• 24 November 2014

    Philippines Committee Passes FOI Bill 10-3 With Dispute

    A Philippines House committee on Nov. 24 voted 10-3 to approve a freedom of information bill with amid controversy. The bill is “almost toothless,” according to some emerging critics, the  seven-person Makabayan Coalition, whose members voted against the bill. But other lawmakers who have supported the bill and influential, long-time FOI campaigners called the committee […]

  • 20 November 2014

    Study Examines Success of FOI Request Platforms

    The first study of the growing number of nongovernmental platforms that facilitate freedom of information requests has found limited evidence of measurable impact but some encouraging signs. The 27 sites studied, most of which have emerged in the last four years, have been technologically workable, weathered government resistance and face future sustainability challenges, according to […]

  • 20 November 2014

    Senate Panel Approves Reforms for US FOI Act

    The US Senate Judiciary Committee Nov. 20 unanimously approved reform amendments to the Freedom of Information Act. The bipartisan support for a somewhat modified version of the bill (S. 2520) is expected to improve the chances of passage in the Senate this year. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said in an opening statement, “We have […]

  • 20 November 2014

    FOI Notes: Advocacy, Open Contracting, Whistleblowers, Opinion, Open Data, More

    FOI Advocacy: Rappler in the Philippines published an example-filled article, ‘How access to information laws can help you.” Rappler is “a social news network where stories inspire community engagement and digitally fuelled actions for social change.” Rappler comes from the root words “rap” (to discuss) + “ripple” (to make waves). Separately, the FOI Youth Initiative […]

  • 19 November 2014

    World Bank Previews Study of RTI Law Implementation

    The World Bank Nov. 19 previewed a detailed analysis of the factors that determine effective implementation of right to information laws, The  analysis is based on a closer look at 12 case studies done over the last several years by the Bank. Analysts coded the information from the studies to isolate factors that influenced implementation effectiveness. […]

  • 19 November 2014

    Latin American Countries to Write Green Access Standards

    A regional agreement on access to information in the environmental context for Latin America and the Caribbean will be negotiated, participants at a Nov. 9 at a meeting in Santiago, Chile, decided. Representatives from the 19 Latin American and Caribbean signatory countries of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration – which promotes access to information, […]

  • 18 November 2014

    Senate FOI Bill Stripped Of Deliberative Process Reform

    Sponsors of a Senate Freedom of Information Act reform bill have dropped a provision dear to the heart of supporters. Gone is a so-called “public interest balancing test” to evaluate agency claims that disclosures would interfere with the deliberative process, according to a revised text to be considered Nov. 20 by the Senate Judiciary Committee. […]

  • 17 November 2014

    Info Commissioners See Need to Cover More Bodies

    Almost two-thirds of information commissioners around the world (63%) think more private bodies in their countries should be covered by the national freedom of information law. The results are reported in the third “International Survey of Information Commissioners,” conducted by the Centre for Freedom of Information, University of Dundee, Scotland. Responses were provided by 53 […]

  • 17 November 2014

    NGOs in Myanmar Pledge Effort to Push RTI Cause

    Almost a dozen nongovernment organizations in Myanmar have agreed to work collaboratively towards establishing and implementing a right to information RTI law. The joint statement resulted from a workshop in Yangon hosted by the Local Resource Centre and the Centre for Law and Democracy in collaboration with International Media Support. Issuing the statement were: the […]

  • 17 November 2014

    Professional Groups Endorse FOI Legislation in Ghana

    Twenty-five groups, including the Ghana Bar Association, the Association of Ghana Industries and the Ghana Medical Association, have urged passage of a freedom of information law in Ghana. The groups called on the Attorney General and Minister for Justice to expedite the drafting of amendments to the bill, according to the Ghana News Agency. “We […]

  • 17 November 2014

    Charges Against Oil Officials Sent to Tanzanian Speaker

    Two top officials at Tanzania’s state-owned oil agency, arrested Nov. 3 on charges of failing to give requested information to parliament, have been released without charges, according to journalist Kizoto Makoye. The two executives had declined to provide parliament with 26 oil and gas contracts the government signed with foreign and local investors, according to […]

  • 13 November 2014

    US Senate Panel Delays Markup, Chairman Optimistic

    The US Senate Judiciary Committee Nov. 13 delayed approval of a freedom of information amendments package, but the chairman predicted passage next week. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said in a statement issued to reporters:  “I have worked with Senator Cornyn for months on the FOIA Improvement Act. It has broad bipartisan support, including the […]

  • 13 November 2014

    FOI Notes: Latin America, FOI 100, Research, OGP, Privacy, EU

    Latin America: Read the minutes (English and Spanish) of the VIII International Meeting of the Red de Transparencia y Acceso a la Información Pública (RTA) in Brasilia Nov. 4-5. “The RTA is a collective space that brings together public institutions responsible for overseeing implementation of Transparency and Access to Information Laws in Latin America. This […]

  • 12 November 2014

    Asia Foundation Report Finds Many Implementation Issues

    Awareness of right to know laws in three Southeast Asian countries is very low and public officials report many obstacles to implementing the RTI laws, according to a new report by the Asia Foundation. The study was done in partnership with civil society organizations in Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan, and with the foundation’s country office […]

  • 12 November 2014

    Nigerian Judge Says FOI Law Not Applicable to States

    Nigerian Federal High Court Justice Okon Abang on Oct. 31 ruled that the 36 states of the federation are not subject to the national Freedom of Information Act. The judge ruled the FOI Act is only binding on the federal government and its agencies, rejecting a suit by The Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), […]

  • 12 November 2014

    Indian CIC Schedules Hearing On Nov. 21 for Political Parties

    The Indian Central Information Commission has scheduled a Nov. 21 hearing on non-compliance by six political parties withy a June 3, 2013, order bringing them under the purview of Right to Information Act. The commission has asked the parties to appear before it and produce all relevant documents. One such order was issued Feb. 7. […]

  • 10 November 2014

    Senate Panel Schedules Meeting on FOI Legislation

    The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a meeting for 10 a.m. Nov. 13 to consider S.2520, the FOIA Improvement Act of 2014. With limited time left in this session of Congress and new current swirled by the recent election, the hope is for “unanimous consent” passage in the Judiciary Committee and expeditious passage on the […]

  • 6 November 2014

    World Bank Sparks Discussion of RTI Implementation

    The World Bank is exploring how it can encourage better implementation of right to information laws. One idea on the table at a Nov. 5 forum in Washington was to create an international standard about what governments should report on their compliance with RTI laws. Also discussed was to develop a set of international principles […]

  • 6 November 2014

    EITI, OGP Face Challenges Handling Civic Space Issues

    By Toby McIntosh New mechanisms by two multilateral organizations, designed to protect the rights of civil society activists, will soon be tested. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative is examining whether Azerbaijan should lose its membership for stifling dissent, using a policy intended to prevent such behavior that was substantially mimicked by the Open Government Partnership. […]

  • 6 November 2014

    ECB Releases Letter at Urging of EU Ombudsman

    The Governing Council of the European Central Bank Nov. 6 decided to publish a letter written four years by former ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet to then Irish Finance minister Brian Lenihan. The announcement said the release of the document “honoured” a request in March by the European Ombudsman that the ECB reconsider its previous refusal […]