Latest Features

  • 23 November 2015

    Ten Years of RTI in India: A New Breed of Activism and Citizenship

    By Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey Roy and Dey are social activists and members of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan and the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information. This article first appeared in The Hindu and is reprinted with permission. The Right to Information (RTI) Act has completed 10 years of implementation. According to […]

  • 12 November 2015

    Algeria Urged to Pass a FOI Law

    By Peter Katonene Mwesigwa The author is Legal & Research Officer for the African Freedom of Information Centre. This chapter, reprinted with permission, is part of the AFIC’s RTI in Africa Report 2015. Introduction Algeria faces deep social, economic and political challenges. Ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s was re–elected to a fourth term5 In 2014 and […]

  • 22 October 2015

    Article 19: The Right to Information in Thailand

    The following article was part of a report on the right to information in Asia published by Article 19. Reprinted with permission. The turbulent history of Thailand is reflected in the number of constitutions the country has adopted since the overthrow of the monarchy in 1932.[i] The right to information was first recognised by the […]

  • 13 October 2015

    SECRET CIA REPORT: Pinochet “Personally Ordered” Washington Car-Bombing

    Washington D.C., October 8, 2015 – The CIA concluded that there was “convincing evidence” that Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet “personally ordered his intelligence chief to carry out the murder” of exiled critic Orlando Letelier in Washington D.C., according to a SECRET memo prepared for President Ronald Reagan in 1987. “Pinochet decided to stonewall on the […]

  • 9 October 2015

    Prime Minister Abe Subverts Japan’s Public Records Act

    By Lawrence Repeta The author is a professor of law at Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan. Japan’s open government activists hailed the adoption of the national Public Records and Archives Management Act (“Public Records Act”) as a milestone in government accountability. When that law took effect on April 1, 2011, government agencies were legally required to […]

  • 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 […]