• 27 November 2015

    Kazakhstan Adopts FOI Law; Critic Cites Shortcomings

    Kazakhstan Nov. 16 passed a freedom of information law. Text of the law in Russian. The law has “shortcomings” according to a statement by Dunja Mijatović, the Representative on Freedom of the Media for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) , who nevertheless praised the new law as a “major step toward greater transparency […]

  • 26 November 2015 Collection of FOI Videos

    This collection of promotional videos about freedom of information is drawn from articles in recent years, plus some additional research and arranged loosely chronologically. This archive includes a variety of promotional videos, some inspirational talks and a few instructional videos. Generally avoided were lectures, nation-specific material and news broadcasts. Suggestions for additions are very […]

  • 25 November 2015

    Mexican Groups Criticize FOI Bill Adopted by Senate

    The Mexican Senate Nov. 18 easily approved a Federal Law of Transparency and Access to Information that civil society groups argue contradicts some elements of the underlying “general law” on FOI. Ana Cristina Ruelas, Program Officer Access to Information Article 19, said the bill will prevent the commissioners of the National Institute for Access to […]

  • 25 November 2015

    UK FOI Commission Deluged With 30K Public Comments

    The United Kingdom commission looking into proposals to weaken the freedom of information law has received 30,000 public comments, prompting it to extend its projected conclusion date until early next year. One observer calculated that it would take one person 208 24-hour days to read the submissions. The chairman of the Independent Commission on Freedom […]

  • 25 November 2015

    South Pacific, Open Data, Commentary, Fun Video, News From Many Places

    South Pacific: Rick Snell and Rowena MacDonald publish an article, “Customising Freedom of Information Law Reform in South Pacific Micro-States,” on Taylor & Francis Online in The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs. Abstract: This article highlights the importance of adopting a pluralist approach to developing freedom of information (FOI) schemes within specific states […]

  • 19 November 2015

    `Right’ Out, `Access’ Used Instead for New UNESCO Day

    By Toby McIntosh UNESCO’s decision to declare name Sept. 28 as “International Day for the Universal Access to Information” instead of “International Right to Information Day” has sparked comment and raised questions about the derivation of the change. Dropping the word “right” has bothered some activists who consider UNESCO’s chosen name using “access” too long […]

  • 19 November 2015

    FOI Notes: Commentary, Spain, UN, UNESCO, Privacy, Open Data, UK, More

    Commentary: The intellectual energy in governance issues “is not what it used to be” and “ the commitment of leaders in international development seems to have waned,” writes Sina Odugbemi, a Senior Communication Officer (Policy) in the Operations Communication Department, External and Corporate Relations Vice-Presidency of the World Bank Group. FIFA: A Transparency International study […]

  • 18 November 2015

    Swedes, Finns Planning 1766/2016 Anniversary

    The Swedish and Finnish governments, and others, are making plans to celebrate passage 250 years ago of the world’s first freedom of information law. Celebratory events will be listed on two new websites in the lead-up to the official anniversary date of Dec. 2, 2016. Because Finland was part of Sweden at the time, the […]

  • 17 November 2015

    UNESCO Names Sept. 28 Access to Information Day

    The UNESCO General Conference voted Nov. 17 to designate Sept. 28 as “International Day for the Universal Access to Information,” according to a UNESCO official. The date has been celebrated as “Right to Know Day” since 2002 when international civil society advocates developed the idea during a Sept. 26-28, 2012, conference in Sofia, Bulgaria. The […]

  • 12 November 2015

    UNESCO Committee OKs Designation of Sept. 28

    The Communications and Information Commission of UNESCO on Nov. 11 discussed and approved a proposal to designate Sept. 28 as International Day for the Universal Access to Information. The resolution is expected to be approved by the UNESCO General Conference during its meetings in Paris Nov. 3-18. Minutes from the committee meeting indicate that the […]

  • 12 November 2015

    FOI Notes: Human Rights, UK, India, US, Open Data

    FOI as Human Right: The authors of a new book say the time may be right for the United Nations to explicitly recognize the right of access to public documents and governmentally-held information. “It could even be possible… to initiate the creation of an explicit convention-based right of everyone to access official documents and information, […]

  • 11 November 2015

    Argentina Court Orders State Oil Company to Disclose

    The Argentine Supreme Court of Justice on Nov. 10 ordered disclosure of documents by a state-owned oil company notwithstanding arguments that the firm was excluded from Executive Decree 1172/03 that implements the right of access to public information. The court said it has the authority to harmonize the interpretation of federal rulings such as the Executive Decree […]

  • 11 November 2015

    OGP ATI Working Group Plans Focus on 4 Countries

    The Open Government Partnership Access to Information Working Group will focus its attention on helping four countries, according to the group’s “co-anchors.” While the working group will continue with a number of activities, including more general support to interested counties, particular attention will be paid to two pairs of countries: Liberia and Sierra Leone; Honduras […]

  • 11 November 2015

    Draft Vietnam RTI Law Rated Low on International Scale

    The Centre for Law and Democracy has rated a draft right to information in Vietnam as earning 59 points out of a possible 150 on the RTI Rating scale. Nevertheless, the Canadian-based organization praised as “heartening” the effort to pass a law. Approval by the National Assembly is expected in 2016, CLD said. But the […]

  • 9 November 2015

    Ghanian Leader Delays Action on RTI Legislation

    Blaming a lack of meeting space, the leader of the Ghana Parliament has delayed action until next year on a right to information bill. The excuse was offered by Alban S.K. Bagbin, the majority leader in Parliament, who said the RTI bill would be passed in the first quarter of next year. Bagbin’s suggestion that […]

  • 6 November 2015

    Malawi President Says ATI Bill Will Be Tabled This Month

    Malawi President Peter Mutharika has pledged to introduce an access to information bill this month, according to media reports. “Yes, Yes, Government will table the Access to Information bill,” said Mutharika in a speech to Parliament, reported The Nyasa Times. Minister of Information Jappie Mhango said the processing of the bill is at a very […]

  • 6 November 2015

    Draft Italian FOI Legislation Receives Mixed Reviews

      Two new evaluations give mixed reviews to a draft freedom of information law for Italy, a rare Europe country without a FOI law. The Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) examined a bill by Member of Parliament Anna Ascani and concluded “the draft has a long way to go to meet international standards in […]

  • 6 November 2015

    FOI Notes: ECB, Trade Transparency, Open Data, Canada, India, UK, US, Brazil, Research

    European Union: The European Central Bank says it will publish the meeting schedules of its six Executive Board members on a monthly basis. The calendars will be released with a three-month time lag starting in February 2016, Bloomberg reports. Trade Transparency: The Washington Post creates the tool below to allow searches of the recently released […]

  • 6 November 2015

    OGP Notes: Articles Offer Perspectives on OGP Summit

    Editor’s Note: Many articles were published during and after the Open Government Partnership summit in Mexico City Oct. 26-29. Here are some. Submissions welcome. OGP: Transparency International says the Open Government Partnership needs to ensue that member countries involve civil society, and apply sanctions when countries fail to meet their commitments, among other things, according […]

  • 30 October 2015

    Open Data, FOI Bridges Discussed at OGP Session

    The subject was “building bridges” between the open data and freedom of information communities and a little construction occurred during a one-hour session held Oct. 29 during the Open Government Partnership summit meeting in Mexico City. After several speakers sketching out exaggerated differences, various similar interest and interrelationships were explored. Representatives from the Philippines and […]