What’s New

  • 30 July 2015

    Ghana Parliament Moving RTI Bill to Amendment Stage

    The Ghana Parliament has completed general discussion of a right to information bill and is expected to move on to the amendment stage. Over the past few weeks, speeches on the bill were given on three different days, according to a supporter of the bill closely following the debate. The observer reported that 12 people […]

  • 30 July 2015

    Draft Cyprus FOI Law Scores Poorly in Rating, Group Says

    A draft access to information law in Cyprus, if adopted, would be one of the worst in the world, according to an analysis by Access Info Europe. The group announced that its analysis of the draft text using the Right to Information Rating indicators found that Cyprus would come in at position 97 of 102 […]

  • 30 July 2015

    Book Review: UK How-To Aims to Inspire Journalists

    By Toby McIntosh Training journalists about the mechanics of using legal tools to access to information is the easy part. Motivating them is the harder. A new book by British journalist Matt Burgess does both. (Freedom of Information: A Practical Guide for UK Journalists, Routledge, 2015) While focused primarily on the Freedom of Information Act […]

  • 30 July 2015

    FOI Notes: Ireland, UK, India, Pakistan, US, Hungary

    Ireland: The information commissioner writes about what happened when fees were raised. “While I expected to find a decline in usage of the Act I did not believe that it would be as immediate or as dramatic in scale as proved to be the case: between the first quarter of 2003 and the first quarter […]

  • 29 July 2015

    Worries About Aquino Still Worry FOI Bill Supporters

    Philippines President Benigno Aquino for the sixth straight year failed to mention freedom of information legislation in his State of the Nation Address. He did note it in his budget speech the next day, but those following the bill remain concerned about its future. Although Aquino made passage a campaign promise, he has not provided […]

  • 29 July 2015

    Groups Call Into Question South Africa’s OGP Role

    The South African Right2Know Campaign and several other civil society organization have questioned whether the South African government is qualified to be the next leader of the Open Government Partnership. “We call upon the South African government to either demonstrate a commitment to the realization of a genuine state-civil society partnership that takes the OGP […]

  • 23 July 2015

    UN SDG Talks Continue; Access Clause Still There

    United Nations’ deliberations on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) have resumed in New York City with observers saying that Goal 16.10 on access to information is “still secure.” Meanwhile, discussions are under way on how to measure progress toward achieving the goals, including the access to information goal. In the latest version of the SDG goals, […]

  • 23 July 2015

    Philippines Lawmaker Says FOI Bill a Top Priority

    Philippines Senate President Franklin Drilon said July 23 that lawmakers will prioritize six measures, including the freedom of information bill, according to news reports such as one in The Sun Star, but a House leader was pessimistic. Also in the priority list, Drilon said, are the 2016 national budget, modernization of the state weather bureau […]

  • 23 July 2015

    FOI Notes: New Book, New Research Funding, New Developments

    New Book: Article 19 has published a new e-book, Governance for Sustainable Development- The Post-2015 Agenda, a publication that “compiles the main elements of discussions had by governmental representatives, UN officials, experts, and civil society during workshops on the post-2015 agenda, hosted by the Friends of Governance for Sustainable Development.” The book’s first chapter, ‘The Role […]

  • 23 July 2015

    Pakistan Draft Law Rated Potential Number One

    Pakistan’s draft Right to Information Act has scored an “astonishing 146 points” on the RTI Rating. The score puts the bill 11 points ahead of the best-ranked RTI law in the world, Serbia’s, which got 135 points. The assessment of the Pakistan bill was issued by the Centre for Law and Democracy. The CLD assessment […]

  • 22 July 2015

    Senior DHS FOIA Official Named as US Ombudsman

    James Holzer, Senior Director of FOIA Operations at the Department of Homeland Security, has been selected to be the next US FOIA ombudsman. The five-year veteran of the DHS FOIA office will be director of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) beginning in August, filing a position vacant for eight months. He has been […]

  • 22 July 2015

    Japanese Group Sues for Access to Report on Iraq War

    A Tokyo-based nonprofit organization has sued for access to a report on Japan’s participation in the 2003 Iraq War. Access-Info Clearinghouse Japan had asked the Foreign Ministry to disclose the full 2012 report, according to an article in Japan Focus. The request was denied in order to protect relationships with other countries and international organizations, according to the […]

  • 21 July 2015

    DOJ Agnostic on Timing for Publishing FOIA’d Documents

    The Justice Department has no current position on whether first requesters should get a priority look at the documents released before they are made available to the public under a planned “release to one, release to all” policy, according to Melanie Ann Pustay, Director of the Office of Information Policy at the Justice Department. The […]

  • 20 July 2015

    UK FOIA Supporters Criticize Creation of Commission

    The British government has announced plans for a commission to study the Freedom of Information Act and transferred administrative responsibility for FOIA to Cabinet Office. Both moves were widely seen as threatening to freedom of information, following through on previously stated objections from Conservative government leaders. A “crack down” on FOI is clearly being planned, […]

  • 17 July 2015

    Cabo Verde Joins OGP; Steering Committee to Meet

    Cabo Verde has indicated its intention to join the Open Government Partnership, bringing membership to 66 out of the 93 eligible countries. The deputy minister of foreign Affairs indicated Cabo Verde’s intention in a letter dated July 13, the OGP announced. A Cabo Verde government statement notes that the idea of joining was raised when […]

  • 16 July 2015

    US to Experiment With Releasing FOIA Replies

    The Obama administration has announced that seven agencies will be putting online their responses to most Freedom of Information requests. The “Release-to-One: Release-to-All” pilot project will run for six months and then be evaluated, the Justice Department Office of Information Policy (OIP) said in a press release issued July 10. The effort is “designed to […]

  • 16 July 2015

    FOI Notes: India, Open Data, Brazil, German, US, UK, Private Sector

    India: At least 39 people who used the RTI Act have been murdered over the last decade and more than 250 Indians have been intimidated so far for using the law, according to an article by Shreya Ila Anasuya in Scroll.in. Open Data: “A politics of public information worth its salt surely needs to go […]

  • 16 July 2015

    India Looks to Encourage More Proactive Disclosure

    The Indian government is pressing agencies to proactively release more of the information repeatedly sought by requesters under the Right to Information Act. The government has asked all departments to do an analysis of information sought often by applicants and suo-motu make such details public, according to media reports such as an article in The New Indian […]

  • 16 July 2015

    Malta Tribunal Orders Release of Documents About Envoy

    An appeals tribunal in Malta has ordered the release of documents concerning the controversial employment of two persons as investment envoys, reported Matthew Vella in Malta Today. In so doing, the tribunal overturned a decision by the Information and Data Protection Commissioner (IDPC), that upheld Malta Enterprise’s decision not to disclose the contract of employment […]

  • 15 July 2015

    Groups Condemn Spanish FOI Implementation Proposal

    A draft regulation to implement Spain’s freedom of information law came under sharp criticism July 13 from Access Info Europe and the 65-member Coalición Pro Acceso. A press release called the proposed regulation “a deliberate attempt by the government to further limit an already weak law and have called for it to be redrafted with urgency.” […]