• 30 September 2014

    Progress, But Still Problems, Says Serbian Commissioner

    This article, published Sept. 30, is reprinted with permission from BELGRADE – Serbia has made certain progress in the area of freedom of access to information of public importance, but the fact that the office of the commissioner for information of public importance and personal data protection continues to receive a large number of […]

  • 25 September 2014

    OGP Celebrates Anniversary, OKs Civic Space Policy

    The Open Government Partnership Sept. 24 celebrated its third anniversary with speeches from world leaders and civil society representatives praising the now 65-nation effort. US President Barrack Obama, Mexican President Peña Nieto and 9 other heads of state attended, along with over 30 ministers and more than 300 civil society leaders from around the world, […]

  • 25 September 2014

    Tanzanian President Pledges FOI Law in February 2015

    The president of Tanaania, Jakaya Kikwete, said Sept. 24 that a freedom of information bill would be approved in February, 2015. His commitment came at a meeting in New York commemorating the third anniversary of the Open Government Partnership (video link). In October 2013 at the OGP summit in London, he had pledged to pass a […]

  • 25 September 2014

    Indian Court in Madras Says Requests Must By Justified

    The Madras High Court in India has ruled that applicants must give reasons for seeking information under the right to information act. The judgment was delivered by Justices N Paul Vasanthakumar and K Ravichandrababu while hearing a challenge to the Central Information Commission direction to the High Court to provide certain information, according to news articles […]

  • 25 September 2014

    Malawi Government Delays Action on FOI Legislation

    A freedom of information law for Malawi has been delayed. Minister of Information and Civic Education Kondwani Nankhumwa recently said that action will not be taken during the current session of Parliament. The bill remains under review by the Ministry of Justice, he said, according to a news report in the Malawi Nyasa Times. “We […]

  • 25 September 2014

    Kenyan Draft Law Faulted in Analyses by Two Groups

    A draft freedom of information law for Kenya (text) has been critically reviewed critiqued by two international organizations. “Although the draft is relatively robust,” according to one analysis, “it is significantly weaker than the version which was proposed in 2012. The Attorney General submitted the draft bill, and the legislation remains under consideration in the […]

  • 25 September 2014

    FOI Notes: RTK Day, Environmental and Legislative Transparency, Much More

    International Right to Know Day, Sunday, Sept. 28: See FOIA Advocates Events map. (Spanish) Find more resources for International Right to Know Day here. (Spanish) Environmental Transparency: A survey on open data and climate change is being conducted by the Belmont Forum E-Infrastructure & Data Management Collaborative. United Kingdom: BBC’s Martin Rosenbaum reports on the […]

  • 22 September 2014

    No FOI Legislation Until 2016, Bahamas Minister Says

    A freedom of information act for the Bahamas won’t be ready before spring of 2016, Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald said recently, disappointing FOI supporters. The was termed a “damn shame” by Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) Chairman Robert Myers, saying he was “very disappointed,” according to one news article. Fitzgerald said […]

  • 22 September 2014

    Two New Commissioners Appointed in Bangladesh

    An academic and a retired public servant have been named as members of the Bangladesh Information Commission. Nepal Chandra Sarkar, who served as the first secretary to the Commission when it was formed in 2009, but was elsewhere in government recently was one appointee. The other is Khurshida Begum Syed, a professor of government and […]

  • 18 September 2014

    Reaching 100 FOI Laws, Movement Looks to Future

    By Toby McIntosh This article also appeared Sept. 19 in The Guardian. Paraguay on Sept. 18 became the 100th country in the world to have freedom of information law, a milestone for Paraguay and for the transparency movement. A bedrock of government openness, FOI laws (also called right to know or access to information laws) […]

  • 16 September 2014

    Senate Judiciary Schedules Meeting on FOIA Legislation

    The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a Sept. 18 meeting at which one agenda item is S.2520, the FOIA Improvement Act of 2014. Under Senate rules, a matter may be “held over” to the next meeting at the request of any committee member, so there is a possibility that approval of the bill will be […]

  • 15 September 2014

    FOI Notes: Transparency Research, Open Contracting, Global Conference Invites Papers

    Transparency Research: A new version of the #OpenGovNow portal includes data from a survey conducted in 62 countries to measure perceptions and demand for openness. Country by country data is available on the answers to the questions of “How open is your government?” and “Do you want your government to be more open?” It also includes […]

  • 13 September 2014

    OGP Moving Toward Approval of Revised Civic Space Policy

    By Toby McIntosh The Open Government Partnership is nearing approval of a policy to address complaints that some member governments are interfering with nongovernmental organizations or reducing fundamental freedoms such as freedom of expression. The so-called “response space” policy, to be discussed by the Steering Committee Sept. 25, has been modified during nine months of […]

  • 11 September 2014

    FOI Center of Armenia Issues Comprehensive Evaluation

    Using a new and comprehensive assessment tool, the Freedom of Information Center of Armenia has evaluated and compared the level of transparency and openness of the Armenian government bodies. The center used 53 criteria to create the transparency ratings and plans to repeat the study annually. Thirty-seven state administration bodies were evaluated this year including […]

  • 11 September 2014

    Appointments Said to Violate New Law in Sierra Leone

    The appointment of a government appointee as the first chief information commissioner and the selection of an executive secretary for the commission by the president of Sierra Leone violate the new law, according to Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai, Executive Director of the Society for Democratic Initiatives. In a letter to President Ernest Bai Koroma, Abdulai said […]

  • 11 September 2014

    TI UK Issues Report on National Security, Access

    A new report from Transparency International UK’s Defence and Security Programme “calls for better legislation that balances national security concerns with the public right to access information,” according to a Sept 11 press release. “A strong defence and security sector can coexist with the ability of citizens to access to information and hold leaders to […]

  • 11 September 2014

    Ghana Parliamentary Panel Praised for Passing RTI Bill

    A committee of Ghana’s Parliament has recommended a right to information bill, making changes that were welcomed by the RTI Coalition. The Coalition in a statement praised the “good work” of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, chaired by Nadowli West and in-coming Majority Leader, Alban Bagbin. They involved civil society […]

  • 11 September 2014

    OGP Group Proposes Draft Open Data Charter

    A draft international Open Data Charter is being proposed by the Open Government Partnership Open Data Working Group Steering Committee. “This Charter is based on the principles of the G8 Open Data Charter,” according to an announcement which continued, “It has been lightly revised from the original G8 language to make it more internationally focused.” […]

  • 11 September 2014

    New Moroccan Proposal Weaker Than Before

    The latest version of Morocco’s draft right to information law (Draft Law No. 31.13) “is substantially weaker than the draft published in August 2013,” according to an analysis by the Centre for Law and Democracy. An assessment of the draft Law using the RTI Rating assessment tool ( gives the latest draft 65 points out […]

  • 11 September 2014

    FOI Notes: Drafting Advice, Gaps, Peru, US, UK, New Zealand, UNCITRAL

    Legislation: Generic advice for drafters of transparency legislation by Daniel Shuman, policy director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a non-profit organization in Washington. He makes eight main points: Understand the context Use flexible implementation authority Create external checks on implementation Make information public by default Build in feedback loops Keep close […]