What’s New

  • 28 December 2016

    Eight Countries Adopt FOI Regimes in 2016

    Eight countries adopted freedom of information laws or similar administrative regulations in 2016, according to FreedomInfo.org’s running tally that now shows 115 national FOI regimes. The number of additions in 2016 is one shy of the previous annual record of nine additions, set in 2011. See list of FOI countries by date and alphabetically. Joining […]

  • 27 December 2016

    FOI Notes: Pakistan, Italy, UNCAC, Germany, Commentary, Transparency Research, Cambodia

    Pakistan: “Another year passes without witnessing the passage of the Right to Information (RTI) legislation. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government that promised the world’s best law on transparency has practically backed out of it,” reports Umar Cheema in The News. Italy: Dec. 23 was the first dat when a equest access to information held by […]

  • 27 December 2016

    Party Disagreements End Chances for 2016 Ghana RTI

    The right to information bill in Ghana got marooned in disagreements between the incoming and outgoing parties. The National Democratic Congress majority caucus accused the minority side, the New Patriot Party, of delaying consideration of the RTI bill by failing to provide a quorum. The minority said additional amendments were necessary, objecting that the bill […]

  • 22 December 2016

    Peruvian Groups Urge Autonomous Oversight Body

    A proposal to create an independent national body on access to information is being debated in Peru. A working group appointed by the ministry of Justice made the proposal (text in Spanish) for an executive decree to create the new institution, but it ran into opposition internally from an office in the Prime Minister’s office, the […]

  • 22 December 2016

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

    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 […]

  • 21 December 2016

    Leave no trace? How to combat off the record government

    By Nuala Haughey The author is a policy analyst with the TASC – Think-tank for Action on Social Change, based in Ireland. The article is reprinted with permission. When we think of government record keeping it often conjures up images of dusty archives stuffed with crumbling paper documents. While historical archives are a rich part […]

  • 20 December 2016

    IFLA Statement on Public Legal Information

    The International Federation of Library Associations Governing Board on Dec. 13 approved  a statement calling on governments to ensure that there is free and equal access to public legal information (including third party standards where these are referenced), that governments design and implement effective preservation strategies, and that they incorporate technology-based authentication tools so that […]

  • 19 December 2016

    Malawi Parliament Passes Access to Information Bill

    Opposition members of the Malawi Parliament prevailed in a contentious session to pass an access to information bill on Dec. 16. Despite the controversy, President Peter Mutharika is expected to sign the bill. (The bill was signed into law Feb. 10, 2017, and promulgated Feb. 16, 2017. See signed Access to Information Act.) “I don’t […]

  • 15 December 2016

    FOI Notes: US, Climate Change, India, Malawi, Open Data, UK, Bahamas, France, Success Story, Fun Quote

    United States: The Department of Justice is requesting public comment on the draft ‘‘Release to One, Release to All’’ policy, which was prepared by the Office of Information Policy. The draft policy contains exceptions to accommodate agency difficulties implement  release and offers two different options for the timing of when documents should be posted online, […]

  • 8 December 2016

    OECD Issues Report About Open Government Efforts

    The OECD has released a report about what it calls “an implementation gap” in national open government efforts, including the right to information, with findings based in part on a 2015 survey of the 35 member governments and an additional 19 countries. “This report provides a holistic, data-driven analysis of how countries are currently implementing […]

  • 8 December 2016

    FOI Notes: Research, Germany, France, India, Open Contracting, Algorithms, Cayman Islands, EU, Malawi, G20, US

    Transparency Research: A Brookings report from Vanessa Williamson and Norm Eisen, “The Impact of Open Government: Assessing the Evidence,” reviews the empirical and theoretical literature on the international impact of open government and offers recommendations for policymakers considering open government initiatives. Conclusion:  In this report, we address the question, “does open government work?” We develop a […]

  • 6 December 2016

    Seven Nations to Join OGP; Hungary Quits Under Duress

    As the Open Government Partnership convened for a summit meeting in Paris Dec. 7-9 seven countries announced plans to join – Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Germany, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Pakistan and Portugal – while one member resigned, Hungary. Hungary was probably on its way to being declared an “inactive” member anyway for missing OGP deadlines. Based on […]

  • 1 December 2016

    Limited Progress Toward Measuring SDG 16.10.2

    By Toby McIntosh Measuring the implementation of access to information laws is among the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, but how to accomplish this task remains very much a work in progress. The uncertainties include not only how such a measurement system will be developed and what it will look like, but also whether countries […]

  • 1 December 2016

    FOI Notes: Environmental Transparency, Philippines, Canada, Trinidad, Bhutan, US, Nigeria, Research

    Environmental Transparency: The Regional Alliance for Free Expression and Information submitted comments on the chapter on access to environmental information under the fifth round of the negotiating committee of Principle 10, held in Cepal between Nov. 22 and 25 in Santiago de Chile. Access the document here . Philippines: Implementation of the executive order on […]

  • 30 November 2016

    Vanuatu Parliament Passes RTI Bill Unanimously

    Vanuatu’s Parliament on Nov. 24 unanimously passed a right to information bill tabled by Prime Minister Charlot Salwai,according to a report by the Pacific Island News Association. Vanuatu becomes the 114th nation with a freedom of information regime, according to the FreedomInfo.org tally. The article said the Minister for Land and Member of Parliament for […]

  • 24 November 2016

    Access to Information Sliding in Europe, Reform Needed

    By Andreas Pavlov The author works for Access Info Europe. His article first appeared Nov. 17 in Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso, a publication produced within the project European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, co-funded by the European Commission. The project’s page Long established and widely recognized, the right to access to information is severely curtailed […]

  • 23 November 2016

    Ghana’s Failure to Pass RTI Law Comes Despite Promises

    By Toby McIntosh Ghana’s persistent failure to pass a right to information bill comes despite its membership in the Open Government Partnership and promises made on the international stage by President John Dramani Mahama. After the latest failure in Parliament, Mahama said limply, “I can’t force them [Parliament] to pass it.” The situation revives questions […]

  • 23 November 2016

    FOI Notes: India, Commentary, Europe, US, Pakistan, Fiji, Myanmar, Environmental Transparency, Open Data

    India: Trust Through Transparency, a glossy 120-page book with stories and pictures about individual successes using the RTI Act is published by the Central Information Commission. See MoneyLife description. Some RTI activists condemn the coffee table book as a wasteful expenditure, according to The Hindu. Commentary: “Is Open Data the Death of FOIA?” an article […]

  • 17 November 2016

    FOI Notes: Europe, UK, Research, Climate Change, SDGs,Tanzania, Open Data, Panama Papers, Vanuatu, India, Football

    Europe: The UK Campaign for Freedom of Information has published an initial assessment of the implications of the new Strasbourg ruling that Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides a right to official information. (See previous FreedomInfo.org coverage.) Among other comments: The decision potentially means that public bodies which are not subject […]

  • 10 November 2016

    EU HR Court Recognizes Limited Right to Information

    The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that there is a right to information under Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights. “It’s not a full recognition of a right for all people all the time,” wrote David Banisar of Article 19, “but in those cases where disclosure […]