What’s New

  • 11 February 2016

    Spanish Government Sues Over Disclosure Rulings

    The Spanish government is appealing five instances in which the Transparency Council ordered the disclosure of information under the one-year-old transparency law. The lawsuits are described in an article by Elana G. Sevillano in El Pais and a press release by Access Info Europe. Ironically, the government is seeking to prevent the disclosure of documents […]

  • 11 February 2016

    EU Open Data Efforts Only Halfway There, Study says

    More political will is necessary in Europe to advance access to open government data, according to a new report prepared for the European Data Portal project. The existing national data portals in EU countries are falling well short of their potential, according to detailed research by Capgemini Consulting in the report entitled “Open Data Maturity […]

  • 11 February 2016

    Slovakian Groups Press Reforms to Access Law

    Proposals to strengthen the right to information law in Slovakia have been endorsed by 11 of the 12 political parties, but not the ruling Smer party, the SITA newswire has reported and described (in Slovak) by one of the sponsors. Ten reform proposals were made by three non-governmental organizations, the Transparency International Slovensko (TIS), the Fair-Play Alliance […]

  • 11 February 2016

    FOI Notes: Transparency in Rulemaking, Freedom of Expression, Open Data, Pakistan, EU, US, UK, India, Ghana, Bosnia, FIFA, Canada, Israel, Open Fisheries

    Rulemaking: “In one-fourth of the economies measured, governments do not give notice of proposed regulations, publish draft texts nor engage with the general public before implementing new rules,” according to the World Bank, which has issued a dataset on rulemaking that covers 185 countries and reflects inputs from the private sector and governments. Country findings, […]

  • 11 February 2016

    Malaysian FOI Supporters Oppose Stronger Secrets Act

    An opposition Malaysian lawmaker has called on the government to enact a freedom of information law instead of imposing harsher penalties under the Official Secrets Act. The comments came from Mohamed Hanipa Maidin, a member of the National Trust Party, according to an article in The Malaysian Insider. The chairman of the party’s legal bureau […]

  • 10 February 2016

    UN Leader Cites Islamic Teaching on Transparency

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Feb. 8 cited Islamic teachings in advocating for government transparency and inclusiveness. In a speech at the World Government Summit in Dubai he said: “The challenges facing governments are not only on the emergency front. People around the world are calling as never before for greater transparency, accountability and democracy.” Ban also […]

  • 10 February 2016

    Malawi Draft Law Rated Highly by Rating System

    If the president allows it to pass, the draft right to information law in Malawi would be the fifteenth best in the world, according to an analysis by the Centre for Law and Democracy. “The Analysis also reveals that there are important areas where the Bill should be improved before it is passed,” a CLD […]

  • 10 February 2016

    Draft Austrian FOI Law Criticized by Two Groups

    Austria’s draft freedom of information law does not meet international standards, according to an analysis of the draft by Access Info Europe and the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI). The groups said the “key weaknesses” in the proposed FOI law (Informationsfreiheitsgesetz) include: – An overly restrictive definition of “information” that would exclude drafts, internal e-mails, notes and other information […]

  • 10 February 2016

    OGP Leaders Set Priorities, Plan Future Activities

    The Open Government Partnership’s leaders have prioritized the development of an “implementation platform” for the UN Sustainable Development Goals and more participation of subnational governments in the OGP, according to the detailed minutes of the OGP Governance and Leadership subcommittee meeting held Jan. 20-21 in South Africa. These and other priorities are described in the […]

  • 8 February 2016

    Call for UN ATI Indicator Receives Endorsement

    A new voice has emerged in support of having an access to information “indicator” to measure implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Although the goals include access to information (ATI), SDG 16.10, no parallel indicator has been included so far by the UN body drafting the list of measurement tools. The process of […]

  • 4 February 2016

    Philippines FOI Bill Dies; House, Aquino Blamed

    Its demise was predicted many months ago, but the last rites for the freedom of information bill in this session of the Philippines Congress have now been administered. Once again, President Benigno Aquino’s spokesman is denying culpability in the nonpassage of what had been called a priority bill, reported in PhilStar.com. The House adjourned Feb. […]

  • 4 February 2016

    Entrepreneur Aims to Map US Government Information

    Armed with a $35,000 grant from the Knight Foundation, New York entrepreneur Max Galka hopes to map the information available in US. federal agencies. Galka plans to populate his FOIA Mapper website with a catalogue of government information systems, indexed by subject and with descriptions of each system. For example, a user might enter “noise” […]

  • 4 February 2016

    FOI Notes: OGP, Pakistan, India, EU, Italy, US, UK, Canada, Bangladesh, Ukraine, Transparency Research, Open Data, More

    Open Government Partnership: The OGP Access to Information Working Group has published the OGP ATI Commitment Directory containing all ATI pledges made in the national action plans. This is the second edition. Comments are being accepted and a third version is in the works. OGP: Joe Foti, program manager of the OGP independent review mechanism writes about the large […]

  • 3 February 2016

    Report Says EU Needs Stronger Transparency

    Transparency in the European Union needs strengthening, according to a new report by journalist Staffan Dahllöf. The report, “Transparency through tinted windows,” was published by the Organisation for European Interstate Cooperation, a think tank financially supported by the European Parliament. The report was published in Swedish and translated into English. Dahllöf examines the legal basis […]

  • 3 February 2016

    Court Backs Ombudsman, Limits Pakistan’s President

    A court in Pakistan has ruled that the president may not overrule the federal ombudsman in right to information cases, Umar Cheema reports in The News and Sohail Sarfraz writes in the Business Recorder. The Lahore High Court set aside a presidential decision in favor of the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR). “The verdict had […]

  • 28 January 2016

    Malawi President Resists FOI Law, Seeks to Limit Use

    By Toby McIntosh Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika is insisting that access to information (ATI) legislation should not cover existing government information, saying the bill should only apply prospectively. His stance continues to delay passage of a long-promised ATI bill and runs counter to international norms. “Many followers of the Bill see this as merely a […]

  • 28 January 2016

    OGP Examines Membership of Kenya, Malawi, Montenegro

    The Open Government Partnership is reviewing the memberships of three member countries that have missed two deadlines to prepare national action plans (NAPs). Kenya, Malawi and Montenegro have failed for two successive years to produce action plans, a core commitment made by OGP members. The three countries could face being declared “inactive” under the OGP […]

  • 28 January 2016

    Cambodia Invites Comments on Draft FOI Legislation

    Cambodia’s Ministry of Information has launched a website to collect suggestions about a draft freedom of information law, The Phnom Pen Post reports. The website, www.a2i.info.gov.kh, was created in conjunction with UNESCO with support from the Swedish government. It includes a draft of the proposed public information law with comment sections where “visitors can write comments or […]

  • 28 January 2016

    FOI Notes: Canada, UK, India, Russia, Mexico, Transparency Research, Open Data, US

    Canada: Canada’s Information Commissioners call on their respective governments to require public entities to document their deliberations, actions and decisions. In a joint resolution, information commissioners expressed concerns about the trend towards no records responses to access to information requests. “Access to information rights depend on public agencies documenting their key activities and decisions,” according to a press release. United […]

  • 28 January 2016

    Malta Commissioner Backs Not Disclosing Test Scores

    Malta’s Information and Data Protection Commissioner has upheld a refusal by the education ministry to disclose data showing how the students of individual schools fare in their O-level exams, MaltaToday reports. “Saviour Cachia claimed that the publication of such data risked stigmatizing low-performing schools, widening the education gap between public schools, and harming the business of […]