ITU Says Study Groups Covered by Disclosure Policy

19 January 2017

The International Telecommunication Union’s new disclosure policy will cover Study Groups, according to the ITU’s responses to FreedomInfo.org queries.

The Study Groups, key committees that draft policies, were not specifically mentioned in the new policy. The ITU wrote: “Annex 1 covers ITU Study Groups under Section D “Information on ITU’s operational activities” / “Developing standards, manuals and guidelines.”

The ITU recently announced its access to information policy. (See Freedominfo.org report.)

The ITU said further information about the policy will be forthcoming, including a “background report” and a “procedures document.”

The ITU acknowledged several other distinctive characteristics of the policy, stating, “There is no appeals process for requesters.”

Commenting on the scope of the policy, the ITU said:

Annex 1 is a positive list that enumerates the types of information that are made available to the public (subject to Section III of the policy (Non-disclosure)). Types of information that are not enumerated in Annex 1 are not open to the public.

Asked if documents submitted prior to meetings,will they be released in advance as they are circulated, the ITU replied:

Subject to Section III of the policy, information/documents that appear in Annex 1 and that are submitted prior to meetings will be made available to the public at the same time as they are made available to meeting participants via the ITU website.

The policy allows submitters of information to exempt material that is “sensitive?” Asked if there is a definition of “sensitive,” the ITU said:

As stated in point 3.2 of the policy, submitters of information to ITU conferences, assemblies and meetings are solely responsible for identifying if the information, or portion thereof, contains information falling into any of the categories listed in Section III or is otherwise sensitive and therefore marking the document for restricted access.  The ITU Secretariat is not authorized to question the decision of the submitter.

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In this column, Washington, D.C.-based journalist Toby J. McIntosh reports on the latest developments in information disclosure in International Financial and Trade Institutions (IFTI).
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