Campaign Begins to Urge Greater Access by ASEAN

18 November 2010

ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, should be more open, according to groups starting up a campaign promoting  a freedom of information policy for the 10-nation alliance.

 “… [I]t is high time that the ASEAN made good its rhetoric of people orientation, and start the process of developing and adopting a Freedom of or Access to Information Policy for ASEAN,” according to an article written by Nepomuceno Malaluan and Jenina Joy Chavez.

“By this we mean a set of concrete rules or policies providing for the substantive and procedural details by which the people in the region are able to access information produced or received by ASEAN and its many organs in the course of its work, subject only to narrow list of reasonable exceptions,” they said.

“We claim this as a right, based on public interest norms as well as internationally accepted legal principles.”

Malaluan is Co-Director of the Institute for Freedom of Information. Chavez is the Coordinator of Focus on the Global South-Philippines Programme. They also wrote:

“From a public interest perspective, an access to information policy will provide an indispensable platform to secure accountability, greater participation and better policies for a truly responsive community building in the region. It will also play a facilitating role for people’s advocacy on urgent regional concerns as well as in pushing for alternatives.

The article further noted that at a strategy meeting in Bangkok, “various regional and national organizations committed to develop a draft access to information policy and launch a regional campaign for its adoption by ASEAN.”

Maluluan and Chavez elaborated:  “The policy will include: an elaboration of the policy and legal basis for the instrument; the scope in terms of information and ASEAN organs covered, and to whom the right will be available; the list of exceptions; the procedure for access, including how to lodge requests, their processing and the manner by which the information will be made available or the access is denied; an appeals mechanism; and provisions for record keeping and pro-active disclosure of information.”

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Filed under: IFTI Watch


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).
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