• 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 […]

  • 29 January 2015

    Sri Lankan Government Plans Committee to Draft RTI Bill

    The new Sri Lankan government will form a committee to prepare a right to information bill, according to media reports including an extensive article in The Island by Randima Attygalle and a published interview of a key minister. The planned working committee of 15-20 members will include the Secretary to the Mass Media and Information Ministry, […]

  • 29 January 2015

    Rwanda Groups Establish Site for Making Access Requests

    A new web portal established by Rwandan nongovernmental organizations will facilitate access to information. The new web portal is designed to provide an online channel for inquiries to be submitted straight to information officers. The website, Sobanukirwa, makes it possible to make requests anonymously. Sobanukirwa is translated into English, French and Kinyarwanda. Fredrick Akaranganwa, the Head […]

  • 29 January 2015

    FOI Notes: Transparency News in Brief

    Resources: The Freedom of Information Advocates Network unveils a new website. Freedom House: Freedom in the World 2015 has ben posted with the main conclusion: More aggressive tactics by authoritarian regimes and an upsurge in terrorist attacks contributed to a disturbing decline in global freedom in 2014. Freedom in the World 2015 found an overall […]

  • 22 January 2015

    South African Ministry Drops Appeal Over `Key Points’

    The South African Police Ministry will drop its objections to disclosing a list of National Key Points. A South African court in December gave the ministry 30 days to make public the list of places designated by the government as being of key security importance. (See previous article.) The ministry has decided to withdraw […]

  • 22 January 2015

    Colombian President Signs Decree Implementing Law

    Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Jan. 20 signed a decree implementing the Transparency and Access to Information Act (Law 1712) approved by Congress in early 2014. Santos said in a declaration that he wants 2015 to be the year of peace and also of fighting against corruption. He invited every Colombian citizen to use […]

  • 22 January 2015

    NGO Recommends Reforming Bangladesh Exemptions

    A nongovernmental organization in Bangladesh has recommended reforming the exemption section in the 2009 Right to Information Act. The Management and Resource Development Initiative (MRDI) said section 7 of the RTI law should be changed to make it more favorable for the public. MRDI Executive Director Hasibur Rahman presented the recommendations to Chief Information Commissioner Mohammed […]

  • 22 January 2015

    FOI Notes: Many Countries, Many Transparency Topics

    Scotland: Reforms are necessary to counter the erosion the law, according to an anniversary report by Scottish Information Commissioner Rosemary Agnew. India: “What has ten years of RTI achieved?” asks the headline to an article in The Tribune by Pamerla Philipose. Open Government Partnership: “What to watch for in 2015,” an outlook article by the OGP staff. […]

  • 21 January 2015

    Open Data Barometer Finds Low Pressure, Small Gains

    Only “small gains” have occurred in the availability of open data in 86 countries, according to the second edition of the Open Data Barometer. “There is still a long way to go to put the power of data in the hands of citizens,” according to the report issued Jan. 20 by the Worldwide Web Foundation. […]

  • 15 January 2015

    Election in Sri Lanka Boosts Prospects for RTI Legislation

    Prospects for passage of a right to information law in Sri Lanka have improved dramatically with the election of Maithripala Sirisena. Sirisena has pledged that an RTI law would be among the measures passed within his first 100 days in office. Sirisena’s top aide Rajitha Senaratne said that Sirisena has ordered the immediate lifting of […]

  • 15 January 2015

    India May Permit Stamps to Be Used for RTI Payments

    The Indian Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has invited comment on the idea of letting requesters use postage stamps to pay for the costs of seeking information under the Right to Information Act. The department which administers the act also has set up a committee to discuss the proposal. Comments are due  by Feb. […]

  • 15 January 2015

    Indian Panel Moving to Select Next Chief Commissioner

    The Indian government is moving to choose a new Central Chief Information Commissioner, a post vacant for almost five months. A search committee created by the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) has received more than 200 responses to an advertisement. All seven serving information commissioners have applied, as have many current and former high-level […]

  • 15 January 2015

    FOI Notes: Training, Spain, Aid, Extractives, Nigeria, UK, India, US, Open Data

    FOI Training: The right to information is one of six topics in a training program developed by Development Initiatives “to develop and strengthen the skills, capacities and strategic visions of civil society organisations working in the areas of aid and budget analysis, monitoring and advocacy.” Nigeria: Seember Nyager, CEO at the Public and Private Development […]

  • 8 January 2015

    Indian Commission Considers Penalties in Political Case

    The Indian Central Information Commission has taken a preliminary step to deal with six political parties refusing to obey its order to comply with the right to information law, and a bigger decision is pending. The CIC on Jan. 4 told the Urban Development Ministry to make public all records of land and bungalows allotted […]

  • 8 January 2015

    Indian RTI Applicant Arrested For Not Standing at Hearing

    An information commissioner in the Indian state of Tamil Nado had RTI activist Siva Elango arrested after he refused to stand while appearing at a commission hearing. Elango was appealing a decision when chief information commissioner K.S. Sripathi insisted that he stand when replying to his questions. Elango replied that there was no rule preventing […]

  • 8 January 2015

    FOI Notes: India, US, UK, Open Data, Latin America

    India: An article in Legally India says the Bar Council of India (BCI) requires lawyers who take the All India Bar Examination to agree not to file Right to Information requests for their AIBE answer sheets or the answer key, and overrides the provisions of the RTI Act by imposing a time limit of 20 […]

  • 7 January 2015

    Meeting of Commissioners Set for April 21-23 in Chile

    The ninth international meeting of information commissioners will be held April 21-23 in Chile. A preliminary program shows that there will be two days of speeches and panel discussions followed by a day for private meetings of national information commissioners. The conference will take place in Universidad Católica de Chile, in Santiago. Attendance is open […]

  • 3 January 2015

    Mozambique President Signs FOI Legislation; 103rd Nation

    The outgoing president of Mozambique, Armando Guebuza, has signed freedom of information legislation into law. Mozambique becomes the 103rd nation with a FOI regime. The text of the law was not immediately available. The exact date of signature also could not be confirmed, but Guebuza’s term expired Dec. 31. Mozambique’s Constitutional Council Dec. 30 confirmed […]