World Bank to Summarize Request Letters; Permit Veto

24 April 2014

The World Bank in May will begin publishing summaries of requests made in April under its access to information policy, unless a requester objects, according to Bank officials.

Requesters in April saw a new message:

To further transparency, the World Bank (“Bank”) intends to disclose information regarding access to information requests submitted to the Bank as of April 1, 2014. To ensure the anonymity of requesters, the Bank will only disclose summaries of requests. Requesters’ personal information will not be made public. While the Bank reserves the right to disclose aggregated information about access to information requests, should you wish the Bank not to disclose a summary of your request, please select the “Do not agree to disclose”.

FreedomInfo.org is appealing a Bank decision not to disclose request letters. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.) Also see FreedomInfo.org report on the denial.

When FreedomInfo’s request was first denied, in December, an official said consideration was being given to disclosing summaries of letters, minus identifying information.

The new policy gives requesters automatic anonymity.  It also allows them to veto the disclosure of a summary of their requests.

In denying FreedomInfo.org’s request, the Bank declined to redact personal information covered by exemptions to the AI policy, saying redaction is not mandatory under a ruling by its Access to Information Committee. The Bank also said disclosure of requesters’ names could put them at risk. It also argued that requesters were not notified that their information could be made public and as a result had “neither consented nor had the opportunity to communicate concerns regarding such disclosure.”

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ABOUT IFTI WATCH

In this column, Washington, D.C.-based journalist Toby J. McIntosh reports on the latest developments in information disclosure in International Financial and Trade Institutions (IFTI).
Contact: freeinfo@gwu.edu or
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