What’s New

  • 30 December 2011

    OGP Makes Plans for Elected Steering Committee

    By Toby McIntosh The Open Government Partnership Steering Committee plans to invite many civil society organizations to the April OGP meeting in Brazil and to have CSOs elect their representatives to the OGP government body. These are among the decisions made during a Dec. 6 meeting of the Steering Committee, according to minutes made available […]

  • 30 December 2011

    Groups Urge U.S. to Digitize Federal Holdings

    Two large U.S. civil society organizations with ties to the Obama administration Dec. 21 recommended that the government embark on a major effort to digitize more information held by government organizations. The letter stated, “Over the last year, a number of efforts have sprung up to create comprehensive digital libraries. The European Union has created […]

  • 23 December 2011

    OGP Deadline Challenging Members, Meeting Notes Say

    The Open Governance Partnership Steering Committee is continuing to develop its policies on governance and disclosure while many of the 50 member countries are grappling with the preparation of national action plans that are due in April.   Official notes from the December OGP meeting in Brazil suggest that countries are feeling the pinch of the tight […]

  • 22 December 2011

    Indian Sports Ministry Says RTI Covers Cricket Board

    The Indian Sports Ministry has asserted that the right to information law covers Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), according to a Times of India report. The ministry submitted a seven-page statement Dec. 16 to the Central Information Commission, saying that the cricket board receives “substantial indirect funding” from the government in the […]

  • 22 December 2011

    FOI Bill Introduced in Botswana by Saleshando

    A freedom of information bill has been tabled in Botswana, but will not be debated in Parliament until next year, according to a Botswana Gazette report. Member of Parliament for Gaborone Central Dumelang Saleshando introduced the measure. Saleshando, the president of the minority Botswana Congress Party, said the bill will only be debated only when […]

  • 20 December 2011

    What’s Ailing RTI? Resource Issues Plague Indian Law

    By Shonali Ghosal Ghosal is a correspondent with Tehelka magazine, based in New Delhi, which published this article in its Dec. 24 edition. Following is an interview with Shailesh Gandhi, a Central Information Commissioner. (Reprinted with permission.) The mere suggestion of any amendment to the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, sends civil society into […]

  • 19 December 2011

    Scotland Considers FOI Reforms; Dunion Urges More

    The Scottish government Dec. 16 proposed amendments “to strengthen and improve” the 10-year-old freedom of information law. Minister for Parliamentary Business Brian Adam said the proposals will “allow greater flexibility in reducing the lifespan of exemptions with a view to more information being made available earlier. It will also allow more time for the Information […]

  • 19 December 2011

    Access to Information in Cyprus Poor, Study Finds

    The official channels in Cyprus for releasing government information are weak and the public strongly favors improvements, according to the results of a recently completed study. The report was based on research, opinion surveys and consultations conducted by three nongovernmental organizations: Access Info Europe, Cyprus EU Association (KAB) and the Socio-political Studies Institute (IKME), as […]

  • 16 December 2011

    OGP Countries Begin Consultations on Action Plans

    Various Open Government Partnership countries have starting holding public consultation on their national action plans, according to reports culled from the media, tweets, and government announcements. News on this front includes: –          Latvia starting a working group, –          Tanzania posting a draft plan, and –          Canada holding a Twitter consultation. The OGP is not maintaining […]

  • 16 December 2011

    UK Says FOIA Covers Official Information in Private Emails

    The United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office Dec. 15 issued guidance “making it clear that information concerning official business held in private email accounts is subject to the Freedom of Information Act.” Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said: It should not come as a surprise to public authorities to have the clarification that information held in private […]

  • 16 December 2011

    Indonesia Pledges to Consult on Controversial Secrecy Bill

    The Indonesia government plans to discuss a controversial state secrecy bill with its opponents, according to a report in The Jakarta Globe. Under the bill, the disclosure of classified material is punishable by prison terms of three-four years plus fines, depending on the level of classification. Critics say the definition of what constitutes a state […]

  • 16 December 2011

    Results of Monitoring Study in Armenia Released by Center

    The Freedom of Information Center of Armenia has issued a comprehensive report entitled “Freedom of Information in the Republic of Armenia: 2011 Monitoring.” “The biggest problem is the absence of culture among many officials to work openly and transparently, as most of them are still not used to responding to public demands for information and […]

  • 15 December 2011

    EU Parliament Approves Transparency Rule Changes

    The European Parliament Dec. 15 voted 394-197, with 35 abstentions, to approve proposals to improve the EU’s access to documents rules. The 2-1 majority action advances the process to the stage of difficult negotiations with the EU Commission and EU Council. During debate Dec. 14, Maroš Šef?ovi?, the European commissioner for inter-institutional relations and administration, […]

  • 15 December 2011

    FOI NOTES: Videos, Videos, Aid Transparency, More

    India: To create awareness on the Right to Information Act, It’s Time To Make a Difference (ITMD) released a short film Melukolupu. ITMD plans to screen the film in rural areas to create awareness on RTI among the lesser privileged sections. United Kingdom: BBC FOI expert Martin Rosenbaum in a video providing tips on writing […]

  • 12 December 2011

    CSOs on OGP Board Caution South Africa on Secrecy Bill

    The civil society members of the Open Government Partnership Steering Committee Dec. 12 issued a statement critical of South Africa for its current efforts to pass a bill designed to protect government information that has been widely criticized as a “secrecy bill.” A broad South African civil society coalition, the Right2Know Coalition, had urged the […]

  • 12 December 2011

    EC Proposes to Update Public Data Directive

    The European Commission Dec. 12 proposed revisions to its 2003 directive on public sector information intended to encourage European governments to make more data available to the public. See the announcement and explanatory information. Other new elements of the proposal, according to the EC explanation, include: All public data that is not covered by one […]

  • 9 December 2011

    Groups Rally Support for EU Transparency Reforms

    With the European Parliament scheduled to vote Dec. 15 on a package of transparency reforms, three civil society groups are seeking to ensure passage with a letter-writing campaign. The legislation is expected to pass, but more roadblocks exist. The largest group of votes in the EU parliament, though not a majority, is that of the European […]

  • 8 December 2011

    OGP Meeting Winds Up; Consultation Plans Sought

    The two-day Open Government Partnership meeting in Brazil concluded Dec. 8 with a request from the Brazilian co-chairman for new OGP members to submit plans for civil society consultation by late January. The request came from Minister of State Jorge Hage and was reported in Twitter feeds from persons attending the meeting. Brazil co-chairs the […]

  • 8 December 2011

    Breakthrough Brightens Hopes for FOI in Philippines

    The Aquino administration has produced a long-awaited proposal for a freedom of information bill in the Philippines which has been praised by pro-FOI advocates and appears likely to pass. The issuance of a draft law came after months during which President Benigno Aquino, who had appointed a study group of top officials in November 2010 […]

  • 7 December 2011

    Greece Joins OGP; Tweets Source of Info on Meeting

    By Toby McIntosh The Open Government Partnership began a two-day “peer exchange working level meeting” Dec. 7 as Greece’s commitment to join brought OGP membership to 50. Most of the sessions were nonpublic, but some tidbits emerged via Twitter postings throughout the day. Among the newsier items: –          Kenya promised to have a draft plan […]