What’s New

  • 14 December 2012

    Kazakh FOI Legislation Stalls Without Key Sponsor Asanov

    By Saule Mukhametrakhimova Mukhametrakhimova is Central Asia Editor for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting which published this article on Dec. 11.  Reprinted with permission. A long-awaited bill on access to information in Kazakhstan is now highly unlikely to be passed this year as planned. Some of the civil society groups that invested great hopes […]

  • 14 December 2012

    FOI Notes: Personnel Moves, FOI Tips, Job, Saga, Gift Idea

    World Bank: Chris Vein, the Obama Administration’s deputy chief technology officer, is moving to the World Bank as its chief innovation officer for global information and communications technology development. United Kingdom: The Cabinet Office Dec. 13 announced the appointment of Paul Maltby as the new Director for Transparency and Open Data. “Paul will take up […]

  • 11 December 2012

    Philippines House, Senate Move FOI Legislation Slightly

    Both the Philippines House and the Senate have taken additional steps toward passing a freedom of information bill, but one of the biggest hurdles, passage by the full House, remains ahead, with the timing uncertain. On Dec. 11, the same House committee that approved the bill Nov. 27, was forced by its chairman to hold […]

  • 11 December 2012

    El Salvador Court Rules Against President on Access

    By Tania Lara This report is reprinted from the blog of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. (Spanish and Portuguese) El Salvador’s Supreme Court declared some of President Mauricio Funes’ September 2011 recommendations for the Access to Public Information Law unconstitutional, according to El Faro. The judges ruled that the Salvadoran president overstepped […]

  • 10 December 2012

    South Africa to Create Information Regulator

    A new “Information Regulator” to be created in South Africa will oversee the access to information law as well as a new data protection law, fulfilling a long-running goal of access to information activists. The development comes in the context of data protection legislation approved by the Parliament and expected to be signed into law […]

  • 10 December 2012

    EU Court Denies Access to ECB Information on Greece

    The General Court of the European Union has denied a news organization access to documents of the European Central Bank concerning the financial situation in Greece. The ruling states that the ECB may refuse access to a document where its disclosure would undermine the protection of the public interest. (See Nov. 29 press release.)  Gabi […]

  • 10 December 2012

    FOI Notes: Viewpoints, Job, Canada, Open Data, Survey

    Viewpoints: Stanford University professor Jeremy Weinstein and Princeton University professor Joshua Goldstein, write an article, “The Benefits of a Big Tent: Opening Up Government in Developing Countries,” as a reply to Harlan Yu and David Robinson’s The New Ambiguity of “Open Government.” The abstract says Bringing open data and open government under a single banner, Yu […]

  • 10 December 2012

    New Fund Hopes to Start Making Grants in Mid-2013

    The new $45 million initiative “Making All Voices Count” expects to begin making grants by mid-2013, according to an official with the U.S. Agency for International Development, one of the four donors. The $45 million will be dispensed over four years to support innovative ideas for how to help citizens and governments use mobile and […]

  • 10 December 2012

    Pakistan Government May Propose RTI Legislation

    Pakistan’s coalition government will soon present a right to information bill to parliament, according to the RTI advocacy group Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI). In July, Pakistan’s Senate formed a subcommittee to work with the information ministry to develop freedom of information legislation. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.) CPDI Program Manager Zahid Abdullah reported […]

  • 10 December 2012

    Scottish Panel Declines to Expand Reach of FOI Law

    The Finance Committee of the Scottish Parliament Dec. 5 approved a bill to amend the freedom of information law, but did not support changes urged by reformers that would extend the law to private bodies performing public functions. The committee passed the bill on second reading, which sets up a debate in full parliament, probably in mid-January. […]

  • 7 December 2012

    OGP Picks Five Persons as IRM Technical Experts

    Five persons, mostly academics, have been chosen as the five technical experts who will help guide the Open Government Partnership’s Independent Review Mechanism (IRM), along with three senior advisors named earlier. The technical experts are:  –      South African researcher Debbie Budlender, –       U.S. professor Jonathan Fox, –       Indian research fellow Yamini Aiyar, –       U.K.  research fellow […]

  • 6 December 2012

    No Support Discovered for Indian PM’s Views on RTI

    The Times of India asked the office of the prime minister to disclose the basis for PM Manmohan Singh’s October criticisms of the Right to Information Act, but has been told there are no such records, according to an article in the Times. Singh expressed concern over frivolous and vexatious RTI applications, infringement of personal […]

  • 6 December 2012

    U.S. Board Issues Report on Declassifying Documents

    The U.S. Public Interest Declassification Board Dec. 6 issued 14 recommendations, including a proposal to move from three to two levels for classifying documents. The report “centers on the need for new policies for classifying information, new processes for declassifying information, and the imperative for using and integrating technology into these processes,” according to the announcement.  […]

  • 6 December 2012

    South Africa: What is the Protection of State Information Bill?

    By Nelago Amadhila Amadhila is a political analyst with the consulting firm Political Analysis South Africa, which published this synopsis on Dec. 6. Reprinted with permission. The ANC drove final amendments to the Protection of State Information Bill through the National Council of Provinces on Thursday 29 November 2012. The amended bill was adopted by […]

  • 6 December 2012

    Irish Minister Proposes Joining OGP; Others?

    A top minister in the Irish government has proposed that Ireland join the Open Government Partnership and more information has emerged about the possibility of membership by Australia, and other countries. The Irish Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, in a Dec. 5 address stated, “I intend to bring proposals to Government shortly […]

  • 6 December 2012

    Expanding Environmental Democracy in Latin America

    By Carole Excell Excell is Senior Associate, The Access Initiative, World Resources Institute. WRI published this article on Nov. 30. A number of Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries recently took a huge step forward in ensuring environmental democracy for their citizens. At a UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) meeting […]

  • 6 December 2012

    FOI Notes: New Fund, EITI, South Africa, Open Data

    Making All Voices Count: Video and transcript of a Dec. 5 Washington event to launch a “Grand Challenge for Development,” a $45 million fund to support innovation, scaling-up, and research that will deepen existing innovations and help harness new technologies to enable citizen engagement and government responsiveness.  It is sponsored by Sweden, the UK Department […]

  • 4 December 2012

    Argentine Supreme Court Issues Major FOI Decision

    The Argentine Supreme Court of Justice Dec. 4 issued a landmark ruling (in Spanish), ordering the government to provide access to information based on the Constitution’s guarantee of a right to information. The court told the National Institute for Retirees and Pensioners (PAMI) to provide information on its advertising budget, which had been requested by […]

  • 4 December 2012

    Outdated Agency Regs Undermine US FOI Law

    Reposted from the National Security Archive. For more information contact: Tom Blanton/Nate Jones/Lauren Harper 202/994-7000 or nsarchiv@gwu.edu A government-wide Freedom of Information Act audit by the National Security Archive has found that sixty-two out of ninety-nine government agencies have not updated their FOIA regulations since US Attorney General Eric Holder issued his March 19, 2009 […]

  • 3 December 2012

    Evardone Sets Another Hurdle for Philippines FOI Legislation

    In a move called “unneccesary” and ”disturbing” by fellow legislators, Rep. Ben Evardone has said a procedural requirement means his Committee on Public Information must meet again on the freedom of information bill. He set Dec. 11 as the day for members to sign the committee report on the bill approved Nov. (See previous FreedomInfo.org […]