What’s New

  • 11 December 2014

    Access to Information as a tool for the sustainable development of roads in Uganda

    By Sam Mutabazi The author is Executive Director of Uganda Road Sector Support Initiative (URSSI). This is a chapter from a recently issued State of Right to Information in Africa Report 2014 and is reprinted with permission. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.) Information exchange is vital in setting the development agenda of a country. Governments that are liberal in sharing […]

  • 10 December 2014

    Archivists Consider Role In Support of Human Rights

    The International Council of Archivists (ICA) is considering adoption of “Basic Principles on the Role of Archivists in support of Human Rights.” The principles, drafted by ICA’s Human Rights Working Group, are now open for public comment, through Jan. 1, 2015. Adoption would represent the first time that archivists have drafted a statement about the […]

  • 10 December 2014

    Banking Lobbyists Opposing FOIA Bill, Sources Say

    Banking lobbyists are urging House leaders not to bring up the Freedom of Information Act Improvement Act of 2014, according to House, Senate and pro-bill sources. The opposition, from unnamed banking interests, comes as the House nears adjournment. Supporters hope the House will squeeze the Senate bill (S 2520) on to the agenda in the […]

  • 9 December 2014

    Afghan President Signs Access to Information Law

    Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani has signed an access to information law for Afghanistan, according to activists, who have campaigned for the law for about five years (English translation). Integrity Watch said Dec. 1 that the action is “a positive step for promoting transparency and accountability,” but also said the law “needs further improvement.” The group […]

  • 8 December 2014

    Senate Approves FOIA Bill; Leahy Makes Slight Change

    The US Senate Dec. 8 unanimously approved amendments to the freedom of information act, with a slight, time-limited concession to the lone senator who had withheld his support. Negotiations with Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) resulted in “report language” – a non-binding, but influential description of Congress’s intent. Rockefeller had objected to a key provision in […]

  • 8 December 2014

    Sen. Rockefeller Defends Objections to Senate FOI Bill

    A few more specifics have emerged about the substance of  a last-minute debate over a Senate freedom of information bill. Both sides say discussions are ongoing while time is running out. Holding up action on the bill (S 2520) is Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W-Va), whose office Dec. 8 provided FreedomInfo.org with a more detailed defense […]

  • 5 December 2014

    Rockefeller Issues Statement Opposing FOIA Legislation

    Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia on Dec. 5 said he opposed a pending freedom of information reform bill because it would have the unintended consequence of impairing enforcement of laws protecting consumers from financial fraud. His four-page statement confirmed reports that he is opposing the widely supported, bipartisan bill (S 2520), apparently the […]

  • 4 December 2014

    Senate Action on FOI Bill Delayed by Rockefeller

    The US Senate Dec. 4 came close to passing reform amendments to the Freedom of Information Act, but the day was suspenseful and inconclusive. With Congress about the leave for a holiday break, only a limited window is available for getting the bill (S 2520) through. Objections from even a single senator, known as “holds,” […]

  • 4 December 2014

    Article 19 Criticizes Proposal for Moroccan Access Law

    The Moroccan government’s proposed freedom of information law continues to get bad reviews. Article 19, the London-based freedom of expression group, on Dec. 1 said the bill “represents a serious setback in the progress towards the recognition of the right to information in the Kingdom of Morocco.” The revised Draft Law No 31.13 on the […]

  • 4 December 2014

    UK Ministry Begins Review of Info Commissioner’s Office

    The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice has announced a triennial review of the Information Commissioner’s Office. Such reviews are standard for non-departmental public bodies. The ministry has asked for the public to submit “evidence” by Jan. 16, and the website includes a four question survey. Commissioner Christopher Graham said: “I am confident that the ICO […]

  • 4 December 2014

    FOI Notes: OGP, Open Education, Publications, More

    OGP: The OGP Steering Committee voted to expand the International Experts’ Panel that oversees the Independent Reporting Mechanism tasked with reviewing each of the OGP country action plans and OGP processes. “We currently have opened the call for more IEP nominations to expand the existing membership. This is your chance to make sure that the […]

  • 2 December 2014

    Environmental Group Wins Appeal in South Africa

    The Supreme Court of Appeal Nov. 26 ordered steel producer ArcelorMittal SA to hand over environmental information to Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance (VEJA), an alliance of five environmental organizations. The unanimous court rebuked ArcelorMittal for its initial handling of the requests for information under the Promotion of Access to Information Act. The court in its […]

  • 2 December 2014

    Australian Government Pulls Bill to Abolish Commissioner

    By Peter Timmins The author writes the Australian website Open and Shut, from which this article is reprinted. It’s Over! The Freedom of Information Amendment (New Arrangements) Bill isn’t listed in Senate Order of Business(pdf) for 3 December. Despite the fact it continues to appear (at No 9) in the Notice Paper I have it on good authority that the government […]

  • 2 December 2014

    Starting and Sustaining a Youth Movement for FOI

    By Jeff Crisostomo The author is the Founding Convener of the FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) in the Philippines. The FOI Youth Initiative (FYI) is a national network of more than two hundred Filipino youth and student organizations that call for transparency, accountability, and participation in government through the immediate passage of the People’s Freedom of Information Act. […]

  • 2 December 2014

    OGP Cautions 12 Countries Tardy on Their Commitments

    The Open Government Partnership has cautioned 12 governments that they are falling behind on their OGP responsibilities (see blog post with links to the letters). For two countries – Turkey and Malta – the letters constitute a second warning, so an OGP subcommittee will decide what disciplinary action to take. Neither country has developed its […]

  • 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 FreedomInfo.org 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 FreedomInfo.org. 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 FreedomInfo.org report.) Despite a strong history of pan– Africanism and being one of the first countries to embrace open competitive elections, the […]