• 23 October 2014

    Indian Ministries Told to Post Replies Online by Oct. 31

    All Indian government agencies have been told to post online their replies to Right to Information Act requests by the end of the month. The ministry overseeing the administration of the Indian RTI Act on Oct. 21 announced a new website feature that will allow placement of replies on the RTI Online system. Agencies were […]

  • 23 October 2014

    FOI Notes: Personnel Moves, Pakistan Video, US Schools, UK Court Ruling

    Personnel: The Ford Foundation announced the appointment of Rakesh Rajani as director of Democratic Participation and Governance. Rajani currently serves as the head of Twaweza in Tanzania and was the lead civil society chair for the Open Government Partnership. He will begin his new position in New York on Jan. 5. Personnel: Transparency International has […]

  • 23 October 2014

    50 US Groups Press Obama to Back FOI Legislation

    Concerned that the Obama administration has been largely mute on a pending bipartisan bill to reform the Freedom of Information Act, 50 groups Oct. 23 urged him to voice his support. The bill has support from both Republican and Democratic legislators, has already passed the House and would appear to have a god chance of passage, […]

  • 23 October 2014

    Carnegie Commentators Score Use of Four Principles

    “Four key principles—accountability, transparency, participation, and inclusion—have in recent years become nearly universal features of the policy statements and programs of international development organizations. Yet this apparently widespread new consensus is deceptive: behind the ringing declarations lie fundamental fissures over the value and application of these concepts. Understanding and addressing these divisions is crucial to […]

  • 23 October 2014

    El Salvadoran Court Orders Open Proceedings on Judges

    The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice in El Salvador has decided administrative proceedings against judges must be transparent. The court ruled that the Access to Information Act, through its article 110, tacitly abolishes the provision (article 70 of the Judicial Career Act of 1990) that established the confidentiality of the administrative punitive […]

  • 16 October 2014

    Report Paints Bleak Picture of Indian RTI Law at 10th Year

    A comprehensive and scathing report on the Indian Right to Information documents extensive weaknesses in the system and makes major recommendations for reform. The 150-page examination provides a detailed picture of dysfunction, including “huge” backlogs, an ineffectual appeals process, lack of compliance with orders and penalty awards, and weak records management. The research provides many […]

  • 16 October 2014

    UN Panel Told That Angola Needs Better Implementation

    Angola is not doing enough to implement its right to information law, according to a statement made by the Africa Freedom of Information Centre to a United Nations body. The statement was made by Gilbert Sendugwa, AFIC’s Coordinator & Head of Secretariat, at an Oct. 7 meeting under the auspices of the Human Rights Council. […]

  • 16 October 2014

    FOI Notes: Nordics, World Bank Webcasts, Open Data

    Nordic Transparency: Access to Information in the Nordic Countries, a comparison of the laws of Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland and international rules by Oluf Jørgensen (Nordicom, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg 2014, 40 pages.) “This publication explains and compares the legal rules determining public access to documents and data in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, […]

  • 15 October 2014

    Ireland Amendments Extend Reach of FOI Law

    Revisions to the freedom of information law signed Oct. 14 by the Irish president will bring more public bodies under the Irish FOI umbrella. The new legislation, known as the Freedom of Information Act, 2014, will apply to: An Garda Síochána, the Irish police force. Public financial bodies, including NAMA, the National Asset Management Agency […]

  • 14 October 2014

    Argentina’s Supreme Court Backs RTI for Legislator

    The Supreme Court of Justice from Argentina on Oct. 14 issued two decisions supporting the right of access to information. In both cases the defendant, the national government, said that the plaintiff, a national congressman, was not entitled to ask for public information, because he had require it as a legislator. The Court, however, said […]

  • 14 October 2014

    OGP Working Groups Seek to Clarify Their Missions

    The five working groups of the Open Government Partnership are seeking clarification on their roles in order “to facilitate and amplify their efforts,” according to the minutes of two meetings released Oct. 14. The topic was one of many policy and procedure topics addressed at an OGP Steering Committee session held Sept. 24 in New […]

  • 9 October 2014

    Reports Finds Few Donors Meeting Transparency Goals

    Many international aid organizations are “dragging their feet” in meeting commitments to make their finances more transparent, according to a report released Oct. 8. The Aid Transparency Index 2014 report evaluates how well countries and other international aid donors are doing in fulfilling transparency commitments made at the 2011 Busan development summit. “This is a […]

  • 9 October 2014

    FOI Notes: OGP Research Call, Resource Transparency, Open Data, UK, US, Brazil

    Open Government Partnership: The Transparency and Accountability Initiative is seeking research proposals on: when and how are pro-reform actors able to leverage OGP – its processes, spaces and resources – to pursue improved government responsiveness and accountability? Due date is Oct. 27. Resource Transparency: The Resource Governance Index finds that only 11 of the countries—less than […]

  • 7 October 2014

    Slovenian Court Invalidates Part of Transparency Law

    The Constitutional Court of Slovenia has suspended part of a recently passed law mandating that state-owned banks release data on all bad loans on their books. The court did not suspend a requirement that banks publish information about bad loans transferred to the so-called Bad Bank, the new public sector Bank Asset Management Company (BAMC) […]

  • 2 October 2014

    Africa’s Progress on RTI Assessed in Two Reports

    Two key groups advocating for right to information laws in Africa have issued detailed reports, both calling for intensified efforts to continue progress and taking a close look at national situations. The Africa Freedom of Information Centre Sept. 29 launched its first State of the Right to Information in Africa Report. The report is on […]

  • 1 October 2014

    Criticisms Mount Against South African Government

    The Right2Know Campaign in South Africa Sept 28 called on President Zuma to refuse to sign the controversial “secrecy bill” that has been on his desk for 316 days and questioned the government’s leadership role in the Open Government Partnership. The Right2Know Campaign also urged Parliament to revoke the apartheid-era 1982 Protection of Information Act and to write a new classification […]

  • 1 October 2014

    Article 19 Criticizes Draft Moroccan RTI Legislation

    The new Moroccan Draft Law No 31.13 on the Right of Access to Information “fails to adequately recognise the right to information and threatens free expression,” according to Article 19. “The new draft is significantly weaker than previous versions,” said the British freedom of expression group, which had reviewed the previous two drafts of the bill. […]

  • 1 October 2014

    Two Pakistani Provinces Resisting New RTI Laws

    The bureaucracies in the Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) are offering “stiff resistance” to the new right to information laws, according to the Centre for Peace and Development Initiative (CPDI). Information was withheld in over 87 per cent of the requests, the group said. CPDI sent in 924 information requests to the governments […]

  • 1 October 2014

    FOI Notes: Commentary, UN Agenda, E-Access, Kenya, Wood Carving

    Commentary: The Centre for Law and Democracy addresses the passage of the 100th RTI law. Among other observations: One hundred RTI laws is a momentous achievement but, amidst the celebrations, we must bear in mind that this represents only about half of the world’s countries. In other words, the average RTI law still lacks nearly […]

  • 1 October 2014

    Indian Court Reverses Ruling on Requester Justifications

    The Madras High Court in India has reversed its ruling that justifications must be supplied for requests, saying that it had overlooked a contrary provision in the law. The Sept. 23 reversal deleted two paragraphs from its Sept. 17 ruling. (See previous report.) The court said:         2. In the said […]