• 28 April 2016

    Kenyan Assembly Approves Access to Information Bill

    Kenya’s National Assembly on April 28 approved an Access to Information Bill on third reading, according to media accounts such as one by Alphonce Shiundu in Standard Media and one by James Mbaka in The Star. There is ongoing  deliberation by a legal committee on whether it should be forwarded to the Senate for consideration or […]

  • 28 April 2016

    South Africa Resists Proposal to Designate Azerbaijan as Inactive OGP Member

    South Africa, the lead co-chair of the Open Government Partnership, is advocating continued diplomatic engagement with Azerbaijan instead of making Azerbaijan an “inactive” OGP member for violating OGP principles, as recommended by an OGP subcommittee, according to OGP officials and informed sources. The OGP Steering Committee is nevertheless expected to declare Azerbaijan inactive on May […]

  • 28 April 2016

    Namibian Video Downplays Access Issues, Activists Say

    A new video in Namibia effectively promotes the virtues of access to government information, but seriously downplays the practical difficulties of actually getting information, according to activists consulted by The video paints “a somewhat rosy picture,” observed one Namibian activist, “fine rhetoric masking a rather parlous situation.” The government has yet to propose an […]

  • 28 April 2016

    FOI Notes: Press Freedom Day/FOI, Open Data Strategy, Windhoek Anniversary, More

    UNESCO: “2016 World Press Freedom Day celebrations highlight link between freedom of information and sustainable development,” according to a press release about the ceremonies and programs to be held in Finland May 2-4. Several FOI related panels are to be held, according to the program. “All the main sessions” will be streamed, a UNESCO official […]

  • 26 April 2016

    OGP Committee Poised to Discuss Turkey, Azerbaijan

    The Open Government Partnership Steering Committee is poised to consider whether two members, Turkey and Azerbaijan, should be downgraded to “inactive” membership. The Steering Committee also has a broad agenda of policy matters to consider at the meeting May 3-4 in Cape Town, South Africa, (dress code “business formal”), and will be choosing future leaders. […]

  • 22 April 2016

    OGP Selects Six Persons to Join Steering Committee

    Six new civil society members have been selected to join the Open Government Partnership Steering Committee, including one incumbent member. The 6 selected candidates are: Aidan Eyakuze (Twaweza – Tanzania) – will start in May Helen Darbishire (Access Info Europe – based in Spain) – will start in September Maria Baron (Directorio Legislativo –Argentina) – […]

  • 21 April 2016

    Open Data Barometer Reads Low and Steady, Study Says

    Only one-tenth of national data is really open and free, according to the third annual Open Data Barometer by the World Wide Web Foundation. The Barometer looks at 15 general categories of data, such as health, environment and crime (not at specific datasets), in 92 countries. The evaluative information is gathered through surveys of governments […]

  • 21 April 2016

    Israeli Court Denies Access to Records Concerning Rwanda

    The Supreme Court has ruled that records documenting Israel’s arms dealings with Rwanda during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi will remain undisclosed. The ruling, reported by Juddah Ari Gross for the Times of Israel, says there were pressing security and foreign relations concerns that prevent releasing the documents, citing Section 9 of Israel’s FOI law. […]

  • 21 April 2016

    DRC Assembly Includes Access Bill on Agenda

    A bill on access to information has been included on the agenda for the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to activists who campaigned for its inclusion. An access bill law passed the Senate in October 2015 by the Senate and was sent to the National Assembly Nov. 2, 2015. (See […]

  • 21 April 2016

    UN Rapporteur Scores Japan on Designated Secrets Act

    United Nations Special Rapporteur David Kaye has expressed strong concerns that Japan’s Specially Designated Secrets Act (SDS) restricts the public’s right to information. He revealed his preliminary observations April 19 in Japan at the conclusion of a weeklong fact-finding trip. (Video of press conference and article in Jurist). Kaye said the act “goes further than necessary […]

  • 21 April 2016

    FOI Notes: OGP, EU, US, India, UK, Israel, Open Data

    OGP: The next OGP summit will be held in Paris Dec. 7-9, announces the French government, the incoming OGP government co-chair. Proposals for programs are invited. India: “Eleven years since the path-breaking legislation Right to Information (RTI) Act came into force, more than 300 activists seeking information against government officials, local contractors, politicians, land mafia […]

  • 20 April 2016

    Venezuelan Commission Begins Discussing Access Bill

    A special commission in Venezuela has begun discussing a draft bill (in Spanish) on access to information. The opening meeting of the Joint Committee on the Draft Law on Transparency, Disclosure and Access to Public Information was held April 14, chaired by Simon Calzadilla, second vice president of the National Assembly, acording to an account […]

  • 20 April 2016

    Ivory Coast Commission Acts to Implement, Publicize Law

    The Ivory Coast Commission for Access to Public Information (Acronym CAIDP in French) has called on all state departments to designate their information officers, conducted a series of training sessions on the law and recently created a website. Agency information officers will receive requests from users wishing to access information and the documents of public […]

  • 20 April 2016

    Hong Kong Ombudsman Issues Summaries, TV Spots

    Hong Kong Ombudsman Connie Lau has announced a new website section about complaint cases relating to the Code on Access to Information and has prepared five short videos about the Code. “From complaint cases handled in the past, we noted that some departments and organisations were not conversant enough with the requirements of the Code. […]

  • 19 April 2016

    US Federal Advisors Urge More Leeway on Fee Waivers

    By Toby McIntosh An advisory committee on the US Freedom of Information Act has recommended that government agencies should be given more administrative discretion not to charge fees. Ending two years of work, the advisory committee (which will be reconstituted) made this suggestion and others as part of a call for the Office of Management […]

  • 14 April 2016

    Judge Orders Disclosures Based on Ghana Constitution

    In the absence of a national freedom of information law, a High Court of Justice court in Ghana has ordered the disclosure of documents based on an article in the Constitution. “Until the RTI Act is passed, This is it!” said one of the winning lawyers, Kofi Bentil, in a Facebook message. Justice Anthony Yeboah said that the right […]

  • 14 April 2016

    Three US Legislators Draft Open Data Legislation

    Several US legislators are planning to introduce legislation designed to open up more government data in useable formats. “Specifically, this bill defines open data without locking in yesterday’s technology; creates standards for making federal government data available to the public; requires the federal government to use open data to improve decision making; and ensures accountability […]

  • 14 April 2016

    FOI Notes: Aid Transparency, OGP, TA&I, Gambia, Bahamas, India, Open Data, US, UK, Australia

    Aid Transparency: The 2016 Aid Transparency Index released by Publish What You Fund shows that only 10 donors, responsible for only a quarter of all aid, are achieving the international transparency standard. However, most of the organizations covered fall into the lowest three categories, scoring below 60% and “demonstrating that the publication of timely, comparable […]

  • 7 April 2016

    Lawsuits Challenge Constitutionality of Proposed Sri Lankan RTI Law

    A handful of lawsuits have been filed challenging the constitutionality of the proposed right to information legislation in Sri Lanka. Under Sri Lankan procedures, the challenges will be heard by the Supreme Court before legislative action proceeds. The Sri Lankan government presented an RTI bill to parliament in March. (See previous report.) Various amendments […]

  • 7 April 2016

    Nicaraguan FOI Law Ignored by Government, Article Says

    “Despite being one of the first pieces of legislation that President Ortega signed into law in 2007, journalists and other organizations agree that the Law of Access to Public Information (LAIP by its initials in Spanish) does not work: the agencies do not release the information and no institution forces them to do so,” according to an article […]