Latest Features

  • 29 October 2014

    Court Finds Database Redaction Too Burdensome

    By Harry Hammit Hammit is publisher of Access Reports, a bi-monthly report on U.S. and Canadian freedom of information legal developments. A ruling by Judge Rudolph Contreras finding that personally identifying information contained in several FTC complaint databases is protected by Exemption 6 (invasion of privacy), while almost certainly correct based on case law interpretation, […]

  • 29 October 2014

    Getting Serious About Protecting Access to Public Email

    By Emily Shaw The author is National Policy Manager at the Sunlight Foundation and oversees its state and local policy work. This article was published Oct. 21 on the Sunlight blog. Our legally-protected access to public email records — the most voluminous source of official written records — is failing. Broward County, Fla. charging journalists […]

  • 23 October 2014

    Kenya: Clear Need to Respect the Right of Access to Information

    By Riva Jalipa The author is Legal Officer, ARTICLE 19–Eastern Africa. This is a chapter in a recently issued State of Right to Information in Africa Report 2014 and is reprinted with permission. (See previous report.) The violence that followed the 2007 general elections triggered wide–ranging debates and changes that form the basis of Kenya’s reform agenda today. […]

  • 23 October 2014

    Liberia: Law Implementation and Exclusion of Access

    By Malcolm Joseph The author is Executive Director, Center for Media Studies and Peace Building.  This is a chapter in the recently issued State of Right to Information in Africa Report 2014 and is reprinted with permission. (See previous report.) Liberia is struggling to rebuild after 15 years of civil war in the 90s and 2000s. In […]

  • 21 October 2014

    Analyzing FOI Law Compliance in Four Nigerian Agencies

    This report is reprinted from the website of the Cleen Foundation. To download the full report, visit In March 2014, the Access Nigeria (AccessNG) project trained and deployed 12 representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs) to collaboratively access information from the government agencies at the fore of the fight against corruption and trans-national organized crimes […]

  • 20 October 2014

    Making Transparency Policies Work

    By Alasdair Roberts The author is Professor of Law, Suffolk University Law School, Boston USA  This is his address to the International Seminar on Accountability and Corruption Control, Mexico City, Oct. 21, 2014.  He is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and a public member of the Administrative Conference of the United States. […]

  • 15 October 2014

    Ethiopia Criminalizes Free Flow of Information

    By Riva Jalipa The author is Legal Officer for ARTICLE 19–Eastern Africa. This is a chapter in a recently issued State of Right to Information in Africa Report 2014 and is reprinted with permission. (See previous report.) Ethiopia’s commitment and respect for African institutions and mechanisms is not in doubt. It is the home to the African Union […]

  • 15 October 2014

    Beware Attack on Openness

    By Alasdair Roberts The author is a professor of law at Suffolk University Law School in Boston. His latest book is The End of Protest: How Free-Market Capitalism Learned to Control Dissent (Cornell University Press). His website. Six years have passed since the financial collapse of 2008. We liberated global financial markets to rule themselves, […]

  • 14 October 2014

    Freedom of Information as a Fundamental Right

    By Aiden O’Neill The author is a member of Matrix Chambers in London. 1. Introduction 1.1 One aspect of the rule of law in the context of the information age is the ideal of transparency: that members of civil society should be able to ascertain the factual and legal bases on which official decisions are being […]

  • 9 October 2014

    Japan Wrongly Blames U.S. For Repressive Japanese Secrecy Law

    By Morton Halperin and Molly Hofsommer Halperin is Senior Advisor to the Open Society Foundations and Hofsammer is an OSF Research Assistant. Their article was published Oct. 5 in The Huffington Post. In Japan, a draconian secrecy law that will severely limit public debate on national security issues is about to go into effect. Not […]

  • 9 October 2014

    The Pre-Election State of FOI in the UK

    By Paul Gibbons The author writes the FOIMan website where this article was published Oct. 8. It seems like only yesterday that I coined the hashtag #saveFOI when, provoked by the launch of the government’s post-legislative scrutiny, it seemed that everybody and their uncle wanted to pile in with their FOI horror stories. And a […]

  • 9 October 2014

    Is alleged misconduct by a public official deserving of privacy protection?

    By Peter Timmins The author writes the Australian website Open and Shut, where this article was published Oct. 6. A companion article Oct. 7 says that when it comes to the the performance of normal governmental functions, sensitivity about disclosing names of officials “should usually take a back seat  to transparency, responsibility and accountability. I’d […]

  • 8 October 2014

    DRC Civil Society Mobilizing to Demand ATI Law

    By Longendja Isa Mboyo Henri Christin The author is the Executive Director of CODHOD, Executive Director of COLLECTIF 24. This is a chapter in a recently issued State of Right to Information in Africa Report 2014 and is reprinted with permission. (See previous report.) Apart from the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the […]

  • 7 October 2014

    Mexico’s Federal Prosecutor Must End Secrecy over San Fernando Massacres

    By Jesse Franzblau and Emi MacLean Franzblau is a writer working with the National Security Archive, an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. MacLean is a legal officer for freedom of information and expression with the Open Society Justice Initiative. This article first appeared Sept. 25 on […]

  • 1 October 2014

    New Paraguay FOI Law Culmination of Campaign

    By Jonathon David Orta This report was published by the Knight Center for Journalism at the University of Texas and is reprinted with permission. On Sept. 18, Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes signed the country’s first freedom of information (FOI) law, making it the 100th country in the world to pass similar legislation. Officially titled the […]

  • 25 September 2014

    Deadlocked EU transparency reform finds new impetus

    By James Crisp This article first appeared in At the end of the article are many links. EXCLUSIVE: The new European Commission must look again at the European Union’s deadlocked transparency regulation and push through long-delayed reforms, the EU Ombudsman, MEPs and activists have said. Embarrassing court defeats for the European Commission and Council, […]

  • 25 September 2014

    European Union Institutions Need Transparency

    By Sophie in ‘t Veld  The author is a member of the EU Parliament from the Dutch social liberal party Democrats 66 and of the ALDE group in the European Parliament. This article first appeared in  Sir Humphrey Appleby to Prime Minister Jim Hacker: “Open government, Prime Minister. Freedom of information. We should always tell the press freely and […]

  • 25 September 2014

    Battling for Right to Know in South Africa

    By Catherine Kennedy and Piers Pigou Kennedy is the Director of the South African History Archive. Pigou is a member of the SAHA board of trustees. This commentary was published first on Sept. 23 in The Mail and Guardian. As information activists around the world mark International Right to Know Day on Sunday, there seems […]

  • 18 September 2014

    UN Lacks of Freedom of Information

    By Matthew Russell Lee The author is senior reporter at Inner City Press, which focuses on the UN, where this article first appeared. It references a recently started organization, the Free United Nations Coalition for Access (FUNCA). UNITED NATIONS, September 15 — The UN’s lack of accountability, from bringing cholera to Haiti to using as “peacekeepers” […]

  • 16 September 2014

    New India Government Disappoints on Transparency

    By Anjali Bhardwaj and Amrita Johri The writers are social activists working on issues of transparency and accountability in governance. This commentary first appeared Sept. 12 in Indian Express. Achhe din, meaning good days, are coming was the slogan of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2014 Indian general election, coined by BJP’s Prime Ministerial […]