• 28 May 2015

    Philippines House Cleared to Take Up on FOIA Legislation

    A freedom of information bill may get debated in coming weeks in the Philippines House of Representatives. The legislation (House Bill No. 5801) recently was cleared on second reading by the Committee on Public Information, which first approved it late last year. Two committees that considered the bill have filed their reports. Congress is expected […]

  • 28 May 2015

    Bapna Chosen to Be Future OGP Civil Society Chair

    Manish Bapna of the World Resources Institute has been elected as next in line to be the chairperson representing civil society organizations on the Open Government Partnership Steering Committee. Bapna will assume that role in late 2017. He is Executive Vice President and Managing Director for the World Resources Institute. WRI recent issued its Environmental […]

  • 28 May 2015

    New Florida Law Exempts Body Camera Footage

    Florida Governor Rick Scott on May 21 signed into law a bill that would substantially exempt from disclosure footage taken with cameras worn by police officers. Florida thus becomes the second state to create special exemptions for body camera footage. North Dakota passed such a law in April. (See previous report.) In Texas, a […]

  • 28 May 2015

    Nepal RTI Activists Urge More Post-Earthquake Information

    Right to information activists in Nepal have urged the government to provide more proactive disclosure and dissemination of information related to its efforts  in the wake of devastating earthquake that struck the country. A memorandum containing 19 points was sent to National Information Commission by the Citizens’ Campaign for Right to Information (CCRI) and Freedom […]

  • 28 May 2015

    FOI Notes: Open Data and RTI, New Books, Australia, Bangladesh, Taiwan, US, Canada, EU, Pakistan

    Open Data/RTI: “Right to Data = RTI + open formats+ reuse,” according to a blog post by Silvana Fumega, one of several speakers on a panel on open data and RTI at the International Open Data Conference being held in Toronto, Canada, May 28 and 29. Some of the sessions (but not this one it […]

  • 27 May 2015

    Several African Nations Criticized at OGP Meeting

    Tanzania and several other African countries were chastised on the subject of access to information at a recent regional meeting of Open Government Partnership held May 20-21 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, however, told the delegates that he plans to sign two controversial bills — on media regulation bill and freedom of information […]

  • 21 May 2015

    US Officials Still Support Central FOIA Request Portal

    The Obama administration is still committed to the goal of creating a consolidated portal from which citizens can make freedom of information requests, according to official statements made to The assurances come after the recent “soft launch” of OpenFOIA generated questions about how much progress was being made. The latest version of OpenFOIA provides […]

  • 21 May 2015

    Bahamian Government Offers Revised FOIA Legislation

    The government of the Bahamas on May 19 proposed freedom of information legislation (text). Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald, the minister responsible for the legislation, was quoted as saying that the draft bill would dramatically improve upon the act that the former Ingraham Administration passed shortly before the May 2012 general election, that was never […]

  • 21 May 2015

    FI Notes: OGP Grants, India, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Trade, Alaveteli, Australia, Portugal, UK, US, IMF

    Funding: The OGP Access to Information Working Group announced its Access to Information Working Group Microgrant: Demonstrating ATI Linkages to OGP Progress Call for Applications.  Applications are due no later than May 31, 2015.  “The microgrants, in the amount of US$1,500 for research papers and US$3,000 for projects, are aimed at demonstrating the importance of access […]

  • 20 May 2015

    Tunisian Parliament Works on Access to Information

    A Tunisian parliamentary committee May 18 continued consideration of a bill on access to information that has been criticized by some media organizations. “The draft is good in general,” one transparency activist told, “except some weaknesses especially regarding the regime of exceptions, sanctions and proactive disclosure.” The Commission of the Rights, Freedoms and External […]

  • 20 May 2015

    Environmental Transparency Rated in Multi-Factor Index

    An Environmental Democracy Index unveiled May 20 uses 75 indicators to evaluate 70 countries in three main areas: transparency, participation and access to justice. The index was created by the World Resources Institute and The Access Initiative “based on objective and internationally recognized standards established by the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Bali Guidelines.” While […]

  • 18 May 2015

    OGP Agrees Azerbaijan Harassing Civil Society

    The Open Government Partnership has taken the first step in a process that could lead to Azerbaijan being declared an “inactive” member. An OGP subcommittee announced May 18 that it agrees with complaints from civil society organizations (CSOs) that the Azerbaijan government is restricting CSOs and acting in ways inconsistent with OGP principles. In the […]

  • 14 May 2015

    Pace on Body Camera Bills Slow; Restrictions Advance

    By Toby McIntosh Only two state legislatures so far have passed bills restricting the disclosure of videos taken with cameras worn by police officers as the topic has proven hot to handle. Debates on the competing claims for transparency and privacy remain ongoing in many state legislatures, however, with advancing bills all tilting in the […]

  • 14 May 2015

    FOI Notes: Nigeria, India, Pakistan, US, Open Data, Ireland, EU, OGP

    Nigeria: Right to Know Nigeria has created a FoI Case Tracker. The group also issued an animated pamphlet titled “FoI Act; Your Right to Know.” United States: The House Oversight Committee is soliciting stories about experiences with FOIA, providing an online feedback form. The committee also asked nearly two dozen public interest groups to share their […]

  • 13 May 2015

    Senate in Chile Considering Strengthening Access Law

    The Chilean Senate is studying draft amendments to strengthen the access to information law. The Special Committee on Probity and Transparency has under analysis a draft that will change the status of public servants e-mails, making them subject to disclosure. Other changes would expand the reach of the law to cover entities that perform functions […]

  • 13 May 2015

    UK Prince Memos Released; FOIA Changes Threatened

    As the British public finally got a look at memos sent by Prince Charles to government ministers, the re-elected Conservative government indicated its intention to tighten control of the freedom of information law. The release of the royal memos culminating a 10-year legal battle fought by The Guardian newspaper, which finally got to describe the […]

  • 13 May 2015

    OGP Director Linda Frey Resigns After Two Years

    Linda Frey, Executive Director of the Open Government Partnership Support Unit since January 2013, announced her resignation May 13. The Steering Committee, which met in Mexico in mid-April, urged her to stay, according to an OGP official. She will remain the position for the next three to four months. “After that, I look forward to […]

  • 13 May 2015

    Philippines Coalition Urges House to Work on FOI Bill

    The Right to Know, Right Know! Coalition in the Philippines is urging the House of Representatives to “work with a little more speed and focus” on long-pending freedom of information bill. The FOI bill “is on the cusp of passage,” observed the Coalition in a May 12 statement tempered with caution. “But while the FOI […]

  • 13 May 2015

    US Plans New System for Classifying Information

    By Steven Aftergood The author directs the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy and writes Sececy News, where this article first appeared May 10. After years of preparation, the executive branch is poised to adopt a government-wide system for designating and safeguarding unclassified information that is to be withheld from public disclosure. The […]

  • 13 May 2015

    WJP Authors Answer Questions About New Index

    The authors of a new index of government openness have responded to questions about their methodology and indicated eagerness to hone their measurement of access to information. Juan Carlos Botero and Alejandro Ponce of the World Justice Project have written an article to amplify and explain the WJP Open Government Index. After the announcement of […]