What’s New

  • 26 March 2015

    UK Court Blunts Government Veto of Releasing Royal Mail

    A British journalist has won a case to get access to letters sent by Prince Charles to government agencies, a decision has ignited debate about when the government should be able to “veto” disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act. The Supreme Court ruling prompted Prime Minister David Cameron to issue a statement saying that the law […]

  • 26 March 2015

    Obama Task Force Suggests Study of Body Cam Policies

    President Obama’s Task Force on 21st-Century Policing has issued a report that includes pro-transparency recommendations, and recommends creation of “best practices” for states on topics including the disclosure of video taken from cameras worn by police officers. Obama appointed the task force after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the fatal […]

  • 26 March 2015

    FOI Notes: Africa, UK, Ireland, US, Brazil, Nepal, India, New Zealand

    Africa: Gilbert Sendugwa, Coordinator and Head of the Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC), a pan-African network of 35 organizations based in Uganda, is featured in an IFEX podcast (text also available there) along with links to resources about FOI in Africa. Last September, AFIC released a report called The State of Right to Information […]

  • 26 March 2015

    US Group Creates Ratings on Open Government, RTI

    The World Justice Project has created an “Open Government Index” that rates 102 countries in four categories, including right to information. “Instead of measuring what the law says, we measure how these laws are experienced by ordinary people interacting with their governments around the world,” according to the report issued March 26 by the Washington-based […]

  • 25 March 2015

    Indian Group Criticizes CIC Selection Process

    The National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI) has complained about delays in the selection of a new chief information commissioner and the secrecy of the process. The post has been vacant for seven months since Aug. 22, 2014. Activists Aruna Roy, Anjali Bhardwaj, Nikhil Dey and the Former CIC Wajahat Habibullah addressed a […]

  • 25 March 2015

    RTI Law in Indian State Not Implemented, Critics Say

    The six-year old right to information law in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir is not being fully implemented, according to reports on the anniversary of the law. “Six years since the landmark legislation Right to Information Act was implemented in the state, the government itself has failed to adhere to the guidelines of […]

  • 25 March 2015

    Ukraine Advances Bill to Post More Information Online

    The Ukrainian Parliament March 5 gave preliminary approval (with 243 votes) to a law that would make more public information available online and free of charge, according to an article by Boxhena Sheremeta in the Kiev Post. Government agencies would have to publish operational data, statistics and reports on a national open data web platform. […]

  • 25 March 2015

    Bulgarian Group Proposes Ideas on Rewriting RTI Law

    A new report by the Access to Information Programme (AIP) in Bulgaria proposes ways to handle five major implementation problems. Based on its “18 years of experience in the monitoring and advocacy for enhanced transparency and accountability of public bodies and more active exercise of the right to information,” AIP formulated recommendations for necessary legislative […]

  • 25 March 2015

    Civil Society Presses Ghana on RTI Law After IMF Deal

    A civil society coalition on March 24 urged Ghana’s parliament to pass a right to information bill, saying access to information is especially important in light of a new agreement between Ghana and the International Monetary Fund. The appeal comes in the wake of a new bailout package that appears to generally encourage the government […]

  • 25 March 2015

    Article 19 Urges Sri Lanka Not to Limit Human Rights

    Sri Lanka’s draft constitutional amendment on freedom of expression and the right to information should be broadened “to make sure that constitutional rights are available to all, not just citizens,” according to Article 19, the London-based free expression group. In a March 23 statement, Thomas Hughes, Article 19 Executive Director, said: According to international law […]

  • 24 March 2015

    Groups Allege Azerbaijan Violating OGP Principles

    Three major international nongovernmental organizations have accused the government of Azerbaijan of seriously damaging the ability of civil society organizations to engage in the Open Government Partnership process, using a new OGP process that could lead to the government’s OGP membership begin declared “inactive. The accusations are the first made under a new OGP “response policy” […]

  • 24 March 2015

    Albania to Disclose Data About Telephone Surveillance

    Albania’s General Prosecutor’s Office has agreed to disclose statistical information on telephone surveillance. The move was applauded by the nongovernmental organization NGO Res Publica welcomed the decision. The disclosed document, operational surveillance measures were authorized in relation to 689 cases and concerning 3,140 individuals in 2014, as opposed to 3,112 individuals in 2013 and 2,315 […]

  • 24 March 2015

    RTI Bill in DR Congo Put on List for Senate Consideration

    The Senate of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has put a bill (in French) on access to information on its agenda, according to media reports confirmed by local activists. Senator Moses Nyarugabo offered the bill and passage ahs been pushed by groups, especially the Collectif 24, a nongovernmental organization that coordinated a civil society effort […]

  • 23 March 2015

    Issa Says Banks Rejected FOIA Bill Compromise

    Major banks last year rejected a compromise proposal to resolve their concerns with freedom of information act reform legislation, according Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), to one of the leading House sponsors of the  bipartisan legislation that died in the final days of Congress. Issa described the proposed deal at panel discussion on “Fixing FOIA” March […]

  • 19 March 2015

    Mexican Senate Approves New Access Legislation

    The Mexican Senate on March 18 approved a new access to information bill. The final bill does not include 77 of the 81 last-minute amendments urged by the government which had aroused strenuous objections, according to the Alejandro Gonzalez, the Executive Director of a Mexican civil society organization, Gestión Social y Cooperación (GESOC.) Gonzalez had […]

  • 19 March 2015

    FOI Notes: United Nations, United States, Brazil, Pakistan, World Bank, Open Data

    FOIA Implementation: A working paper,  “Right to Information: Identifying Drivers of Effectiveness in Implementation,” by Stephanie E. Trapnell and Victoria Lemieux, describes the World Bank’s multi-faceted approach to measuring implementation. United Nations: The UN Statistical Commission’s initial assessment of the still provisionally proposed indicators for an access-to-information target in the UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals. The first […]

  • 17 March 2015

    CIC Concedes Defeat in Political Parties Case

    India’s Central Information Commission on March 16 said it can’t enforce its 2013 order that the six major political parties are subject to the Right to Information Act. A three commissioner panel concluded the CIC could not impose penalties or compensatory damages on the parties, or otherwise compel compliance with a decision it defended as still […]

  • 17 March 2015

    White House Cements Exemption From FOIA

    The White House Office of Administration on March 17 officially exempted itself from the Freedom of Information Act, relying on a seven-year-old court decision. The Office of Administration amended its regulations, relying on a judicial decision from 2009 in which U.S. District Judge Coleen Kollar-Kotelly dismissed a government watchdog’s lawsuit seeking records on missing White House […]

  • 13 March 2015

    Proactive Disclosure Lags in US, Archive Audit Finds

    Only 40 percent of US government agencies systematically post online the records released through Freedom of Information Act requests, according to an audit done by the National Security Archive. The Archive team audited 165 federal agencies and found only 67 with online libraries populated with significant numbers of released FOIA documents and regularly updated. Proactive […]

  • 12 March 2015

    Ugandan Magistrate Orders Disclosure by Government

    In a major first victory under the Ugandan Access to Information act, a magistrate ordered the government to disclose information about the procurement of equipment to fight forest fires. The requester was Edward Sekyewa, Executive Director of the Hub for Investigative Media. The decision has not been adequately reported by the media, according to an […]