What’s New

  • 23 April 2015

    FOI Notes: Open Data, Spain, United States, Tanzania, OGP, Videos

    Open Data: New poll results by the US Pew Foundation describe Americans’ opinions on open data. Alex Howard reported that “In general, more people surveyed are guardedly optimistic about the outcomes and release of open data, although that belief does vary with their political views, trust in government, and specific areas.” Spain: Levels of administrative silence […]

  • 16 April 2015

    No Central Request Function In Planned US FOIA Portal

    By Toby McIntosh The “FOIA Portal” being developed by the Obama administration is underwhelming, according to persons interviewed by FreedomInfo.org. The portal will lack a key feature typically described as a “Consolidated Online Request Portal.” In particular, the yet unveiled portal will not provide a central place to file freedom of information requests. Nor will […]

  • 16 April 2015

    North Dakota Bars Disclosure of Private Place Police Videos

    North Dakota appears to be the first state to have passed a new law restricting access to videos taken with body cameras worn by law enforcement officials. The bill signed April 15 by Gov. Jack Dalrymple states: “An image taken by a law enforcement officer or a firefighter with a body camera or similar device […]

  • 16 April 2015

    EITI Sanctions Azerbaijan; Similar OGP Review Pending

    The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative has sanctioned the government of Azerbaijan for impeding civil society participation in the EITI process. Azerbaijan April 15 was downgraded to “candidate” country status by the EITI Board, relying on a Validation report carried out earlier this year, according to the EITI announcement. A similar complaint has been lodged by civil […]

  • 16 April 2015

    Croatian CSO Files Appeal Against Denial of Information

    A civil society organization in Croatia is appealing a court ruling that overturned the information commissioner’s order for the government to disclose its legal bills to defend two persons before the International Tribunal in the Hague. GONG, the CSO, is challenging the recent decision by the High Administrative Court, which ruled that the commissioner had […]

  • 16 April 2015

    FOI Notes: ICIC, Vexatious Requests, Accessing Code, South Africa, India, UK, US

    ICIC: The Ninth International Conference of Information Commissioners will be held April 22 and 23 in Santiago, Chile, The limited posted program is a mix of speeches and panels. It does not appear that the sessions will be webcast. The attending commissioners will meet privately and are expected to issue a statement. South Africa: Gabriella […]

  • 9 April 2015

    Tanzanian RTI Bill Rated as Rather Mediocre by Mendel

    The Tanzanian government’s right to information bill is “rather mediocre,” according to Toby Mendel, an author of the RTI-Rating index that evaluates RTI laws. The government recently tabled the long-promised bill (text). It now goes to committee and is expected to be discussed by full House in May. In the face of objections from RTI advocates, […]

  • 9 April 2015

    Design of WJP Open Gov Index Skews Results

    By Helen Darbishire The author is the Director of AccessInfo Europe.  From a right of access to information perspective, a significant structural flaw in the World Justice Project Open Government Index is to have conflated this right with access to personal data, and other types of “information requests” such as obtaining information for local business […]

  • 9 April 2015

    WJP Open Government Index Raises Interesting Questions

    By Ben Worthy The author is Lecturer in Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London, and the author of the OpenDataStudy blog.   In March 2015 the World Justice Project published its analysis of government openness in 102 countries, as measured by its Open Government Index. You can read the report here and browse the data and […]

  • 9 April 2015

    FOI Notes: Olympics, India, US, Drones, Open Data, More

    Sports: The International Olympic Committee announces plans to disclose the compensation of its top officials. India: The Department of Personnel and Training has invited views/suggestions from citizens on the draft guidelines regarding elements that a RTI reply should essentially contain, RTI India reports. United States: “The expanding reach of the Freedom of Information Act has […]

  • 8 April 2015

    Judge Orders Nigerian Parliament to Report Constituency Payments

    A Nigerian Federal High Court judge has ordered the National Assembly to disclose details of budgetary allocations made to individual legislators for physical projects and the details of the progress of the projects. Justice Abdu Kafarati issued the ruling in response to a of Information suit filed by the a nongovernmental organization, the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP). The […]

  • 8 April 2015

    US DOJ Preparing Toolkit About Body Cameras

    The Justice Department hopes to produce by late May a “toolkit” to help jurisdictions make decisions about adopting the use of body cameras, according to a DOJ spokesperson and a consultation on the project. President Obama’s Task Force on 21st-Century Policing earlier this year issued a report that includes pro-transparency recommendations, and proposed creation of […]

  • 2 April 2015

    UN Goal on RTI Secure, Focus Now on Measurement

    By Toby McIntosh Inclusion of a provision on access to information in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals is now considered likely and attention is focusing on how to measure progress toward achieving the goal. Supporters of Goal 16.10 are optimistic that it will be included in the final document, scheduled for adoption by the […]

  • 2 April 2015

    TI Rates UK Openness; Plans Reports on More Countries

    A new rating of open government in the United Kingdom is the vanguard of a much larger evaluative project planned by Transparency International. The Berlin-based nongovernmental organization already has applied the new methodology to Ghana, Indonesia, Peru and Ukraine, with results to be released soon. Plans for much wider use of the tool are in […]

  • 2 April 2015

    Tanzania Delays Action on FOI Bill, at Media Urging

    Tanzanian officials have decided not to table a freedom of information bill with a “certificate of urgency,” again delaying action on a measure promised by the president more than a year ago. The handling of the bill, and recent passage of another bill criticized for restricting public speech, comes as the government is about to […]

  • 2 April 2015

    Draft Issued For Latin American Environmental ATI

    Environmental activists say they are pleased with the preliminary document of the regional agreement for Latin America and the Caribbean on the rights of access to information, participation and justice in environmental matters. Negotiations in May will continue work on the agreement which would be the first regional convention on such rights in the developing world. […]

  • 2 April 2015

    FOI Notes: UK, Civic Space, History, US, UNESCO, Transparency Research

    United Kingdom: The Information Commissioner issues a document looking at “the question of how to achieve greater transparency about services and functions outsourced by public authorities, and the role that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) plays in this. We highlight the uncertainty about what information is in scope of FOIA and explain how we […]

  • 2 April 2015

    Slower Growth Rate Seen in Indian RTI Requests

    The rate of growth in the number of Right to Information Act requests filed in India is slowing, according to the preliminary findings by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI). “So the question to ask is whether RTI fatigue is setting in or will the numbers go up considerably if all public authorities were to report their […]

  • 1 April 2015

    Canadian Commissioner Makes 85 Reform Proposals

    The Canadian Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault has made 85 recommendations to bring the Access to Information Act up to international standards. Her report, Striking the Right Balance for Transparency: Recommendations to Modernize the Access to Information Act, was sent to Parliament, but observers were doubtful of the chances of passage with the current conservative government. Legault […]

  • 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 […]