• 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 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,, 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 […]

  • 27 January 2016

    FOIA4Italy Finds Faults In Draft FOI Decree

    The still-secret draft Italian Transparency Decree, recently approved in the Council of Ministers, has leaked, giving activists a look at a document they promptly called “very disappointing.” The draft decree does not live up to promises made by the Italian prime minister and other top officials, according to a FOIA4Italy statement (in Italian; and full text […]

  • 21 January 2016

    Italian Ministers Approve Decree With FOIA Provisions

    The Italian Council of Ministers on Jan. 20 approved a freedom of information decree, but has not disclosed the text. As part of a larger package of public administration reforms, the Council voted for a decree which changes the Transparency Decree (33/2013 which grants citizens “civic access”) and anticorruption law (190/2012) with new provisions on […]

  • 21 January 2016

    FOI Notes: Commonwealth, Japan, Georgia, Australia, Mexico, India, Canada, US

    Commentary: Alan Hudson, Executive Director of Global Integrity in  a blog post writes: “Open governance matters, not because it is a good thing in itself, or because it leads directly to better development outcomes (it rarely does). Instead, open governance matters because it enhances the ability of communities, to try, learn and adapt their way […]

  • 21 January 2016

    UK Commissioner Counsels Against Weakening FOI Act

    The United Kingdom’s information commissioner testified Jan. 20 against making changes to the freedom of information act. Information Commissioner Christopher Graham appeared at the first day of hearing sponsored by special commission considering whether to amend the law, particularly to provide more protection for information exchanged by ministers and civil servants. The commission is holding two […]

  • 17 January 2016

    Pakistani Minister Says New Group to Review RTI Bill

    The government of Pakistan has constituted a special five-person committee to evaluate the long-pending right to information bill, according to an article in Daily Pakistan. The News reported that the group wlll “finalize draft law in a meeting on January 21 and it will then be laid before the house as a government bill.” The […]

  • 17 January 2016

    Macri Orders Disclosures; Issues Open Data Decree

    Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri has signed an Open Data Decree (117/2016) that sets a 180-day deadline for federal agencies to present open data plans. The six-month deadline began with the publication of the decree, Jan. 12 in the Official Reporter. Also, the Modernisation Ministry has ordered that in 90 days all public bodies must publish […]

  • 14 January 2016

    FOI Notes: Research, Open Data, India, Denmark, Liberia, US, UK, Uruguay, Chile, Jersey, Pakistan, OGP, Georgia, Japan, UNDP

    Research/United States: Margaret B. Kwoka of the University of Denver Law School publishes research critical of the commercial use of FOIA, drawing on original datasets from six federal agencies. The abstract says: It uses these agencies as case studies to examine the way that businesses derive profit-making value from free or low-cost federal records. Remarkably, […]

  • 13 January 2016

    Scotland Plans to Expand FOI to Cover Prisons, Schools

    The Scottish government ministers is planning to extend the scope of the freedom of information laws law to nonpublic sector bodies delivering public services, according to an announcement and media reports such as one in Holyrood. As a result, contractors such as those who run Scotland’s two private prisons would be subject to FOI requests as will certain […]

  • 12 January 2016

    US House Approves Bill to Reform FOIA Law

    The US House of Representatives Jan. 11 easily approved a bill (H.R. 653) that advocates say will improve the freedom of information act. A last-minute addition to the House bill would protect against disclosures that would “ad­versely af­fect in­tel­li­gence sources and meth­od,” but the changes largely codify existing practice, according to FOI experts, who nonetheless were […]

  • 7 January 2016

    UN Body Yet to Endorse Universal Indicator on Access

    By Toby McIntosh The prospects for the creation of an international access to information (ATI) “indicator” appear to slipping. The United Nations group charged with figuring out how to assess progress toward the achievement of the new UN Sustainable Development Goals has yet to include a measurement of the creation and implementation of ATI laws […]