Latest Features

  • 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 […]

  • 29 April 2015

    Notes of the Mexican Transparency System reform.

    By Ana Cristina Ruelas Serna and David Mora The authors work at ARTICLE 19, Mexico and Central America. On April 16th, the Mexican Congress finally approved the General Transparency Law, making progress in adjusting the current legal framework to the standards ordered by the Constitutional reform approved in February 2014. The final text did not include […]

  • 16 April 2015

    Clinton Emails Raise Questions About Agency Record Obligations

    By Harry Hammit Hammit is editor and publisher of Access Reports, a bi-monthly report on U.S. and Canadian freedom of information legal developments. The recent revelation that Hillary Clinton used her personal email account to conduct government business while she was Secretary of State, retained custody of those emails on a personal server at her home in […]

  • 1 April 2015

    The Power of a Question in El Salvador

    By Max Heywood This article first appeared March 2 on the Transparency International blog. Heywood is Programme Coordinator in the Americas Department of Transparency International. Read this blog in Spanish here. Transparency laws mean nothing if they are not applied, and it sometimes takes brave citizens and active civil society organisations to make sure that they […]

  • 18 March 2015

    Proposed Changes to Mexican FOIA Law Still Worrying

    By David Mora The author works for Article 19 in Mexico. On Feb. 19, Ana Cristina Ruelas of Article 19 wrote here on the contradiction of Mexico holding Open Government Partnership’s lead chair while the Mexican President pressed the Senate for regressive regulations in the General Transparency Law currently on discussion. In that entry, we […]

  • 12 March 2015

    Department of State Email Preservation Rate Hovers under 0.000061%

    By Lauren Harper and Nate Jones This column appeared March 11 in Unredacted, a blog from the National Security Archive, the publisher of Harper and Jones are Archive staff members. Today’s Department of State Office of Inspector General report has some scary numbers on the number of emails the Department actually preserves. Hillary Clinton […]

  • 11 March 2015

    Government is Open in Rhetoric and Secret in Reality

    By Umar Cheema The author is an investigative reporter for the Pakistani newspaper The News, where this article first appeared March 10. ISLAMABAD: The PML-N government is determined to promote transparency in rhetoric but has been found building walls of secrecy in reality. The Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights has denied the citizens’ […]