What’s New

  • 16 September 2014

    Senate Judiciary Schedules Meeting on FOIA Legislation

    The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a Sept. 18 meeting at which one agenda item is S.2520, the FOIA Improvement Act of 2014. Under Senate rules, a matter may be “held over” to the next meeting at the request of any committee member, so there is a possibility that approval of the bill will be […]

  • 15 September 2014

    FOI Notes: Global Transparency Conference Invites Papers

    Call for Papers: The 4th Global Conference on Transparency Research will be held June 4-6 at Università della Svizzera italiana, Lugano. It will be the fourth time for the conference at which “academics, policy makers, and interest group representatives to analyze and discuss the ever-growing reach and impact of the logic of transparency and openness: […]

  • 13 September 2014

    OGP Moving Toward Approval of Revised Civic Space Policy

    By Toby McIntosh The Open Government Partnership is nearing approval of a policy to address complaints that some member governments are interfering with nongovernmental organizations or reducing fundamental freedoms such as freedom of expression. The so-called “response space” policy, to be discussed by the Steering Committee Sept. 25, has been modified during nine months of […]

  • 11 September 2014

    FOI Center of Armenia Issues Comprehensive Evaluation

    Using a new and comprehensive assessment tool, the Freedom of Information Center of Armenia has evaluated and compared the level of transparency and openness of the Armenian government bodies. The center used 53 criteria to create the transparency ratings and plans to repeat the study annually. Thirty-seven state administration bodies were evaluated this year including […]

  • 11 September 2014

    Appointments Said to Violate New Law in Sierra Leone

    The appointment of a government appointee as the first chief information commissioner and the selection of an executive secretary for the commission by the president of Sierra Leone violate the new law, according to Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai, Executive Director of the Society for Democratic Initiatives. In a letter to President Ernest Bai Koroma, Abdulai said […]

  • 11 September 2014

    TI UK Issues Report on National Security, Access

    A new report from Transparency International UK’s Defence and Security Programme “calls for better legislation that balances national security concerns with the public right to access information,” according to a Sept 11 press release. “A strong defence and security sector can coexist with the ability of citizens to access to information and hold leaders to […]

  • 11 September 2014

    Ghana Parliamentary Panel Praised for Passing RTI Bill

    A committee of Ghana’s Parliament has recommended a right to information bill, making changes that were welcomed by the RTI Coalition. The Coalition in a statement praised the “good work” of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, chaired by Nadowli West and in-coming Majority Leader, Alban Bagbin. They involved civil society […]

  • 11 September 2014

    OGP Group Proposes Draft Open Data Charter

    A draft international Open Data Charter is being proposed by the Open Government Partnership Open Data Working Group Steering Committee. “This Charter is based on the principles of the G8 Open Data Charter,” according to an announcement which continued, “It has been lightly revised from the original G8 language to make it more internationally focused.” […]

  • 11 September 2014

    New Moroccan Proposal Weaker Than Before

    The latest version of Morocco’s draft right to information law (Draft Law No. 31.13) “is substantially weaker than the draft published in August 2013,” according to an analysis by the Centre for Law and Democracy. An assessment of the draft Law using the RTI Rating assessment tool (www.RTI-Rating.org) gives the latest draft 65 points out […]

  • 11 September 2014

    FOI Notes: Drafting Advice, Gaps, Peru, US, UK, New Zealand, UNCITRAL

    Legislation: Generic advice for drafters of transparency legislation by Daniel Shuman, policy director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a non-profit organization in Washington. He makes eight main points: Understand the context Use flexible implementation authority Create external checks on implementation Make information public by default Build in feedback loops Keep close […]

  • 10 September 2014

    Bloggers in Vietnam Support Right to Information

    Vietnamese bloggers and activists posted a statement on Facebook Sept. 2 pushing for the right to know. “Freedom of expression is closely linked to the right to access information,” the bloggers wrote. They said “every person has the right to receive information from the government such as national policies, activities by government offices and/or the […]

  • 10 September 2014

    Report Scores South Africa For `Failing’ on Access

    “Access to information mechanisms are failing” in South Africa, according to a new report by the Right2Know Campaign. Using the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) “often proves to be a frustration that is symptomatic of resistance to openness from information holders,” according to “Secret State of the Nation” for 2014. Monitoring indicates “that […]

  • 10 September 2014

    World Bank Sees Gaps on Data About Access

    Data about national right to information systems is weak and widely varied, according to a World Bank report unveiled Sept. 10, and there’s a need for “a global dialogue on reporting standards.” “It is very import to get the information so you can improve the process if it is not working,” said Stephanie E. Trapnell, […]

  • 4 September 2014

    FOI Bill for Philippines Emerges From Subgroup

    The Technical Working Group (TWG) of the Philippines House has adopted a consolidated version of a freedom of information bill (text). The movement by the TWG Sept. 2 clears the way for passage by the Public Information Committee, whose chairman, Rep. Jorge Almonte, said its report on the “consensus FOI bill” should be ready for submission […]

  • 4 September 2014

    Russian FOI Organization Declared Foreign Agent  

    Russia’s Ministry of Justice Aug. 29 declared the Freedom of Information Foundation a “foreign agent.” FIF joins 12 other Russian NGOs with that designation, accused of carrying out “political activities” and receiving foreign funding. The groups are subject to audits, supervision and potential criminal or administrative penalty policies under the Foreign Agent Law. The “foreign […]

  • 4 September 2014

    US Government Issues Prototype FOI Request Tool

    A U.S. government team has unveiled a prototype tool for making freedom of information requests online. The blog post about the consolidated request submission hub says the tool is part of an effort to: improve the FOIA request submission experience; create a scalable infrastructure for making requests to federal agencies; and make it easier for requesters […]

  • 4 September 2014

    Indian Group Asks Modi to Appoint Chief Commissioner

    The National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information (NCPRI) has called for an end to the delay in appointing a new chief information commissioner. The new government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has postponed a decision “ostensibly because of the deadlock over leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha,” a letter to Modi notes, going […]

  • 4 September 2014

    Democratic Republic of Congo Considering ATI Bill

    Senator Moise Nyarugabo in the Democratic Republic of Congo has introduced an access to information bill. Passage of the bill is being urged by Collectif 24, a nongovernmental organization that coordinated a civil society effort to draft the bill. Advocates are hoping for a Senate vote this month, according to Henri Christin Longendja of Collectif […]

  • 4 September 2014

    China Announces Plans For Local Budget Transparency

    China’s State Council Sept. 3 announced plans to improve budget transparency, according to a statement described in a Global Times report and a Dow Jones article. The publication of complete budgets should also be done at the local level, said the State Council, The Dow Jones account said the plan is to eliminate off-budget expenditures, […]

  • 4 September 2014

    FOI Notes: Open Contracting, World Bank Report, FOI Fees, Research, Odd Documents, Reports

    Open Contracting: The Open Contracting Partnership announces the Beta Release of the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS). World Bank Study: The World Bank will hold an e-webinar on Sept. 10 at 10 a.m. EST on a forthcoming report concerning RTI requests and appeals. Register here. Fees: An Irish government report on FOI fees includes research on […]