FOI Notes: Poland, EU, Mexico, Indonesia, UK, Nigeria, Bahamas, Spain, US, Scotland, UK, Open Budgets, Commentary

22 December 2016

Poland: The Chairman of the lower chamber of the Polish Parliament (Sejm) proposed to repeal provisions of the Polish Constitution that guarantee the Right to Information, writes Krzysztof Izdebski, Policy Director of ePaństwo Foundation.

EU: European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly recommends that the European Commission systematically obtain consent to publish the names of public officials charged with decision-making on public procurement prior to their appointment.

Mexico: The Supreme Court upheld an order by the National Institute of Transparency and Access to Information (INAI) for the disclosure of data on telephone wiretaps, according to an El Siglo du Durango article on this and other recent INAI successes. Another victory concerned the environmental impact statement of the New Mexico City International Airport.

Indonesia: The forestry ministry is challenging a court victory by Greenpeace for access to seven different geospatial maps of Indonesia, MongoBay reports.

Nigeria: The Pubic Private Development Centre has issued its 2016 FOI Compliance Rankings for 131 Public Institutions. Related recommendatons on the classification of security information are contained in a policy brief.

Nigeria: “Stakeholders in the information sector on Tuesday in Abuja identified the culture of secrecy as a major hindrance to the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2011,” according to an article in The Vanguard.

United Kingdom: Ben Worthy of the University of London publishes on how the Brexit vote will influence the UK’s transparency regime and how openness will shape the UK’s Brexit process?

Bahamas: The government tabled a long-awaited FOI bill but the opposition calls it a political ploy, reports The Tribune and The Nassau Guardian.

United States: A survey on the FOI landscape in the United States and what might be done to improve it, sponsored by The Knight Foundation.

United States: A 30-minute podcast by Investigative Reporters and Editors is called “The State of the FOIA.” Media law scholar Jonathan Peters provides some context on changes to the law, and reporters Philip Eil and Jason Leopold share stories of their hard-fought cases.

Spain: Over 50 constitutional experts, lawyers, and academics called on the government to recognize access to information as a fundamental right in line with international jurisprudence which links the right to information to freedom of expression.

Scotland: The Scottish Information Commissioner launches a new online FOI appeal service.

OGP: A summary of 2016 commitments and highlights.

United Kingdom: Preventing disclosure of information about Department of Health safety investigations will fuel public suspicion of cover-ups and protect poor quality inquiries from scrutiny, says the Freedom of Information Campaign.

Hong Kong: A report by journalist Wen Lu on the shortcomings of the 1995 Code on Access to Information.Open Budgets: The International Budget Partnership blog post, “Reflecting on two decades of campaigning for fiscal governance reform.”

Open Budgets: The Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency issues a Guide on Principles and Mechanisms on Public Participation in Fiscal Policy.

Commentary: DemocracySpot Tiago Peixoto in Democracy Spot writes about “Open Government, Feedback Loops, and Semantic Extravaganza.” A snippet:

I personally have witnessed the creation of a number of names, including e-democracy, e-participation, e-governance, government 2.0, and open government. While some may argue that these names are different among themselves, no real consensus exists about what differentiates them. The common denominator is some fuzzy notion that technology may promote more democratic and/or efficient forms of government.

But why the absence of stable terms and the profusion of neologisms? And what are the implications?

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