FOI Notes: Chile, Philippines, Japan, Canada, Zimbabwe, Resource Transparency, UK, US

29 June 2017

Chile: A survey by the Council for Transparency finds that 73% of the citizens of the Araucanía region say the most important attribute that a public institution must have is transparency. The study also reveals that while 87% of Chileans believe that state agencies are obliged to respond to citizen requests for information, up by 7 percentage points compared to 2015, in the case of Araucanía the figure is 96%. The Council notes the rapid growth in use of the national transparency portal (55,880 applications in 2015 versus 123,219 requests for information in 2016). The Council also learned that public companies lowered their percentage of compliance with the Transparency Law.

Philippines: “Duterte’s FOI order leads to ‘unintended consequences’ “ writes Leila B. Salaverria in The Inquirer.

Japan: “The government, it would appear, is attempting to narrow down the definition of “official document” for its own convenience,” according to an editorial in The Mainichi.

Canada: A government proposed bill to amend the Canadian Access to Information Act would improve it only slightly, according to an analysis the Centre for Law and Democracy, a Canadian NGO, which summarized:

A Note released by CLD today shows that the proposed reforms would only earn Canada an additional two points on the RTI Rating, CLD’s respected methodology for assessing the strength of access to information laws. The Bill only includes one really significant reform, namely granting binding order making powers to the Information Commissioner. On the other hand, it fails to address a number of serious problems in the Act, such as the vastly overbroad regime of exceptions, the broad discretion of public authorities to delay in responding to requests, the absence of any duty for public authorities to document important decision making processes, and the limited scope of coverage of the Act. And in some areas, it even weakens the current rules.

Resource Transparency: Natural Resource Governance Institute unveils the 2017 Resource Governance Index, which assesses the governance of oil, gas and mining in 81 countries, in policy areas including state-owned enterprises, taxation, licensing, local impact, sovereign wealth funds and subnational revenue sharing. The index measures the extent and quality of disclosures.

Corruption: Transparency International issues a report on transparency and participation in international forums of anti-corruption review mechanisms.

Zimbabwe: Remarks attributed to Zimbabwe’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information George Charamba on the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) are very misleading and cannot go unchallenged, according to the MISA Zimbabwe.

United States: The Florida Society of News Editors creates a scoring system to grade legislators on their introduction of public-records bills, final votes, and overall support of the Sunshine Law, the oldest state-level open-government law in the country, giving citizens the right to public records, The Miami Herald reports.

IFTI Watch: The Centre for Law and Democracy, a Canadian NGO, comments on a proposal by the Asian Development Bank to reform its right to information policy, calling it “disappointing.”

United Kingdom: Paul Gibbons, aka FOIMan, looks at the areas of divergence between the environmental disclosure regime and FOIA.

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