• 18 April 2014

    Canadian Commissioner Finds Evidence of Tampering

    Canada’s information commissioner Suzanne Legault has found “a pattern of improper involvement” by three Conservative officials that “comprised” rights under the Access to Information Act. The evidence of “systemic interference” with access to information requests warranted police investigation, she said, but the Public Works Minister chose not to pursue the matters, which date back to […]

  • 18 April 2014

    Amendments Approved to Ukrainian Access Law

    Amendments to the law in the Ukraine makes a variety of improvements related to access to information, according to a summary by the Media Law Institute on April 18. The Parliament of Ukraine on March 27 passed the draft law No 0947 and the president signed it April 17. “In terms of enhancing right to […]

  • 18 April 2014

    FOI Notes: Making All Voices Counts Grants, OGP Awards, T/A

    Making All Voices Count:  The 28 winners are announced in a contest for cutting-edge projects to boost government and citizen engagement. Winners include a group planning to develop an app for searching pubic data worldwide, a project to engage with graffiti artists to spread data-based information in Nairobi’s slums, a project to construct a pharmaceutical […]

  • 18 April 2014

    Rwandan Agencies Failing to Appoint Information Officers

    Barely a quarter of Rwandan public institutions have followed a mandate in the Access to Information Law to appoint information officers. An official in the Office of Ombudsman said only 28 percent of the designations have been made, according to a New Times report by Eugene Kwibuka. According to the article, a year after the […]

  • 18 April 2014

    Virginia Judge Exempts Academic Work from FOIA

    The Virginia state Supreme Court ruled April 17 that emails and unpublished research by a university professor are proprietary records dealing with scholarly research and therefore exempt from disclosure under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. Skeptics of global warming, State Del. Robert Marshall (R-Prince William) and the American Tradition Institute, had sought records from […]

  • 15 April 2014

    Study Finds Implementation of Bangladesh RTI Law Slow

    The implementation of Bangladesh’s 2009 right to information law is “still very slow,” according to a comprehensive “Country Diagnostic Analysis” that contains recommendations for improvement. The study, conducted by the Management and Resources Development Initiative (MRDI), examined many facets. The findings include: -      public awareness of the law (low) -      the role of the media […]

  • 14 April 2014

    Access Info Appeals Spanish Ruling in Human Rights Court

    Access Info Europe April 14 appealed to the European Court of Human Rights following an unsuccessful seven-year legal battle to obtain information from Spain’s Ministry of Justice. Spain’s Constitutional Court in 2013 rejected an Access Info appeal based on the freedom of expression provisions of the Constitution (Article 20.1.a) and Article 10 of the European […]

  • 14 April 2014

    Irish Groups Protest Plan to Impose Various FOI Fees

    Plans to increase fees for freedom of information requests in Ireland have drawn objections from civic groups. Arguments against the proposed increased, part of a larger FOI amendment package, were voiced in a letter signed by about 30 groups that are part of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) civil society forum. It was sent to […]

  • 11 April 2014

    US Senate Passes Bill on Spending Transparency

    The US Senate has passed bill intended to make government spending more transparent. The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (S. 994), passed April 10 by unimous consent, would require the treasury secretary and the director of the Office of Management and Budget to establish government-wide financial data standards as a first step toward more robust […]

  • 11 April 2014

    Aquino Official Discloses Goal of Marrying FOI, Open Data

    The government of Philippine President Benigno Aquino is interested in amending the pending freedom of information bill to address the subject of open data. Little detail is available on the concept, which was exposed publicly April 8 by Edwin Lacierda, the government’s chief spokesman during a World Bank forum. “What we have decided is instead […]

  • 11 April 2014

    Tonga Making Plans to Pass Right to Information Bill

    The government of the South Pacific nation of Tonga on April 10 said it plans to “move forward to develop a Freedom of Information Law.” The announcement from the Ministry of Information & Communications says that in 2010 the government approved a FOI policy for Tonga. “In support of the Policy, systems and structures, such […]

  • 11 April 2014

    Vanuatu Institutes RTI; Pledges to Pass Legislation

    The government of the Republic of Vanuatu on April 8 officially launched a right to information policy and again indicated plans to pass an RTI law. The RTI policy was approved in 2013 and commits the government to release all information to the public, subject to certain exceptions protective of a number of interests such […]

  • 11 April 2014

    FOI Notes: Morocco, Environment, Accountability, Open Data, More

    Morocco: A new guide on ATI in Morocco by UNESCO in Arabic and French by Saad Filali Meknassi. Tunisian cartoonist Z drew the cartoons. Transparency and Accountability: The Centre for Law and Democracy and the Democracy Reporting International have published a Briefing Paper on International Standards on Transparency and Accountability.   A 2011 DRI report outlined […]

  • 8 April 2014

    OGP Grapples With Getting Members to Pay Dues

    By Toby McIntosh The Open Government Partnership Steering Committee is poised to increase the pressure for financial contributions from its members, 86 percent of whom don’t contribute. With rising budget needs, the two-and-one-half-year-old organization also is broadening its search for financial backing, which so far has come mostly from major foundations and the large countries […]

  • 4 April 2014

    Argentine Court Rules for Access Over Privacy

    The Supreme Court of Justice in Argentina has ordered the Ministry of Social Development to release information about persons who receive social welfare payments. The case was won by CIPPEC (Centro de Implementación de Políticas Públicas para la Equidad y el Crecimiento – the Centre for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth), an Argentine nongovernmental […]

  • 4 April 2014

    EU Parliament Votes to Release Clinical Trial Data

    The European Parliament voted April 2 to make public information about clinical trials for drugs. The new law is expected to go into effect in 2016 and will affect only new clinic trials. (See Reuters report.) “The vote, which confirms an informal deal reached in December between Parliament and the European Union’s 28 member states, […]

  • 3 April 2014

    FOI Notes: EU, OGP, Open Data, Journalism, Broadway

    European Union: StateWatch comments on access at three EU institutions, stating:  Frontex given until end of March 2014 to comply with the Ombudsman’s Recommendations to change its Management Board Decision putting into effect the Regulation on public access to EU documents  Eurojust seeks to avoid any compliance until some undefined point in the future  Europol […]

  • 3 April 2014

    AIP Produces New Audit of Government Transparency

    The Access to Information Progrmme in Bulgaria has released the results of its ninth audit of transparency at national and local institutions. The aim of the audit, which AIP has performed since 2006, is to evaluate how the executive bodies fulfill their obligations for proactive publication of information online under the Access to Public Information […]

  • 28 March 2014

    Secrecy Rules in EU Despite European Court Judgment

    By Staffan Dahllöf This article first appeared March 26 in Wobbing EU. EU ministers have postponed implementing a judgement on transparency and rejected disclosing alternatives discussed – and leaked. Six member states vote against secrecy. The European Ombudsman has been asked to step in. More than five months have gone since the European Court of Justice in […]

  • 28 March 2014

    FOI Notes, EU, US, India, Africa, OGP. Open Data

    European Union: Statewatch has released two analyses on secrecy in the EU. “Constructing the secret EU state” discusses “restricted” and “limited” documents hidden from view by the Council. “There were over 117,000 “RESTRICTED” documents produced or handled by the Council since 2001 but only 13,184 are listed in its public register of documents,” according to […]