FOI Notes: Mexico, Armenia, Bulgaria, Canada, Ghana, OGP, Bahamas, US, Mauritania, India, The Cayman Islands, The Philippines

6 April 2017

Mexico: Public awareness about access to government information is falling, writes (in Spanish) Francisco Abundis, founder and director of Parametry. Only one in 10 people believes that information from the federal government is transparent and easily accessible.

Armenia: Some state bodies are failing to implement the FOI law, according to a report by the Freedom of Information Center. “The monitoring results are negative, we see that in some cases the minimum requirements set under the law are often not being implemented,” according to Liana Doydoyan, the Center’s Chairwoman.

Bulgaria: The Access to Information Programme presents its 2017 AIP audit on 566 institutional web sites. The Ministry of Finance got the highest score.

Canada: Over 50 Canadian civil society organizations and citizens send a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking him to renew the commitment of his government to reform Canada’s woefully outdated Access to Information Act. See CBC report.

Ghana: The Coalition on the Right to Information, Ghana, calls on the government to expedite action on the RTI Bill.

Open Government Partnership: The OGP issues a short list of candidates, including several with FOI connections, standing for election as civil society representatives to the Steering Committee: Georgia, Giorgi Kldiashvili: Mongolia, Tur-Od Lkhagvajav; Philippines, Angelita Gregorio-Medel; Philippines, Natalie Christine “Ching” Jorge; Bangladesh, Tahmina Rahman; South Africa, Damaris O. Kiewiets; Mexico, Pablo Collada; India, Venkatesh Nayak; Philippines, Czarina Medina-Guce; Croatia, Tamara Puhovski.

United States: An article in Daily Caller by Ethan Barton is titled, “Trump Could Tear Down Obama’s FOIA Secrecy. Here’s Why He Probably Won’t.”

United States: NPR’s On the Media airs two shows on FOIA: “The Man The Government Calls a ‘FOIA Terrorist’ “ and “FOIA Isn’t Being Used the Way You Think It Is.”

Bahamas: “As the general election looms, activists fear that the government’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2017 is heading for the same fate of its predecessor, which was passed by the previous government months before the 2012 election but never enacted,” reports Ava Turnquest for The Tribune.

India: Chief information commissioner R K Mathur has placed “in abeyance” the matter pertaining to political parties not adhering to the RTI Act, “thus putting the controversial issue in cold storage,” the Press Trust of India reports.

Cayman Islands: Governor Kilpatrick says it “would not be in the public interest” for the public to see the Ritch Report – a $312,000 consultant’s report on Cayman’s immigration system, The Cayman Compass reports.

Mauritania: Pursuant to an to information request by FreedomInfo.org, the Bank has provided the previously nonpublic report (in French) on Mauritania’s readiness for open data, an assessment based on the Bank’s Open Data Toolkit. For background, see previous FreedomInfo.org report on how access to information reviews form part of the assessment.

Africa: “… transparency will improve government response to famine in Africa only if more people are afforded access to information,” writes John J. Martin, the Global Transparency Fellow at Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP).

Philippines: The National Privacy Commission issues guidelines on how government agencies would handle requests for information on government personnel, according to a Rappler article. The NPC listed down 4 considerations when evaluating requests for personal data sheets (PDS):

  • If the information requested is a matter of public concern
  • If the requesting party has declared and specified the purpose of his/her request
  • If the declared and specified purpose is not contrary to law, morals, and public policy
  • If the personal data requested is necessary to the declared, specified, and legitimate purpose
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