freedominfo.org is a one-stop portal that describes best practices, consolidates lessons learned, explains campaign strategies and tactics, and links the efforts of freedom of information advocates around the world. It contains crucial information on freedom of information laws and how they were drafted and implemented, including how various provisions have worked in practice.
In the last decade, dozens of countries have enacted formal statutes guaranteeing their citizens’ right of access to government information. Elsewhere, even without legal guarantees, citizens are asserting their right to know. Throughout the world, freedom of information movements are changing the definition of democratic governance.
freedominfo.org is a virtual network that links these movements as they struggle for greater openness. It is the online institutional memory of freedom of information campaigns throughout the world.
Since the site was first launched in June 2002, freedominfo.org has received over 1 million hits from more than 160,000 unique visitors.
funding and coordination
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has provided general support of the National Security Archive’s programs for international freedom of information advocacy, including expanding the freedominfo.org virtual network of national FOI campaigns and NGOs.
The Open Society Institute (Budapest) provided initial funding for the freedominfo.org site.
The Ford Foundation provided grant funding to support freedominfo.org‘s monitoring work on openness in the international financial and trade institutions.
The National Security Archive at The George Washington University serves as the secretariat for the site, and as its fiscal sponsor through the National Security Archive Fund Inc., a nonprofit Washington DC-based corporation recognized by the US Internal Revenue Service as a public charity.
David Banisar, Senior Legal Counsel at Article19 and former Visiting Scholar at the University of Leeds and fellow of the Open Society Institute.
Maria Baron, director of Directorio Legislativo and advocate for legislative transparency in Argentina, and formerly Fulbright-APSA Senior Congressional Fellow in Washington during 2003-2004
Thomas S. Blanton, director of George Washington University’s National Security Archive, the leading NGO user of the US freedom of information law, and co-chair of the US public interest coalition, OpenTheGovernment.org.
Richard Calland, associate professor in the Department of Public Law at the University of Capetown and a founding director of the Open Democracy Advice Centre (Capetown, South Africa). Richard also helped to draft South Africa’s strong access law and constitutional guarantees of openness
Sandra Colliver, Senior Legal Officer for Freedom of Information and Expression, Open Society Justice Initiative, and editor of the Open Society Institute Justice Initiative’s Right2Info website (http://www.right2info.org/).
Sheila S. Coronel, director of The Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism and Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University School of Journalism, New York. Sheila is also founding director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and editor of The Right to Know: Access to Information in Southeast Asia (2001).
Deirdre M. Curtin, professor of European and International Governance at the University of Utrecht and an expert on European Union openness initiatives.
Helen Darbishire, executive director of Access Info (based in Madrid) and current chair of the Freedom of Information Advocates Network.
Ann M. Florini, Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Program of The Brookings Institution and founding director of the Centre on Asia and Globalisation at the National University of Singapore. Ann also edited The Right to Know (2007), and co-chaired the Transparency Task Force of Joseph Stiglitz’s Initiative for Policy Dialogue.
Maurice Frankel, director of the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Great Britain, which won a 20-year struggle for an access law in 2000.
Gergana Jouleva, founder and director of Bulgaria’s Access to Information Programme, the NGO that led the successful campaign for the access law passed in 2000.
Toby McIntosh, director, editorial quality review, of the Washington DC-based Bureau of National Affairs’ “Daily Report for Executives,” and steering committee coordinator of the Global Transparency Initiative.
Toby Mendel, director of the Centre for Law and Democracy, Halifax, Canada, and author of the UNESCO guide to international freedom of information.
Laura Neuman, associate director of the Americas Program of the Carter Center, Atlanta, Georgia, and project manager for the Center’s access to information project.
Ivan Pavlov, chairman of the board of the Institute for Freedom of Information Development, St. Petersburg, Russian Federation.
Lawrence Repeta, professor of law, Meiji University, Japan, and member, board of directors of Information Clearinghouse Japan (the leading Japanese NGO advocating and monitoring Japan’s information access laws).
Alasdair Roberts, the Jerome L. Rappaport Professor of Law and Public Policy at Suffolk University Law School, former director of the Campbell Public Affairs Institute at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School, and an expert on Canadian and international access laws.
Shekhar Singh, director of the Indian Right-to-information Assessment and Advocacy Group, founder member and former convenor of India’s National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, co-chair of the Transparency Task Force of Joseph Stiglitz’s Initiative for Policy Dialogue. Taught at the Indian Institute of Public Administration and of St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi.
Ernesto Villanueva, professor at Ibero-American University in Mexico City, founder of the Center for the Right to Information, and co-leader of the Grupo Oaxaca coalition of openness advocates in that won the access law in Mexico in 2002.
Tom Blanton is executive director of freedominfo.org and director of the National Security Archive.
Toby McIntosh is executive editor of freedominfo.org.
Michael Evans, analyst and Web director for the National Security Archive, is Web director of freedominfo.org as of April 2010. He previously served as the Web director for the site from its launch in 2002 until Fall 2008.
Sheila Coronel served as executive editor for the site launch, and Kristin Adair, former Staff Counsel of the National Security Archive, served as the managing editor until 2008. Yvette Chin served as managing editor from 2008 to 2010.
Watch this space for updates!
Freedom of Information Advocates Network
The FOI Advocates network was formed in response to a growing global movement for access to information, to meet the need for cooperation among NGOs working actively in the freedom of information area and to facilitate the development of common projects. The Network aims to help NGOs with campaigning, advocacy, and fundraising, through exchange of information, ideas, strategies and by providing a forum for collaboration.
Global Transparency Initiative
The Global Transparency Initiative (GTI) is a network of civil society organisations promoting openness in the International Financial Institutions (IFIs), such as the World Bank, the IMF, the European Investment Bank and Regional Development Banks.