What’s New

  • 15 December 2015

    Draft Law in Palestine Readied for Cabinet

    A new draft access to information law for Palestine is now ready for submission to the Cabinet of Ministers for consideration, according to a UNESCO summary of a meeting in Ramallah Dec. 1-2 where the bill was reviewed. The seminar was organized by UNESCO in cooperation with the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Ministry of Information […]

  • 8 December 2015

    UN Official Suggests Areas for Expanding Transparency

    A United Nations official has suggested a variety of ways to extend the right information in the digital age, especially regarding corporate information. Guy Berger, Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development at UNESCO, spoke Dec. 4 at an event in Finland to begin celebrations of the 250th year of the Swedish freedom of […]

  • 3 December 2015

    Ontario Government Orders Data Open by Default

    The Canadian province of Ontario has issued an open data directive that is part of a larger government-run effort that could yield reforms concerning access to information and the standards for public consultations. The new directive requires that all data be public, unless it is exempt for privacy, legal, confidentiality, security or commercially sensitive reasons. […]

  • 3 December 2015

    FOI Notes: Trade Transparency, Open Data, China, UK, EU, US, Australia, Body Cameras

    Trade Transparency: WikiLeaks releases new secret documents from the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) which is being negotiated by the US, EU and 22 other countries. Open Data/China: “Demand for open data in China is gaining traction despite the country’s traditionally closed approach to government,” says a Guardian article. Jonathan Gray, director of policy and […]

  • 2 December 2015

    Washington Approves Policy On Body-Worn Camera Footage

    The Washington, D.C., City Council Dec. 1 approved a policy for the release of video from cameras worn by police officers. The policy covers release of body worn camera (BWC) footage outside the FOIA process in the following situations: To the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Office of Police […]

  • 2 December 2015

    Austrian Parliament Looking At Draft FOI Legislation

    The Austrian Parliament is discussing a draft freedom of information law. A public consultation process ends on Dec. 17. One close observer predicted passage early next year, notwithstanding the fact that some articles are constitution and would require a two-third vote. The bill is garnering some criticism. “In a couple of areas, the current draft […]

  • 1 December 2015

    Right to Information, Wrongs of Implementation

    By Zahid Abdullah The author is associated with Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives and coordinator of Coalition on Right to Information. Follow him on Twitter at @XahidAbdullah This article was published Nov. 28 in The Tribune and is reprinted with permission. Other than the insertion of Article 19-A in the Constitution through the 18th Amendment, major political […]

  • 1 December 2015

    UK Conservatives Oppose Watering Down FOI Law

    A United Kingdom Conservative Party member, David Davis, said Nov. 30 that more than a dozen Conservative members of parliament would oppose proposals to weaken the freedom of information law, according to reports in the Guardian and the Daily Mail Davis predicted that the fight to defend the legislation was “eminently winnable.” His comments came […]

  • 1 December 2015

    Indian Commissioners Seek to Limit Vexatious Requests

    The Indian Central Information Commission and the state information commissions are proposing to amend the Right to Information Act to prevent vexatious and frivolous applications. The recommendation came from the National Federation of Information Commissions, a body headed by the chief of CIC, according to an article in the Economic Times.  “We have had talks […]

  • 1 December 2015

    FOI Notes: Google, EU, OGP, OD, US, UK, Pakistan, India

    Right to Be Forgotten: Google has removed over half a million links from its search engine results in order to comply with a 2014 ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union that allows users the “right to be forgotten.” Out of 1.2 million URLs that the search giant has evaluated for removal […]

  • 1 December 2015

    Transparency International Evaluates Five Countries

    Transparency International has completed studies of how well five countries perform concerning three “pillars of open governance: Transparency, Participation and Oversight.” The countries rated were Ghana, Indonesia, Peru, the Ukraine and the United Kingdom. The Berlin-based nongovernmental organization applied a methodology based on 35 open governance standards and a scorecard composed of 459 questions. The […]

  • 27 November 2015

    Kazakhstan Adopts FOI Law; Critic Cites Shortcomings

    Kazakhstan Nov. 16 passed a freedom of information law. Text of the law in Russian. The law has “shortcomings” according to a statement by Dunja Mijatovi, the Representative on Freedom of the Media for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) , who nevertheless praised the new law as a “major step toward greater transparency […]

  • 26 November 2015

    FreedomInfo.org Collection of FOI Videos

    This collection of promotional videos about freedom of information is drawn from FreedomInfo.org articles in recent years, plus some additional research and arranged loosely chronologically. This archive includes a variety of promotional videos, some inspirational talks and a few instructional videos. Generally avoided were lectures, nation-specific material and news broadcasts. Suggestions for additions are very […]

  • 25 November 2015

    Mexican Groups Criticize FOI Bill Adopted by Senate

    The Mexican Senate Nov. 18 easily approved a Federal Law of Transparency and Access to Information that civil society groups argue contradicts some elements of the underlying “general law” on FOI. Ana Cristina Ruelas, Program Officer Access to Information Article 19, said the bill will prevent the commissioners of the National Institute for Access to […]

  • 25 November 2015

    UK FOI Commission Deluged With 30K Public Comments

    The United Kingdom commission looking into proposals to weaken the freedom of information law has received 30,000 public comments, prompting it to extend its projected conclusion date until early next year. One observer calculated that it would take one person 208 24-hour days to read the submissions. The chairman of the Independent Commission on Freedom […]

  • 25 November 2015

    South Pacific, Open Data, Commentary, Fun Video, News From Many Places

    South Pacific: Rick Snell and Rowena MacDonald publish an article, “Customising Freedom of Information Law Reform in South Pacific Micro-States,” on Taylor & Francis Online in The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs. Abstract: This article highlights the importance of adopting a pluralist approach to developing freedom of information (FOI) schemes within specific states […]

  • 23 November 2015

    Ten Years of RTI in India: A New Breed of Activism and Citizenship

    By Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey Roy and Dey are social activists and members of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan and the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information. This article first appeared in The Hindu and is reprinted with permission. The Right to Information (RTI) Act has completed 10 years of implementation. According to […]

  • 19 November 2015

    `Right’ Out, `Access’ Used Instead for New UNESCO Day

    By Toby McIntosh UNESCO’s decision to declare name Sept. 28 as “International Day for the Universal Access to Information” instead of “International Right to Information Day” has sparked comment and raised questions about the derivation of the change. Dropping the word “right” has bothered some activists who consider UNESCO’s chosen name using “access” too long […]

  • 19 November 2015

    FOI Notes: Commentary, Spain, UN, UNESCO, Privacy, Open Data, UK, More

    Commentary: The intellectual energy in governance issues “is not what it used to be” and “ the commitment of leaders in international development seems to have waned,” writes Sina Odugbemi, a Senior Communication Officer (Policy) in the Operations Communication Department, External and Corporate Relations Vice-Presidency of the World Bank Group. FIFA: A Transparency International study […]

  • 18 November 2015

    Swedes, Finns Planning 1766/2016 Anniversary

    The Swedish and Finnish governments, and others, are making plans to celebrate passage 250 years ago of the world’s first freedom of information law. Celebratory events will be listed on two new websites in the lead-up to the official anniversary date of Dec. 2, 2016. Because Finland was part of Sweden at the time, the […]