Latest Features

  • 30 September 2015

    RTI Activists in Ghana Face Big Challenge

    By Ugonna Ukaigwe The author is the Project Co-ordinator of the Right to Information Coalition in Ghana. Citizens’ access to Information (ATI) held by public institutions is recognised globally as a fundamental Right with very limited exceptions. However, in some countries including Ghana, this right appears to be the exception rather than the norm. Despite […]

  • 17 September 2015

    What Is Transparency?

    By Ben Worthy The author is lecturer in Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London, and runs the website OpenDataStudy, where this article first appeared. Through what media, cultural, activist and commercial forms do people learn about transparency issues? What are the dominant messages on transparency? There are a number of ways through which the […]

  • 14 September 2015

    MuckRock to let users track projects and contribute to costs

    By Joseph Lichterman The author is a staff writer at NiemanLab where article was first published under a Creative Commons license. For the past year, Beryl C.D. Lipton has been investigating the private prison system in the United States. She’s a reporter for MuckRock, a news site that covers government transparency issues and also helps its users access government documents. […]

  • 10 September 2015

    Brazil: Transparency for Some, Opacity for Most

    By Marina Iemini Atoji The author is executive manager of Abraji, the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism, and runs its training for journalists on Brazilian freedom of information law. She is also executive secretary for the Forum for Access to Public Information, a coalition of 25 entities coordinated by Abraji that successfully lobbied for Brazil’s freedom of information […]

  • 27 August 2015

    FOI and eyes wide shut: even public servants want to know

    By Suelette Dreyfuss The author is a research fellow in Computing and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne and part of an international team looking at the impact of technology on whistleblowing about wrongdoing. She is author of the 1997 book, Underground: Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier. This is an expanded version […]

  • 20 August 2015

    FOI Advocates: Stop Re-Inventing the Wheel Today!

    By Tania Sanchez The author is the Open Government Guide Lead at the Transparency & Accountability Initiative. Over the past months, I’ve been working on updating and expanding the Open Government Guide, and it’s been a real eye opener in terms of the immense number of ways to make governments more transparent and accountable, worldwide. It’s […]

  • 29 July 2015

    India: How we fail our RTI heroes

    By Manu Moudgil This article, reprinted with permission, first appeared July 20 in The Hoot, an independent initiative of the Media Foundation based in New Delhi. Another recent Hoot story, by Geeta Seshu, also addressed the issue and possible solutions. The Indian government recently announced plans to gather more statistics on the deaths of RTI activists. (See previous […]

  • 29 July 2015

    India: Tardy working of info panels

    By Anjali Bhardwaj and Amrita Johri The writers are RTI activists and members of the National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information, New Delhi. This article first appeared in The Deccan Herald July 27 and is reprinted with permission. Under the RTI Act, independent Information Commissions (ICs) have been set up at the Centre and […]

  • 9 July 2015

    United Kingdom: The Case Against Government FOI Proposals

    This post is from the website of the Campaign for Freedom of Information. The Government is likely to be considering three sets of new restrictions to the FOI Act. These are likely to involve: (1) preventing the disclosure of government policy discussions (2) strengthening the ministerial veto (3) making it easier for authorities to refuse FOI […]

  • 7 July 2015

    Ghana: The Right to Information and Trade Secrets

    By Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam The author is Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy. This article appeared July 2 in The Chronicle. Introduction The debate over whether trade secrets undermine transparency and promote corruption continues to dominate discussions on Africa’s growing governance landscape. Often difficult to define because of its many faces […]

  • 1 July 2015

    FOIA Compliance Low in Nigeria

    This commentary was posted June 29, 2015, on the website of Center for Social Justice in Nigeria. The Freedom of Information Act 2011, according to its long title, was made as an Act to make public records and information more freely available, provide for public access to public records and information, protect public records and […]

  • 25 June 2015

    Book Review: Sharma Writes History of Indian RTI Act

    By Gaia von Hatzfeldt The author obtained her PhD in social anthropology from the University of Edinburgh, where she did research on anti-corruption social movements in India. Sharma, Prashant (2015). Democracy and Transparency in the Indian State: The making of the Right to Information Act. Routledge: Abingdon (225 pages). Access to information around the world […]

  • 24 June 2015

    FOI laws: fixing the chilling effect on frank advice

    By Stephen Easton The author is a journalist at The Mandarin based in Canberra. This article appeared June 18 in The Mandarin. Reprinted with permission. Those who want more limitations on transparency are regaining ground in the freedom of information tug-of-war. If the government thumbs its nose at disclosure and public servants are all too happy to follow […]

  • 17 June 2015

    Ten years of RTI: what do we know?

    By Prashant Sharma The writer is a Fellow of the Open Society Foundations, New York and Visiting Research Fellow at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), Geneva. He is the author of Democracy and Transparency in the Indian State: The Making of the Right to Information Act. He can be reached at […]

  • 21 May 2015

    RTI and the Indian Official Secrets Act

    By Venkatesh Nayak The author is Coordinator of the Access to Information Programme at the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. This post first appeared May 15 in The Hoot. Last week, upon being requested by a section of the family of the leader of the Indian movement for independence, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, to make the […]

  • 21 May 2015

    What if we disclosed everything?

    By Marcus Siqueira    The author is an expert in public-private partnerships (PPPs) in Brazil, with a multidisciplinary background and more than 10 years of practical experience screening, preparing and managing PPP transactions. This post appeared in a World Bank blog. One day in 2012, when I was the head of a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Unit […]

  • 14 May 2015

    A FOIA for Italy Could Be a Weak One

    By Claudio Cesarano  The author is the Communication and Research Intern at Access Info Europe. A draft freedom of information law currently pending before the Italian parliament would not significantly improve the right to information in Italy. Right to information specialists at Access Info Europe have given the draft law a score of 68 points […]

  • 12 May 2015

    The RTI Act-Present Status

    By Shailesh Ghandhi The author is a right to information activist and a former commissioner of the Indian Central Information Commission. This statement was issued May 11. The RTI Act has caught the imagination of people and the way it has spread is being appreciated and admired around the world. A great change has come […]

  • 6 May 2015

    Amendments May Make Slovakia’s FOIA Act Most Liberal in Europe

    By Andrej Školkay The author is head of the School of Communication and Mass Media in Bratislava, Slovakia. His post first appeared on the LSE Media Policy Project blog. After two years of preparation, the Slovak Parliament is going to discuss an amendment to the law on freedom of information (FOIA) . However, considering the many objections and specifications raised by a published draft, it […]

  • 30 April 2015

    Access to Information in Kenya

    By Ruth Nzioka The author is a Legal Researcher at the Institute for Law and Environmental Governance (ILEG) and first appeared on the ILEG blog. The views expressed here are purely her own and do not necessarily reflect ILEG’s position. “You cannot protect the environment unless you empower people, you inform them, and you help […]