  • 30 September 2009

    OSCE Ambassador Statements Mar International Right to Know Day Event

    by Yvette M. Chin Podgorica, Montenegro — The head of the the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) mission to Montenegro, Ambassador Paraschiva Badescu, committed a diplomatic faux pas in the middle of an International Right to Know Day event, asserting that requests for information “need to be justified.” Civil society organizations rejected these unfounded […]

  • 25 September 2009

    The World Prepares for International Right To Know Day, 28 September 2009

    The 7th International Right to Know Day on 28th of September 2009 will mark a year of historic advances for the right of access to information and will be celebrated by the Freedom of Information Advocate’s Network which has around 200 organizations in 75 countries who are calling for universal respect for the public’s right […]

  • 25 August 2009

    US Torture Files and Access to Human Rights Information

    By Jesse Franzblau and Emilene Martinez-Morales Washington, DC — The US government’s August 24, 2009, release of a controversial CIA 2004 Inspector General report on torture brings new attention to the issue of how information on human rights abuses is treated and should be treated under freedom of information laws. Deadlines set by a federal […]

  • 17 July 2009

    Safeguarding the Right to Information: Report of the People’s RTI Assessment 2008 in India

    A Comprehensive Look at the Implementation and Use of India’s RTI Act New Delhi, India — In the first two years of access-to-information implementation in India, about 1.6 million requests for information were made in urban areas, while an additional 400,000 applications were made in the rural villages. Taking such a large-scale access-to-information regime head on, […]

  • 19 June 2009

    Lessons from Media Coverage for the Right-to-Know in Latin America

    By Greg Michener In the last year or so, Latin America has been abuzz with news on right-to-know campaigns. But some countries have been buzzing louder than others. Uneven media attention to transparency policy is a global phenomenon with serious implications for institutional effectiveness, especially given the significant connection between news coverage and the strength […]

  • 19 June 2009

    12 European Countries Sign First International Convention on Access to Official Documents

    Advocates Urge 37 Remaining Council of Europe Members to Sign Tromsø, Norway — On June 18, 2009, 12 of 47 member-states of the Council of Europe signed the Convention on Access to Official Documents, making history as the first international binding legal instrument that recognizes a general right of access to official documents held by public authorities. […]

  • 12 June 2009

    Debate about PM Gordon Brown’s Proposed Changes to UK Freedom of Information Act

    Discussion Rekindled about Cabinet Minutes and Revelations of Widespread MP Corruption By Yvette M. Chin London, United Kingdom — Civil society organizations and the news media have expressed mixed feelings about Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s proposed changes to the United Kingdom‘s Freedom of Information Act. Official documents could now be routinely released after 20 years instead of […]

  • 27 May 2009

    Developments in Brazil

    President Lula da Silva Sends Draft FOI Bill to Congress National Archive Launches Website with Historical Records from Dictatorship Recent developments in Brazil have fueled a growing debate on open government, historical memory, and truth and justice initiatives in the country. On May 13, 2009, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva sent a long-awaited draft […]

  • 22 May 2009

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  • 22 May 2009

    Caucasus FOI Advocates Discuss Common Problems and Plan Cooperation

    May 2009 Workshop in Georgia Compares FOI Laws and Practices Across Region Telavi, Georgia — Some 25 freedom of information advocates and practitioners from the Caucasus region convened on May 8-11, 2009, to compare the laws and the practices across the region and to outline some common strategies to strengthen the right of access in […]

  • 19 May 2009

    Freedom of Information Legislation and the Media in Latin America

    By Greg Michener 2008 was a big year for freedom of information movements in Latin America. Three countries passed access to information laws last year (Uruguay, Chile, and Guatemala), officially institutionalizing the publics right to know. Varying degrees of media attention, however, had a significant effect on the relative strength of each law. I have […]

  • 8 May 2009

    Jimmy Carter Presses for Greater Access to Information in the Americas

    Sao Paulo Gives Jimmy Carter Highest Award in Recognition of Human Rights Former US President Jimmy Carter publicly pressed for widespread support for Brazil’s pending transparency law last week. The government has pledged to pass an access to information law this year, as reported previously by freedominfo. On Sunday, May 3rd, Carter was given the […]

  • 1 May 2009

    Guatemala’s Transparency Law in Action

    Over 8,000 NGOs and Private Contractors Also Subject to the Law Guatemala City, Guatemala — On April 21, 2009, Guatemala’s Law for Free Access to Public Information went into effect, officially allowing citizens to request information from 1,000 government offices and over 8,000 NGOs that manage public resources. Manfredo Marroquín of the citizen action group Acción Ciudadana […]

  • 21 April 2009

    A Landmark Day in Chile as New Transparency Law Comes into Effect

    Santiago, Chile Yesterday Chiles Transparency and Access to Public Information Law (Law 20.2285) came into force, marking a significant step toward making the Chilean government more transparent and responsive to the Chilean people. The law applies to all levels of government, from the federal ministries to the municipal governments, including the armed forces, the police, […]

  • 14 April 2009

    World Bank Releases Extremely Useful Reports on Access to Information Implementation

    Over the past few months, the World Bank has recently published a series of extremely useful reports by experts on access to information laws. Using comparative case studies, together these reports provide an overview of the whole life cycle of access to information (ATI) legislation, from adoption to implementation and enforcement. One report examines the role of civil society groups in the formulation and adoption of access to information laws in Bulgaria, India, Mexico, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Another examines the institutional and logistical nuts-and-bolts of implementation, using Mexico as a case study, while the third report looks at models of enforcement in several countries: South Africa, Mexico, Scotland, India, and Hungary.