What’s New

  • 3 December 2010

    El Salvador Assembly Adopts Access Legislation

    The Legislative Assembly of El Salvador passed a bill Dec. 2 on access to public information, overcoming efforts to send it back to committee. The measure garnered 55 votes and was supported by the Alianza Republicana Nacionalista and Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (Fmln). The proposed law would establish a five-person Institute for […]

  • 3 December 2010

    Evidence of Transparency’s Benefits Scant, Promising

    Existing evidence on the impact of “transparency and accountability initiatives” (TAIs), including freedom of information,  is “weak,” according to a major new review of the research. This finding on the empirical front “does not mean that the impacts of TAIs are not significant, nor that they do not hold strong potential for change. It is […]

  • 3 December 2010

    Singh Examines History, Future of Indian R2K Law

    The genesis of the Indian right to know law is explored and directions for the future are elucidated in a detailed paper by Shekhar Singh, a founding member of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information. His insider view covers the birth of the movement in the 1990s and follows the course of the […]

  • 29 November 2010

    Journalist Urges Reform of Thai FOI Law

    A prominent journalist has urged that changes be made in Thailand’s Official Information Act (OIA), arguing that in practice the law had been “a tale of disappointment, betrayal and procrastination.” Writing in The Nation Nov. 29, Kavi Chongkittavorn called on the government to propose reforms in the context of other media-related bills that are under […]

  • 26 November 2010

    Aquino Seeks Changes in Philippine FOI Bill

    After a long post-election silence about freedom of information legislation, Philippine President Benigno Aquno has suggested various reservations. Aquino’s support for such legislation was not at issue, but calls for him to make it a priority legislation matter went unheeded. Recently legislative action on various FOI proposals has resumed. (See previous Freedominfo.org report.) The Aquino […]

  • 26 November 2010

    South Africa to Resume Work on POIB Next Year

    A South African parliamentary committee will resume work in January 2011 on the controversial Protection of Information Bill. Committee chairman Cecil Burgess said members would reconvene in the second week of January to resolve remaining points of contention around the bill, which would provide for the classification of state information and criminalize the disclosure or […]

  • 26 November 2010

    France Considers Checks on Users of Public Data

    Legislation being considered in France would permit police “behavior” checks on those who want to reuse information obtained from public bodies, according to a statement by AccessInfo and Regards Citoye. The groups said proposed amendments to the 1995 Police Security Act would significantly complicate and slow access to information in France. Consideration of the proposal […]

  • 26 November 2010

    FOI Notes: Science, Data, Environment

    Science: The relationship of the United Kingdom’s freedom of information law and scientific research is explored in a post on the blog “100 Months … and counting.” The blog reprints an article published in the Times Higher Education magazine Nov. 25. The article asks: Why, then, has Freedom of Information (FoI) legislation, a key tool in […]

  • 24 November 2010

    Working Group to Polish Philippine FOI Legislation

    A bi-partisan parliamentary working group has been formed to “further polish” a freedom of information bill for the Philippines, according to a news report on ABS-CBNNews.com. Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada was quoted as saying that the group “hopes to wrap up its work before Christmas so the measure can be reported out before the […]

  • 24 November 2010

    Work on Guyana FOI Bill Delayed; Talks Continue

    Expectations that a freedom of information bill would be introduced this year in Guyana may go unfulfilled while discussions continue on the substance of the measure. In early November, a top government spokesman said FOI legislation could be offered in the Guyana parliament this year. (See previous Freedominfo.org report.) The Leader of the Alliance for […]

  • 19 November 2010

    Indonesian Commission Opens Access to Documents

    The Indonesian Central Information Commission (KIP) Nov. 15 granted access to materials on education that had been requested by an anti-corruption activist. The order was hailed as historic by the requester, Febri Hendri, senior researcher with Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), according to a report written by Bagus BT Saragih in The Jakarta Post. “This will […]

  • 18 November 2010

    Secret Societies Exempt From Sierra Leone FOI Proposal

    “Secret societies” are exempted from the coverage of the proposed freedom of information law in Sierra Leone, according to Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai, Executive Director of the Society for Democratic Initiatives in Sierra Leone. “Secret societies are ancient cultural institutions in the Upper Guinea Coast of West Africa and their primary purpose is to regulate sexual […]

  • 17 November 2010

    Mexican Access Institute Wins Budget Battle

    Open government advocates have something to celebrate in Mexico this week, as the legislature approved a budget over the weekend of Nov. 13-14 that avoids the severe cutbacks that threatened the independent federal institute that implements Mexico’s widely-praised access-to-information law.  The institute, known by its initials IFAI (Instituto Federal de Acceso a la Información), faced a cutback of […]

  • 12 November 2010

    Work on South African POIB May Not Conclude This Year

    The chairman of the ad hoc committee in the South African parliament working on the controversial Protection of Information Bill has said Parliament will not likely pass the measure this year, according to media accounts. The committee held meetings during the week of Nov.  8 to consider amendments. One report quoted the committee chairman Cecil […]

  • 12 November 2010

    Georgia Media Ownership Bill Lacks Other Access Clauses

    A proposal to require the disclosure of media ownership in Georgia does not include wider provisions on access to public records. The website for the group Civil Georgia reported that the ruling party Nov. 12 tabled a draft law, which, if approved, will limit offshore-registered firms’ ownership in broadcast media outlets in Georgia. The proposal […]

  • 12 November 2010

    FOI Notes: India, Anti-Corruption Conference

    Public Administration Review has provided open access to an article on the first four years of the Indian law, written by Alasdair Roberts, Rappaport Professor of Law and Public Policy, Suffolk University Law School. The Indian Centre for Consumer Action, Research & Training (CUTS CART) has come out with a briefing paper on RTI, “’Analyzing the […]

  • 11 November 2010

    Sierra Leone Moves Toward Adopting FOIA Legislation

    Sierra Leone took a major toward adopting a freedom of information law Nov. 11 when Parliament gave the government-proposed bill a first reading and referred it to a committee. “After seven years of laborious work in lobbying, education of Parliamentarians and sensitization of the general public by SDI and its coalition partners, this is a […]

  • 9 November 2010

    Summary on the Progress of South Africa’s Protection of Information Bill

    By Mukelani Dimba Dimba is the Deputy Executive Director of the Open Democracy Advice Centre Introduction When the South African government introduced the Protection of Information Bill of 2010 [B 6-2010] to parliament in March 2010 no one would have predicted that such action would trigger mass-based civil society action that some say has not […]

  • 9 November 2010

    U.S., India Seek to Spread Transparency Experience

    The United States and India this week announced a joint effort to export lessons from the Indian Right to Information experience. President Obama Nov. 7 pledged “approximately” $1 million “to support the work of Indian civil society in sharing their best practices abroad.” The Indian government promised a matching commitment of in-kind assistance “that will […]

  • 5 November 2010

    Carter Center to Assess FOI Implementation Efforts

    Out of concern that many countries fail to fully and effectively implement their  freedom of information laws, the Carter Center has announced an Implementation Assessment Tool (IAT). The Atlanta-based organization founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said that “at present there is no objective means of analyzing and addressing this critical problem.” The tool […]