What’s New

  • 5 December 2011

    U.S. Unveils Open Source Code for Open Gov Sites

    The U.S. government Dec. 5 unveiled “open source code” designed to help governments manage data and ultimately create more open government  platforms around the world. The development grew from an U.S.-India collaboration and a next step, according to the White House blog post, will be an Indian announcement concerning software for an Open Government Platform […]

  • 2 December 2011

    OGP to Discuss South Africa Secrecy Law, Other Topics

    What to do about member countries that backslide on transparency will be discussed Dec. 6 by the Open Government Partnership Steering Committee, with the backdrop being South Africa’s plan to adopt what critics call a “secrecy bill.” At least one commentator, with strong links to the OGP, has called on the nine representatives of civil […]

  • 1 December 2011

    FOI Notes: Video, Opportunities, Articles

    FOI Update: The FOI Advocates Network has announced plans to create The Right to Information World Advocacy Update. Funded by the Open Society Foundation, “the idea of the document is to help us all understand the successes and challenges for advocates in each region and learn from good case studies as well as get more […]

  • 28 November 2011

    Obama Issues Order on Record Management

    The Obama Administration Nov. 28 issued a memorandum on the management of government records, setting the stage for the expanded use of digital-based recordkeeping systems. “The current federal records management system is based on an outdated approach involving paper and filing cabinets,” President Obama said in announcing the orders. “Today’s action will move the process into […]

  • 28 November 2011

    Three Countries Join OGP; Disclosure Policy Criticized

    Demark, Armenia and Paraguay have joined the Open Government Partnership, bringing OGP membership to 49. Their commitments come as the OGP prepares for a meeting in Brazil Dec. 7-8 and as comments arrive on the organization’s proposed disclosure policy. In other OGP-related developments: –          Tanzania’s efforts to prepare its action plan were faulted in several […]

  • 28 November 2011

    Second Malaysian State Approves FOI Legislation

    The Malaysian state of Penang has approved a freedom of information bill, the second state in Malaysia to do so. Selangor passed a bill in April. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.) The Penang Freedom of Information Enactment 2010 “seems to have incorporated some suggestions for improvement made by civil society groups consulted by the Select Committee,” […]

  • 25 November 2011

    FOI Notes: Latin America, Kenya, U.S., Nigeria, More

    Latin American: “Supreme Audit Agencies in Latin America: Report on Transparency, Participation and Accountability,” a report in English and Spanish coordinated by Asociacion Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia. Kenya: Global Integrity has a new report out “a bottom-up scorecard of transparency, anti-corruption and accountability efforts in Kenya’s three largest cities – Kisumu, Mombasa […]

  • 25 November 2011

    EU Parliament Committee Approves New Access Law

    A committee of the European parliament Nov. 23 approved a proposal to improve access to European Union documents. The amendments from the Civil Liberties Committee will be put to a plenary vote in December, according to the committee’s announcement, which stated: The purpose of the amended version of Regulation 1049/2001 is to give the fullest […]

  • 23 November 2011

    Zambia Pledges Open Process to Develop FOI Bill

    Positive signs continue in Zambia for freedom of information with a top governmental official promising an open process to develop the bill, a pledge of support from the World Bank and a Catholic bishop urging its enactment. Information, Broadcasting and Tourism Minister Given Lubinda said Nov. 22 that the Patriotic Front government intends to constitute a […]

  • 22 November 2011

    South African Parliament Approves Secrecy Bill

    South Africa’s parliament Nov. 22 voted to approve the Protection of State Information Bill, moving it closer to enactment and to promised court challenges. The ruling African National Conference pushed the “secrecy bill” through on a 229-107 vote despite defections by several ANC members. The ANC rejected calls to change the bill, which now  goes before […]

  • 21 November 2011

    President Rousseff Signs Access to Information Law

    President Dilma Rousseff Nov. 18 signed into law a Brazilian access to information law. The new law (in English and in Portuguese) will become effective in 180 days. Rousseff vetoed two provisions: a mandatory notification to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in cases when access to information essential to safeguard human rights is denied and another concerning […]

  • 18 November 2011

    UN Neutral on Name for Sept. 28, UNESCO Official States

    UNESCO does not have a specific position on what to call Sept. 28, according to Guy Berger, the director of the Freedom of Expression and Media Development. Berger wrote to FreedomInfo.org Nov. 14 concerning whether Sept, 28 should remain “Right to Know Day” or be changed to “Right to Information Day” if it is internationally recognized […]

  • 18 November 2011

    AP Looking for New Subject to Continue FOI Testing

    The Associated Press, which this week unveiled the results of a worldwide test of national access laws, is looking to do it again. Having invited the public to make suggestions for the next topic, the AP may embark on another FOI-related project, according to AP officials. The AP requested information on terrorism arrests and convictions […]

  • 18 November 2011

    Donor Group Plans $5 Million Transparency Research Effort

    The Transparency?and ?Accountability Initiative is planning  “a rigorous ?multi?year? research proposal?on? the? impact ?of ?T/A? interventions.” The London-based organization on Dec. 14 requested submissions?by?research or evaluation institutions or consortia to develop a project. The “budget envelope” is $5 million. “The ?aim ?is ?to ?fill ?critical ?gaps ?in ?our ?knowledge?about T/A [transparency and accountability] interventions? and […]

  • 17 November 2011

    Half of FOI Laws Not Working, AP Concludes

    “More than half the countries with right-to-know laws do not follow them,” the Associated Press concluded after conducting an international test of access laws. AP reporters submitted questions in January “about terrorism arrests and convictions, vetted by experts, to the European Union and the 105 countries with right-to-know laws or constitutional provisions.” The results are […]

  • 16 November 2011

    South African Government Brings POIB Up for Debate

    The South African Parliament on Nov 16 began debate on the controversial protection of information. While government ministers called the measure necessary and not aimed at the media, critics said that the government had failed to consult widely as promised and that the bill’s faults remained. A vote next week is expected with court challenges […]

  • 16 November 2011

    Zambian Official Predicts FOI Passage in 6 Months

    Officials continue to offer hope for the passage of a freedom of information law in Zambia. Information, Broadcasting and Tourism Minister Given Lubinda recently he hopes a FOI bill will be in place within the next six months. On Oct. 7, Zambia’s vice president said a bill would be proposed within 90 days. (See previous […]

  • 16 November 2011

    Kenya Begins Process of Developing FOI Legislation

    Kenya, with a newly minted constitutional provision guaranteeing access to information, is moving toward the development of a law to implement the right. Consideration of a freedom of information bill and a data protection bill has been started by the Constitution Implementation Commission, working with civil society groups. Among those involved are the Kenya Section […]

  • 16 November 2011

    Japan: Greater Openness or Greater Secrecy?

    By Lawrence Repeta Repeta is a professor of law, Meiji University, Japan, and a member of the board of directors of Information Clearinghouse Japan (the leading Japanese NGO advocating and monitoring Japan’s information access laws) The Japan Times recently carried an editorial that neatly summarized some basic information policy issues facing the country’s Democratic Party of Japan […]

  • 14 November 2011

    Implementation of Bangladesh RTI Law Needs Improvement

    By Robaet Ferdous and Jagaran Chakma Ferdous is an Associate Professor, Dhaka University and Chakma is a Staff Reporter of The Independent where this article first appeared on Oct. 29, 2011. Reprinted with permission. The Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2009, was  adopted in the first session of the Ninth Parliament on March 29, 2009. […]