What’s New

  • 30 October 2014

    Indian Order Sparks Debate on Disclosing Requester Info

    The recent decision by the Indian government to post online the replies to right to information requests is generating debate over whether requester names should be disclosed. The instruction from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) in an Oct. 21 memorandum did not directly address the disclosure of names issue, but those familiar with […]

  • 30 October 2014

    Albania Rewrites Access Law; Changes Considered Positive

    A new Albania right to information law has been enacted that supporters called “groundbreaking.” “At last, this reform brings the law on the right to information to the level of advanced legislation in the region and beyond,” said Darian Pavli, senior attorney at the Open Society Justice Initiative in a statement that also credited lobbying […]

  • 30 October 2014

    FOI Notes: UK, India, UK, OGP, Open Budgets, Pakistan, More

    United Kingdom: Joe Reddington in a blog post writes about a paper by Alexander J Fowler, and others: “The UK Freedom of Information Act (2000) in healthcare research: a systematic review.“ In an interview, Fowler says among other things: I think the FOI Act is a hugely powerful tool for medical research – especially policy type […]

  • 29 October 2014

    US FOIA Advisory Panel Tackles Variety of Topics

    By Lauren Harper The author writes for the National Security Archive Unredacted blog. The FOIA Advisory Committee, established by the second Open Government National Action Plan and tasked to “advise on improvements to FOIA administration,” held itssecond meeting last week. The Committee consists of ten government and ten non-governmental FOIA experts – including the Archive’s FOIA Coordinator Nate Jones […]

  • 29 October 2014

    OGP Sees Promise in New National Action Plans

    With a new batch of 30 national action plans to review, Open Government Partnership staffers like what they are seeing. Improvements are being seen in how the plans are being created and in specificity of the commitments. These observations were offered during a presentation in Washington by Joseph Foti, the manager of the Independent Review […]

  • 28 October 2014

    Croatia Pledges to Amend Access to Information Act

    Croatia has pledged to amend its freedom of information act to improve its usefulness, according to one point in its latest action plan submitted as part of the Open Government Partnership process The government committed to make changes that would help ensure that its data is high quality and accessible for reuse. “Amendments to the […]

  • 23 October 2014

    Indian Ministries Told to Post Replies Online by Oct. 31

    All Indian government agencies have been told to post online their replies to Right to Information Act requests by the end of the month. The ministry overseeing the administration of the Indian RTI Act on Oct. 21 announced a new website feature that will allow placement of replies on the RTI Online system. Agencies were […]

  • 23 October 2014

    FOI Notes: Personnel Moves, Pakistan Video, US Schools, UK Court Ruling

    Personnel: The Ford Foundation announced the appointment of Rakesh Rajani as director of Democratic Participation and Governance. Rajani currently serves as the head of Twaweza in Tanzania and was the lead civil society chair for the Open Government Partnership. He will begin his new position in New York on Jan. 5. Personnel: Transparency International has […]

  • 23 October 2014

    50 US Groups Press Obama to Back FOI Legislation

    Concerned that the Obama administration has been largely mute on a pending bipartisan bill to reform the Freedom of Information Act, 50 groups Oct. 23 urged him to voice his support. The bill has support from both Republican and Democratic legislators, has already passed the House and would appear to have a god chance of passage, […]

  • 23 October 2014

    Carnegie Commentators Score Use of Four Principles

    “Four key principles—accountability, transparency, participation, and inclusion—have in recent years become nearly universal features of the policy statements and programs of international development organizations. Yet this apparently widespread new consensus is deceptive: behind the ringing declarations lie fundamental fissures over the value and application of these concepts. Understanding and addressing these divisions is crucial to […]

  • 23 October 2014

    El Salvadoran Court Orders Open Proceedings on Judges

    The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice in El Salvador has decided administrative proceedings against judges must be transparent. The court ruled that the Access to Information Act, through its article 110, tacitly abolishes the provision (article 70 of the Judicial Career Act of 1990) that established the confidentiality of the administrative punitive […]

  • 16 October 2014

    Report Paints Bleak Picture of Indian RTI Law at 10th Year

    A comprehensive and scathing report on the Indian Right to Information documents extensive weaknesses in the system and makes major recommendations for reform. The 150-page examination provides a detailed picture of dysfunction, including “huge” backlogs, an ineffectual appeals process, lack of compliance with orders and penalty awards, and weak records management. The research provides many […]

  • 16 October 2014

    UN Panel Told That Angola Needs Better Implementation

    Angola is not doing enough to implement its right to information law, according to a statement made by the Africa Freedom of Information Centre to a United Nations body. The statement was made by Gilbert Sendugwa, AFIC’s Coordinator & Head of Secretariat, at an Oct. 7 meeting under the auspices of the Human Rights Council. […]

  • 16 October 2014

    FOI Notes: Nordics, World Bank Webcasts, Open Data

    Nordic Transparency: Access to Information in the Nordic Countries, a comparison of the laws of Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland and international rules by Oluf Jørgensen (Nordicom, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg 2014, 40 pages.) “This publication explains and compares the legal rules determining public access to documents and data in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, […]

  • 15 October 2014

    Ireland Amendments Extend Reach of FOI Law

    Revisions to the freedom of information law signed Oct. 14 by the Irish president will bring more public bodies under the Irish FOI umbrella. The new legislation, known as the Freedom of Information Act, 2014, will apply to: An Garda Síochána, the Irish police force. Public financial bodies, including NAMA, the National Asset Management Agency […]

  • 14 October 2014

    Argentina’s Supreme Court Backs RTI for Legislator

    The Supreme Court of Justice from Argentina on Oct. 14 issued two decisions supporting the right of access to information. In both cases the defendant, the national government, said that the plaintiff, a national congressman, was not entitled to ask for public information, because he had require it as a legislator. The Court, however, said […]

  • 14 October 2014

    OGP Working Groups Seek to Clarify Their Missions

    The five working groups of the Open Government Partnership are seeking clarification on their roles in order “to facilitate and amplify their efforts,” according to the minutes of two meetings released Oct. 14. The topic was one of many policy and procedure topics addressed at an OGP Steering Committee session held Sept. 24 in New […]

  • 9 October 2014

    Reports Finds Few Donors Meeting Transparency Goals

    Many international aid organizations are “dragging their feet” in meeting commitments to make their finances more transparent, according to a report released Oct. 8. The Aid Transparency Index 2014 report evaluates how well countries and other international aid donors are doing in fulfilling transparency commitments made at the 2011 Busan development summit. “This is a […]

  • 9 October 2014

    FOI Notes: OGP Research Call, Resource Transparency, Open Data, UK, US, Brazil

    Open Government Partnership: The Transparency and Accountability Initiative is seeking research proposals on: when and how are pro-reform actors able to leverage OGP – its processes, spaces and resources – to pursue improved government responsiveness and accountability? Due date is Oct. 27. Resource Transparency: The Resource Governance Index finds that only 11 of the countries—less than […]

  • 7 October 2014

    Slovenian Court Invalidates Part of Transparency Law

    The Constitutional Court of Slovenia has suspended part of a recently passed law mandating that state-owned banks release data on all bad loans on their books. The court did not suspend a requirement that banks publish information about bad loans transferred to the so-called Bad Bank, the new public sector Bank Asset Management Company (BAMC) […]