OGP Working Group on ATI Develops Tentative Agenda

31 October 2013

An access to information working group was formed Oct. 31 in connection with the Open Government Partnership summit in London.

The creation of three subgroups was proposed designed, to correspond to the stages of the OGP process:

 – To help government comply with the OGP access eligibility criteria and to consider strengthening the OGP access to information eligibility requirement.

– To help governments develop good commitments related to ATI.

– To help government implement ATI-related commitments.

The number of groups could be altered when the organizers send further information to those who have expressed an interest in the effort.

Those attending the meeting about forming a working group also heard from government officials from Georgia, Chile and Brazil about their laws.

National action plans written by OGP governments are “pretty weak “ when it comes to access to information, commented Laura Newman of the Carter Center during an Oct. 30 planning session.

She also said that the group wants to look for synergies with another OGP working group, on open data. The two communities “should find ways to build off each other,” she said.

The plan was developed by representatives from Mexico (Federal Institute for Access to Information), Brazil (Office of the Comptroller General), Indonesia (Central Information Commission), alongside with The Carter Center, the Alianza Regional por la Libre Expresión e Información, and the Centre for Freedom of Information.

The plan wone some praise during the planning group session, with discussion about whether to have fewer groups. The number of subgroups was reduced from four to three for the later presenation Oct. 31.

A variety of suggestions were made at the planning session, included

–         work to raise the OGP access to information eligibility criteria.

–         encourage the inclusion of ATI oversight bodies OGP national processes.

–         coordinate with the legislative openness working group.

–         define the structure of the working group.

–         coordinate with the OGP Independent Reporting Mechanism.

–         consider how to address regressive changes in FOI laws.

–         include governments.

–         develop concrete goals.

There was discussion of whether the eligibility criteria are open to amendment. The OGP Steering Committee has thus far resisted making changes.

 

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