News

  • 26 February 2015

    Backlash Develops Over Release of Body Cam Footage

    By Toby McIntosh and Lauren Harper Bills to restrict or prevent the public disclosure of videos taken by police officers wearing cameras are sparking debate in state legislatures around the United States. Anti-disclosure bills have been offered in half a dozen states, usually by legislators with law enforcement backgrounds. “Video recordings should not be subject […]

  • 26 February 2015

    Jamaican Activist Urges Donor Push on Transparency

    Foreign aid should be more directly tied to governments’ efforts to improve their transparency and donors should place more emphasis on greater grassroots involvement, according to Aylair Livingstone, a Jamaican transparency activist who presented an overview of access in the Caribbean at a World Bank webinar. Livingston summarized the freedom of information situation in the […]

  • 26 February 2015

    FOI Notes: Country Reports, Open Data, US States, More

    Canada: “Alberta Premier Jim Prentice has personally ordered that documents from all general freedom of information requests be publicly posted, despite serious concerns from the civil servants responsible for implementing the new policy, CBC News has learned.” according to a CBC report that highlights negative reactions to the move. Oregon: Incoming governor Kate Brown announces […]

  • 21 February 2015

    OGP CSO Leaders Criticize Mexico Over FOI Legislation

    In a highly unusual move, the civil society co-chairs on the Open Government Partnership Steering Committee have criticized the Mexican government, the overall OGP lead chairman, for proposing to undercut the Mexican freedom of information law. The Feb. 21 statement came after Mexican civil society groups blasted the Mexican government, but was a rare public […]

  • 19 February 2015

    FOI Notes: Research, Country News, Tips, More

    FOI Research: Gregory Michener has an article in Governance titled “How Cabinet Size and Legislative Control Shape the Strength of Transparency Laws.” Also see shorter version in Democratic Audit UK. Summary: When are governments likely to adopt strong transparency laws?  Greg Michener says that too much of the existing research has tried to answer that […]

  • 17 February 2015

    Pakistan Committee Unhappy With Progress on RTI Bill

    A Pakistan Senate Committee Feb. 16 has expressed its displeasure with the lack of progress on Right to Information bill. “Delay in presenting such an important bill before the Cabinet for approval, is a grave constitutional violation which proves that it is not on priority list of the government despite the fact that the bill […]

  • 17 February 2015

    Many Think Tanks Lack Transparency, Report Shows

    More than two-thirds of think tanks worldwide do not disclose where their money comes from, according to a new report by Transparify. But the news is not uniformly negative. Over half of 35 U.S. think tanks are now broadly or highly transparent, according to the group based in the country of Georgia. Three got perfect […]

  • 17 February 2015

    Sri Lanka Issues Draft Bill; Commenters Urge Changes

    The new Sri Lankan government has issued draft right to information bill that several international organizations say is good but needs improvements. With rapid passage in mind, the government provided limited time for comment before it is presented before Parliament, possibly on Feb. 20. (See draft bill here.) The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative welcomes the initiative and […]

  • 12 February 2015

    Ghana Committee Approves Right to Information Bill

    A parliamentary committee in Ghana has advanced an amended right to information bill for consideration by the full Parliament. The Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has reviewed the bill and presented its report to Parliament, according to sources in Ghana and media reports. The committee accepted many of the changes proposed by […]

  • 12 February 2015

    FOI Notes: Sharks Teeth, Journalism, Video, South Africa, Open Data, US

    Australia: “Environmental groups have applied to have the jaws of two great white sharks that were killed after a shark attack off the West Australian coast last year released under freedom of information (FOI) laws,” according to an article in The Guardian. “It’s the first attempt in Australia to use the FOI act to access […]

  • 9 February 2015

    Macedonian Protestors File FOI Requests About Policy

    Besides marching in the street, Macedonian protesters against certain new taxes and fees are filing freedom of information requests about them. The charges on part-time workers and freelancers were supposed to go into effect Jan. 1. They have been the subject of several rallies in Skopje by several thousand persons. Payment for certain categories of […]

  • 5 February 2015

    Nigeria FOI Advocates Seek More Training of Judges

    Nigerian Freedom of Information advocates on Feb. 2 called for “the sensitization of judges” about the Freedom of Information Act because many of them are issuing “decisions that are inconsistent with the spirit and letters of the Law.” In a communiqué at the end of their three-day Freedom of Information Implementers Strategy Meeting, held in […]

  • 5 February 2015

    Mendel Paper Suggests Ways to Improve Implementation

    Ideas for improving the implementation of right to information laws are discussed in a new “working paper,” by Toby Mendel, Director of the Centre for Law and Democracy. The 30-page “Designing Right to Information Laws for Effective Implementation,” was the subject of a webinar sponsored by the World Bank Feb. 5. Some of the suggestions are […]

  • 5 February 2015

    NGOs, Media Groups Criticize Draft Cambodian Secrets Law

    A proposed Cambodian law to protect state secrets is being criticized by nongovernmental organizations, opposition legislators and media watchdogs, according to a report by Radio Free Asia. The proposed legislation could be used by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) to stifle leaks about official corruption and other political information the public […]

  • 5 February 2015

    RTI Complaints Not Allowed Under Indian Consumer Law

    India’s national consumer commission has ruled that an dissatisfied right to information applicant may not seek recourse through  the Consumer Protection Act, according to the ruling and an article in The Hindustan Times. Sanjay Kumar Mishra of Panchkula had filed a petition challenging the orders of a state RTI commission, claiming to be a consumer […]

  • 5 February 2015

    FOI Notes: OGP, EU, US, Transparency Research

    Open Government Partnership: The OGP Access to Information Working Group has issued a brief questionnaire soliciting “ideas on the priorities for working group, potential activities, and the way in which you are interested in contributing to the OGP ATI Working Group.” Deadline Feb. 7. United Kingdom: “FOI 10 Years On: Freedom Fighting or Lazy Journalism,” […]

  • 4 February 2015

    Report Scores Compliance With South Africa Access Law

    Government compliance with South Africa’s 15-year-old Promotion of Access to Information Act is in a “sorry state,” according to one summary of a recently released “shadow report” by the PAIA Civil Society Network. “Its findings show that while patterns of compliance are not as dire as has been the case in recent years and there have […]

  • 29 January 2015

    Seychelles President Michel Commits to Draft FOI Law

    The president of the Seychelles, James Michel, has pledged to develop freedom of information legislation. His statement came during a visit by Pansy Tlakula, the Special Rapporteur of the African Union on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information. Michel was quoted as saying that his government will begin consultations on FOI legislation based on […]

  • 29 January 2015

    OGP Access Group Intends To Survey Members on Goals

    The Access to Information Working Group formed by the Open Government Partnership will soon send out a questionnaire to members soliciting their views. “The questionnaire will be used as a basis/input for this year’s OGP ATI working group action plan,” according to Laura Neuman, the Director of the Global Access to Information Initiative at the […]

  • 29 January 2015

    Groups Praise Government of Cambodia for ATI Law Plans

    Participants in a December National Workshop on Access to Information in Cambodia issued a statement praising the government’s commitment to develop an Access to Information Law with the Ministry of Information taking the lead role in the process. The 191 participants also drew attention to a variety of transparency problems. Regarding the commitment to develop […]