Latest Features

  • 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 […]

  • 11 September 2014

    Praise for New Access Law in Mexican State of Coahuila de Zaragoza

    The following report on the new law in the Mexican state of Coahuila was prepared by the state information commission.  Along our history and mainly in the last decade, the Mexican society is fighting to demonstrate its indeclinable will of progressing in our country’s democratic life, developing and strengthening the fundamental principles of plurality, freedom of expression […]

  • 10 September 2014

    Why FOIA’s Loophole Needs Legislative Suture

    By Lauren Harper The author is a research assistant at the National Security Archive focusing on FOIA advocacy and open government, as well as on U.S.-Iraq relations. This article originally appeared in The Brechner Report. The Tampa Tribune reporter Howard Altman submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Veterans Affairs earlier this year to learn the […]

  • 28 August 2014

    Mexican Migration Agency Makes First Disclosure on Massacre

    By  Jesse Franzblau This report first appeared in Migration Declassified on Aug. 20. Franzblau is a policy analyst working on freedom of information projects in an independent capacity. He specializes in the use of FOI laws in Latin America, and is a regular contributor to the Migration Declassified project.  Mexico’s federal migration agency has for the […]

  • 28 August 2014

    How to Appoint a New Indian Chief Information Commissioner

    By Shailesh Gandhi The author served as a Central Information Commissioner in India from Sept. 18, 2008, to July 6, 2012. This commentary appeared Aug. 27 in RTI India.  A Committee comprising PM and the Leader of Opposition, recommends CICs names. Since, at present there is no Leader of Opposition, a recently-retired CIC has not […]

  • 21 August 2014

    Bangladesh Needs Transparency in Picking New Commissioners

    By Suchismita Goswami The author is Project Officer, Access to Information Programme, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. This article appeared The Daily Star Aug. 21. Two out of three posts at the Bangladesh Information Commission are lying vacant for the past month. The government knew they were falling vacant when information commissioners Sadeka Halim and MA […]