Latest Features

  • 20 November 2014

    New Tool Examines Jamaica’s Development Projects

    By Carole Excell and Stephanie Ratte The authors work for World Resources Institute. Excell is Project Director of WRI’s Access Initiative. Ratte is Project Coordinator/Research Analyst with the Governance of Forests Initiative. Portland Bight (PBPA) is Jamaica’s largest protected area, extending more than 200 square miles of land and 524 miles of sea. The region is home to […]

  • 19 November 2014

    Private Bodies Carrying Out Public Functions

    The following is a chapter from the third “International Survey of Information Commissioners,” conducted by the Centre for Freedom of Information, University of Dundee, Scotland. Responses were provided by 53 commissioners or ombudsman in 33 countries. (See FreedomInfo.org report.) In the last survey we noted that “increasingly a number of public functions and services, such […]

  • 13 November 2014

    Nigeria: a case of progressive implementation

    By Edetaen Ojo and Ann Iyonu Ojo is Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda.  Iyonu is Program Officer, The Right to Information Initiative (R2K), Nigeria. This is a chapter from a recently issued State of Right to Information in Africa Report 2014 and is reprinted with permission. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.) Apart from the African Charter on Values and Principles of Public […]

  • 13 November 2014

    Namibia Imprisoned in a Secrecy System

    By Natasha H. Tibinyane The author is National Director of  MISA Namibia.  This is a chapter in a recently issued State of Right to Information in Africa Report 2014 and is reprinted with permission. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.) The Government of Namibia is a State Party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and has also ratified the African […]

  • 12 November 2014

    Latin American Countries Make OGP Access Commitments

    By Jesse Franzblau The following is an excerpt from a summary prepared by Jesse Franzblau for the Open Government Partnership Civil Society Hub blog. The article reviews the commitments made by the 17 OGP member countries in Latin America in their national action plans. This section, minus footnotes and some lovely formatting, describes the access […]

  • 6 November 2014

    Malawi Political Delays vs. Civil Society Initiatives

    By Michael Kaiyatsa The author is Training and Research Coordinator, Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation.  This is a chapter in a recently issued State of Right to Information in Africa Report 2014 and is reprinted with permission. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.) Malawi has demonstrated exceptional leadership in terms of ratification of African Union treaties that recognize the […]

  • 6 November 2014

    Mozambique Parliament Makes an Important Step on RTI

    By Alfredo Libombo The author is Executive Director, ACREDITAR, Mozambique. This is a chapter in a recently issued State of Right to Information in Africa Report 2014 and is reprinted with permission. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.) The Republic of Mozambique has demonstrated political commitment to accountability on the basis of African treaties. The government has ratified five of the […]

  • 4 November 2014

    China’s Leaders Endorse Disclosure as the `Norm’

    By Jamie P. Horsley The author is Executive Director, The China Law Center and Senior Research Scholar, Yale Law School In an important policy decision adopted at the conclusion of a four-day plenary meeting of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee from October 20-23, the Party endorsed disclosure as the norm, with non-disclosure as the […]

  • 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 FreedomInfo.org 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 FreedomInfo.org 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 www.cleen.org 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 FreedomInfo.org 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 […]