Monitoring Study Finds Poor Response Rates in Italy

26 April 2013

The largest-ever audit of how responsive the Italian government is to requests for information has delivered an answer: “extremely low.”

The study was jointly conducted by Diritto Di Sapere and Access-Info Europe.

 Some 300 requests were filed, but less than one quarter of the requests resulted in information being provided.  

“Only 27% of requests led to fully satisfactory information being provided whereas 73% of all responses was not compliant with right to information international standards.”

“The level of administrative silence (complete lack of response from the public authorities after 30 calendar days) was extremely high, representing 65% of all requests,” the researchers reported.

Main Conclusions

The authors concluded:

The results are particularly disappointing in the context of this exercise in which the questions were deliberately and carefully selected so as to be related to important issues of public interest, but also avoiding any controversial request which could potentially meet legal exemptions to the right of access.

Moreover, a recent Italian legislative initiative adopted in favour of proactive transparency does not guarantee a more solid access to information, as it fails to introduce effective rules and to empower the citizens to enforce the right to information in practice.

The data gathered for this report constitute unequivocal empirical evidence that Italy urgently needs a more comprehensive and consistent legal and institutional framework on access to government held information, if it wants to provide its citizens with a right of access to information in line with international standards.

The report also makes recommendations for the government and for civil society.

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