FOI around the world

David Banisar’s Freedom of Information Around the World 2006, a global survey of access to government information laws, was released today by Privacy International. The Survey provides a comprehensive review of Freedom of Information Laws and practices in nearly 70 countries around the world.

The survey draws attention to the growing movement around the world to adopt FOI laws. In just the past two years, over a dozen countries have adopted new laws and decrees, while dozens more are considering proposals. Important international treaties such as the UN Convention Against Corruption have also gone into force. These laws are being used to fight corruption, make government bodies accountable and promote social and human rights.

Unfortunately, the survey also highlights that many problems still exist such as poorly drafted laws, lax implementation and an ongoing culture of secrecy in many countries. There are also dangers in backsliding such as in Ireland where the imposition of onerous fees has significantly reduced use of the law and in the United Kingdom where a similar proposal is being considered. New laws promoting secrecy in the global war on terror have also undercut access.

The report is being released just prior to the 3rd Annual International Right to Know Day on 28 September. Advocates in dozens of countries will be holding events celebrating the day.

An interactive version of the report, in conjunction with freedominfo.org and the Open Society Justice Institute will be released shortly.

For more information, contact: David Banisar [banisard (@) privacy.org], Director, FOI Project

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