Archive for 2013

  • 30 December 2013

    Maldives Parliament OKs Access to Information Law

    The Parliament in the Maldives Dec. 29 nearly unanimously approved Access to Information legislation. If signed by the president, the Maldives would be the 97th country with a FOI regime. Passage “was an important step towards increasing transparency of the state institutions, ensuring greater accountability of public officials, and fighting corruption,” according to a statement […]

  • 30 December 2013

    Protestors in Denmark Carry Torches Over New FOI Law

    Amendments to the Danish freedom of information law will create more darkness, according to about 1,500 protestors who carried torches in a silent protest Dec. 19. The rally outside Christiansborg Dec. 29 came in advance of the Jan. 1 effective date of the amended law, according to a Copenhagen Post account. The main concern is that […]

  • 30 December 2013

    Paraguayan Senate Passes Access Law Amendments

    The Paraguayan Senate has approved amendments to the law on access to public information and government transparency. The bill would establish new exemptions to the law, according to a Dec. 19 report (in Spanish) in Ultimahora.com. Confidentiality would be granted to information on public security or national defense, information that might prejudice international relations or […]

  • 30 December 2013

    Journalist Sues U.S. to Get Access to Trade Documents

    William New, editor of Intellectual Property Watch, has filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain documents related to the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The US Trade Representative has denied his March 2012 request, saying that the draft text of the intellectual property chapter of the TPP is exempt as “national security information.” […]

  • 30 December 2013

    FOI Notes: Russia, India, France, UK, EU, FOI Tips, Open Data, World Bank

    Russia: The Freedom of Information Foundation reports on the monitoring of official websites in large municipalities makes proposals for improvements. Also, a nice review of transparency disappointments in Russia in 2013 by (in Russian) by Asya Suvorova. India: Maharashtra will soon become the first state to allow online RTI requests, according to an article in […]

  • 20 December 2013

    FSB Transparency Evolves; Still Leaves Information Gaps

    By Toby McIntosh The Financial Stability Board, a small organization with significant influence on the world’s financial sector, has moved to be more open in recent years, but is still too secret according to critical observers. The FSB scored “2” on a transparency scale of 4 used by one nongovernmental organization. “It is one of […]

  • 20 December 2013

    Compliance With South African Law Found Weak

    Compliance with the South African access to information law has “decreased from the already worryingly low levels of compliance,” according to a new report. The 2013 “shadow report” was issued by the PAIA CSN, the civil society network that monitors the Promotion of Access to Information Act. “Only 16% of information requested was released in full […]

  • 20 December 2013

    FOI Notes: Development, Surveillance, EU, China, Awards

    Development: The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), Development Initiatives, CIVICUS and Beyond Access, IFEX and Article 19 issue a statement on why access to information must be a central pillar in the future of development and outline possible metrics to measure progress (found here). Surveillance: Some 110 civil society organizations issue a […]

  • 18 December 2013

    Indian Panel Advances Bill to Exempt Political Parties

    A committee of the Indian Parliament Dec. 17 recommended that political parties be exempted from the Right to Information Act. One member dissented as the six major political parties followed through on their plans to overturn the June ruling of the Central Information Commission (CIC) that political parties are covered by the RTI act as “public […]

  • 18 December 2013

    The challenges to the Uruguayan FOI Act

    By Mariana Mas Mas works for the Uruguayan group DATA.   This year the Uruguayan FOI act was reformed, but the path to the reform wasn’t an easy road, it meant different struggles between the Senators, the organized civil society (OSC) and the official body in charge on the control of FOI. In August of […]

  • 13 December 2013

    EBRD Plans to Revise Information Policy

    The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development has scheduled a series of pubic consultation on topics including its 2011 Public Information Policy which it plans to revise. The seven one-day sessions in February will also cover the EBRD’s revised Environmental and Social Policy and Project Complaint Mechanism Rules of Procedure, according to the announcement. The […]

  • 13 December 2013

    Two Pakistani Provinces Pass RTI Legislation: Punjab, K-P

    Two Pakistani provinces have approved right to information laws – Punjab and Kyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The most recent action came Dec. 13 when Punjab legislators passed the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information (RTI) Bill 2013. Opposition members who said the bill is “unclear” and “negates the freedom of speech” as enshrined in the constitution, according to an […]

  • 13 December 2013

    FOI Notes: EU, US, Development, Open Data, Media, Australia

    European Union: The European Ombudsman rules that the European Medicines Agency was not justified in refusing access to Periodic Safety Update Reports at the time the requests for public access were made. “However, in light of the change in practice of the EMA in relation to granting access to PSURs, the Ombudsman finds that EMA […]

  • 13 December 2013

    Article 19 Suggests Changes for Palestine Draft FOI Law

    A draft access prepared by the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) and is currently being discussed by stakeholders in Palestine contains many positive features” but also needs some improvements, according to an assessment by Article 19. The London-based freedom of expression group analyzed the Draft Law on the Right of Access to […]

  • 9 December 2013

    A Blow to Transparency; Japan Passes Secrecy Bill

    By Joel Rheuben Rheuben is an Australian lawyer resident in Japan. Japan’s “State Secrecy Bill”, previously reported on here, passed the upper house of Japan’s legislature on Dec. 6 to become law, even as large groups of protestors jostled with police outside. Public interest in the now-State Secrets Law had soared in recent weeks, helped […]

  • 9 December 2013

    FOI Notes: Open2063 Initiative, Processing Information Report, Guatemala

    Open2063: The Open Institute and Africa Freedom of Information Centre have announced the Open2063 initiative (www.open2063.org). The African Union is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and looking to define the future of the continent over the next 50 years, in an AU-driven initiative called Agenda2063. Open2063 is an initiative to build a network of […]

  • 9 December 2013

    Variety of Transparency Issues Face New G20 Host

    By Toby McIntosh If the G20 is viewed as “a big hot tub party” for world leaders, as one observer put it, then transparency might not seem too desirable. But if viewed as an influential international policy-making institution, the application of transparency standards seems more logical. Not necessarily an easy fit, however, given the peculiarities […]

  • 6 December 2013

    Canadian Commissioner Says Controls Needed for IM

    Controls should be placed on instant messaging “to preserve government records and respect the federal access to information law,” according to a report by Suzanne Legault, Information Commissioner of Canada, issued Nov. 28. The recommendations already have been rejected by the government. “After investigating the use of wireless devices and instant messaging in 11 federal […]

  • 6 December 2013

    FOIA Reform Featured in New U.S. OGP Action Plan

    By Toby McIntosh The Obama administration Dec. 6 proposed five steps to “modernize” the freedom of information act. The ideas appear in the second U.S. national action plan prepared as a member of the Open Government Partnership. In an unexpected development, the plan includes a series of commitments related to foreign surveillance efforts. Regarding freedom […]

  • 5 December 2013

    Swedish Parliament Passes Amendments to Access Law

    By Staffan Dahllöf This article appeared first in Wobbing EU on Nov. 21. The Swedish parliament Riksdagen that in 1766 saw the birth of the first law on freedom of information ever, has adopted a new limitation of access to documents. Documents may be withheld in order not to ”deteriorate” Swedish interests in international relations. […]