Archive for November, 2014

  • 29 November 2014

    Mozambique Assembly OKs Freedom of Information Law

    Mozambique’s Assembly on Nov. 26 unanimously passed a freedom of information bill on the second and final reading. The bill passed on first reading on Aug. 21, in the final days of the ordinary sitting of the Assembly. (See previous article). Final passage came in an extraordinary sitting of the Assembly.  The president supports the bill […]

  • 26 November 2014

    Group Rates 169 Think Tanks on Financial Disclosure Levels

    By Brandon Church The author is an intern with Watchdog group Transparify says it is making its voice heard in the world of think tank transparency and will soon be issuing new ratings of 169 think tanks. Transparify first released ratings for these think tanks in a report published May 2014 using a five-star […]

  • 26 November 2014

    UN Expert Group Issues Report on `Data Revolution’

    The UN Secretary-General’s Independent Expert Advisory Group on a Data Revolution for Sustainable Development (IEAG) presented a report, A World That Counts: Mobilising The Data Revolution for Sustainable Development. Among its recommendations the group of over 20 international experts convened by the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon proposed that the UN establish a process whereby key stakeholders create a “Global […]

  • 26 November 2014

    FOI Notes: Defending Transparency, FOI and Academia, Pakistani Legal Site, More

    Commentary/US: “Why Critics of Transparency Are Wrong,” an article by Gary D. Bass, Danielle Brian and Norman Eisen. The authors write: “In this paper, we respond to the principal myths about transparency that are cropping up in books, academic journals and newspapers across the country, and demonstrate the enduring value of open government. In fact, […]

  • 26 November 2014

    Tanzania in Yet Another Lost Century

    By Deus Kibamba The author is Executive Director, Tanzania Citizens’ Information Bureau. This is a chapter from a recently issued State of Right to Information in Africa Report 2014 and is reprinted with permission. (See previous report.) Despite a strong history of pan– Africanism and being one of the first countries to embrace open competitive elections, the […]

  • 26 November 2014

    Rwanda’s commitment to transparency, a key to development

    By Wakesho Kililo The author works for Article 19 – Eastern Africa. This is a chapter from a recently issued State of Right to Information in Africa Report 2014 and is reprinted with permission. (See previous report.) Rwanda has ratified all African Union treaties that promote the right to information, except the African Charter on the Values […]

  • 24 November 2014

    Philippines Committee Passes FOI Bill 10-3 With Dispute

    A Philippines House committee on Nov. 24 voted 10-3 to approve a freedom of information bill. The bill is “almost toothless,” charged some emerging critics, the seven-person Makabayan Coalition, whose members voted against the bill. But other lawmakers who have supported the bill and influential, long-time FOI campaigners called the committee bill “genuine and strong.” […]

  • 20 November 2014

    Study Examines Success of FOI Request Platforms

    The first study of the growing number of nongovernmental platforms that facilitate freedom of information requests has found limited evidence of measurable impact but some encouraging signs. The 27 sites studied, most of which have emerged in the last four years, have been technologically workable, weathered government resistance and face future sustainability challenges, according to […]

  • 20 November 2014

    Secrecy Option Proposed for Bank Forest Carbon Fund

    The World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Fund is aiming to allow confidential treatment for the terms under which countries would receive payments for conserving forests. The policy is still under development, but three nongovernmental organizations recently objected to giving countries the option of secrecy in the still developing system in which the Fund will pay […]

  • 20 November 2014

    Senate Panel Approves Reforms for US FOI Act

    The US Senate Judiciary Committee Nov. 20 unanimously approved reform amendments to the Freedom of Information Act. The bipartisan support for a somewhat modified version of the bill (S. 2520) is expected to improve the chances of passage in the Senate this year. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said in an opening statement, “We have […]

  • 20 November 2014

    FOI Notes: Advocacy, Open Contracting, Whistleblowers, Opinion, Open Data, More

    FOI Advocacy: Rappler in the Philippines published an example-filled article, ‘How access to information laws can help you.” Rappler is “a social news network where stories inspire community engagement and digitally fuelled actions for social change.” Rappler comes from the root words “rap” (to discuss) + “ripple” (to make waves). Separately, the FOI Youth Initiative […]

  • 20 November 2014

    New Tool Examines Jamaica’s Development Projects

    By Carole Excell and Stephanie Ratte The authors work for World Resources Institute. Excell is Project Director of WRI’s Access Initiative. Ratte is Project Coordinator/Research Analyst with the Governance of Forests Initiative. Portland Bight (PBPA) is Jamaica’s largest protected area, extending more than 200 square miles of land and 524 miles of sea. The region is home to […]

  • 19 November 2014

    World Bank Previews Study of RTI Law Implementation

    The World Bank Nov. 19 previewed a detailed analysis of the factors that determine effective implementation of right to information laws, The  analysis is based on a closer look at 12 case studies done over the last several years by the Bank. Analysts coded the information from the studies to isolate factors that influenced implementation effectiveness. […]

  • 19 November 2014

    Private Bodies Carrying Out Public Functions

    The following is a chapter from the third “International Survey of Information Commissioners,” conducted by the Centre for Freedom of Information, University of Dundee, Scotland. Responses were provided by 53 commissioners or ombudsman in 33 countries. (See report.) In the last survey we noted that “increasingly a number of public functions and services, such […]

  • 19 November 2014

    Latin American Countries to Write Green Access Standards

    A regional agreement on access to information in the environmental context for Latin America and the Caribbean will be negotiated, participants at a Nov. 9 at a meeting in Santiago, Chile, decided. Representatives from the 19 Latin American and Caribbean signatory countries of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration – which promotes access to information, […]

  • 19 November 2014

    NGO Again Uses FOI to Get Secret UPOV Documents

    A public interest group following the activities of International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) has once again released documents that the organization declines to disclose. The group uses national freedom of information laws to get the documents. The restricted documents, which describe business before the closed meeting of the UPOV […]

  • 18 November 2014

    Senate FOI Bill Stripped Of Deliberative Process Reform

    Sponsors of a Senate Freedom of Information Act reform bill have dropped a provision dear to the heart of supporters. Gone is a so-called “public interest balancing test” to evaluate agency claims that disclosures would interfere with the deliberative process, according to a revised text to be considered Nov. 20 by the Senate Judiciary Committee. […]

  • 17 November 2014

    Info Commissioners See Need to Cover More Bodies

    Almost two-thirds of information commissioners around the world (63%) think more private bodies in their countries should be covered by the national freedom of information law. The results are reported in the third “International Survey of Information Commissioners,” conducted by the Centre for Freedom of Information, University of Dundee, Scotland. Responses were provided by 53 […]

  • 17 November 2014

    NGOs in Myanmar Pledge Effort to Push RTI Cause

    Almost a dozen nongovernment organizations in Myanmar have agreed to work collaboratively towards establishing and implementing a right to information RTI law. The joint statement resulted from a workshop in Yangon hosted by the Local Resource Centre and the Centre for Law and Democracy in collaboration with International Media Support. Issuing the statement were: the […]

  • 17 November 2014

    Professional Groups Endorse FOI Legislation in Ghana

    Twenty-five groups, including the Ghana Bar Association, the Association of Ghana Industries and the Ghana Medical Association, have urged passage of a freedom of information law in Ghana. The groups called on the Attorney General and Minister for Justice to expedite the drafting of amendments to the bill, according to the Ghana News Agency. “We […]