The Right to Information: Good Law and Practice
Right2INFO.org brings together information on the constitutional and legal framework for the right of access to information as well case law from more than 80 countries, organized and analyzed by topic. With a focus on good law and practice, the website provides comparative overviews of, as well as country summaries illustrating, the current state of the right to information held by governments and bodies that perform public functions or operate with public funds. Experts from dozens of countries have contributed material and have indicated their willingness to correct, update and comment on the material posted. This website was launched in 2008 by the Open Society Justice Initiative. Access Info Europe designed the logo and contributed the section on Information Commissioners and much of the information about laws and practice in Europe.
This website aims to advance the right to information by:
- enabling right to information (RTI) advocates around the world to share with each other information and analysis, including about case decisions, legislative provisions and reasoning for decisions taken;
- promoting the development of jurisprudence at the national and regional levels;
- promoting the adoption and reform of laws, regulations and implementing mechanisms.
Right2INFO.org presents good law and practice that could be helpful to advocates seeking to promote the right to information. We also refer to laws and practices that are clearly less than “good,” given that knowledge of these deficient models often is useful for effective advocacy or argumentation.
The Open Society Justice Initiative, an operational program of the Open Society Foundations, combines litigation, legal advocacy, technical assistance, and the dissemination of knowledge to secure advances in the following priority areas: freedom of information and expression, national criminal justice, international justice, and equality and citizenship. The Freedom of Information Program promotes the right to information as integral to an open society, participatory democracy and the promotion and protection of other human rights. We work closely with other programs in the OSI network and with national and international NGOs and academic institutions to build the capacity of civil society organizations and assist in the development of sustainable national programs for defending and promoting freedom of information and expression. We are currently working on projects in Europe, Africa and Latin America, and are beginning to develop projects in Asia. Program staff are Sandra Coliver, Darian Pavli, Emi MacLean, Carolyn O'Neil, and Merit Ulvik.
Right2INFO.org aims to complement other websites. We are collaborating with www.freedominfo.org, www.foiadvocates.net and www.access-info.org to devise the most efficient ways to refer users to material on other websites and to minimize duplication while ensuring that essential categories of information – such as examples of successful uses of RTI laws – are effectively presented and cross-referenced. We also cooperate with and have benefited from the pro bono help of Ropes & Gray LLP lawyers, the students and supervisors of Harvard Law and International Development Society and the lawyers of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.
This website relies on information provided by experts and organizations around the worldFollowing is a list of our main contributors, organized by country and thematic areas. We are grateful for all of these contributions. Please let us know if we inadvertently left you off the list.
Africa and Middle East
- Regional: Richard Calland, University of Cape Town, African Network of Constitutional Lawyers, Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC)
- Regional: Fatima Diallo, Secretary, ATI Working Committee, African Network of Constitutional Lawyers
- Regional: Mukelani Dimba, Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC)
- Regional: Maxwell Kadiri, Africa Program of the Open Society Justice Initiative
- Regional: Gilbert Sendugwa, Africa Freedom of Information Centre
- Israel: Roy Peled, The Movement for Freedom of Information in Israel
- Kenya: Priscilla Nyokabi, Executive Director, Kituo cha Sheria
- Middle East and North Africa Region: Said Essoulami, CMF MENA
- South Africa: Mukelani Dimba,Richard Calland, Alison Tilley, Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC
Americas and the Caribbean
- Canada: Paul Schabas, partner, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP; Sharon Polsky, President, Project Scope Solutions Group, and National Chair, Canadian Association of Professional Access and Privacy Administrators CAPAPA, NationalChair@CAPAPA.org, Stanley Tromp, journalist and co-founder, British Columbia Journalists for Freedom of Information
- Jamaica: Carolyn Gomes and Bianca Baldo, Jamaicans for Justice
Latin America: The Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF) is responsible for providing much of the initial information on this website concerning Latin American countries. Considerable information has been drawn from its study, Access to Judicial Information (2007). The DPLF study was principally written by Montserrat Solano Carboni and Eduardo Bertoni of DPLF, based on information provided by the following country experts, including on their country’s overall access to information regimes:
- Argentina: Roberto Saba, Martha Farmelo, and Mariela Belski, Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC)
- Chile: Moises Sanchez and Juan Pablo Olmedo, Fundación ProAcceso
- Colombia: Nathalia Carolina Sandoval and Diana Esther Guzmán, DeJusticia
- Dominican Republic: Carlos Pimentel, Participación Ciudadana
- Ecuador: Christian Bahamonde
- Honduras: ACI-Participa
- Mexico: Diana Hernández, LIMAC
- Panama: Andrés Pizarro Sotomayor, DPLF consultant
- Peru: Kristina Aiello and Javier Casas, Suma Ciudadana
- Uruguay: Martin Prats, Instituto de Estudos Legales y Sociales del Uruguay (IELSUR)
The initial information has been supplemented by the following contributors from Latin America:
- Centro de Estudios en Libertad de Expresión z Acceso a la Informactón (CELE)
- Karina Banfi, Julia Fernandez Cruz, Alianza Regional por la Libre Expresión e Información
- Colombia: Andrés Mejía, Fundepublico
- United States: Tom Blanton, Kate Doyle, National Security Archive; Prof Meg Satterthwaite and students, New York University Int’l Human Rights Law Clinic.
Asia and Pacific Islands
- South Asian Right to Information Advocates Network (SARTIAN)
- Charmaine Rodrigues, UNDP Pacific Regional Legislative Strengthening Expert, Fiji (re: FOI in the Pacific Region)
- Mithran Tiruchelvam, lawyer
- Australia: Rick Snell, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Tasmania
- Bangladesh: Bazlur Rahman, Director, Bangladesh NGO Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC)
- Fiji: Angie Heffernan and Tracey Pearce, Pacific Centre for Public Integrity
- India: Cecilia Burgman and Venkatesh Nayak, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
- Indonesia: Tanti Budi Suryani, Tifa Foundation
- Japan: Lawrence Repeta, Professor, Omiya Law School; and Chiharu Takeuchi and David Schultz
- Kazakhstan: Anton Artemyev, Saule Mektepbayeva, Soros Foundation Kazakhstan, Sergey Solyanik, Ecological Society Green Salvation
- Korea, Republic of (South): Kyu Ho Youm, Jonathan Marshall First Amendment Chair, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon
- Kyrgyzstan: Sardar Bagishbekov, Voice of Freedom, Aijamal Duishebaeva, Soros Foundation Kyrgyzstan
- New Zealand: Andrew Ecclestone, Office of the Ombudsmen, John Edwards, barrister and solicitor, Steven Price, Victoria University of Wellington.
- Philippines: Nepomuceno Malaluan, Action for Economic Reforms an Co-Covenor, Access to Information Network
- Council of Europe: Helen Darbishire, Director, Access Info Europe, contributed many of the summaries and analytic sections on European countries, based in part on questionnaires completed by colleagues in 26 member states of the Council of Europe.
- Doina Costin, Media Law Unit Coordinator, Independent Journalism Foundation
- Albania: Ilir Aliaj, Center for Development and Democratization of Institutions
- Armenia: Shushan Doydoyan and Ruzanna Khachatryan, Freedom of Information Center
- Azerbaijan: Fidan Najafova, Open Society Institute-Azerbaijan
- Bulgaria: Gergana Jouleva, Aleksander Kashumov and Nikolay Marekov, Access to Information Programme
- Czech Republic: Simon Hradilek, Lawyer, Project Manager, Open It, Open Society
- Georgia: Tamar Gurchiani, Georgian Young Lawyer's Association (GYLA)
- Hungary: Adam Földes, Transparency International, Tivadar Hüttl
- Ireland: Maeve McDonagh, Professor of Law, University College Cork
- Italy: Francesca Fanucci, Global Partners and Associates, Yasha Maccanico, Statewatch
- Latvia: Linda Austere, Providus
- Macedonia: Dance Danilovska, Open Society Foundation Macedonia
- Montenegro: Vanja Calovic, MANS
- Netherlands: Roger Vleugels, lecturer and legal advisor on FOI and editor and publisher of Fringe, see www.wobbing.eu, Roger.Vleugels@planet.nl
- Romania: Diana-Olivia Hatneanu (Calinescu), Romanian Helsinki Committee (APADOR-CH), Codru Vrabie, CSO representative on National Integrity Council and board member, Transparency International-Romanian Chapter.
- Russian Federation: Ivan Pavlov, Tatyana Tolsteneva, Jennifer Gasper and Inna Kremen, Freedom of Information Foundation, Marina Savintseva, Transparency International, Russia
- Serbia: Tamara Luksic Orlandic, Fund for an Open Society Serbia, Nevena Ruzic, Serbian Infromation Commission
- Slovakia: Peter Wifling, Citizen and Democracy Association
- Slovenia: Natasa Pirc Musar, Information and Data Protection Commissioner
- Spain: Eva Moraga, Access Info Europe
- Sweden: Ulf Öberg, Managing Partner, and Dr. Gunnar Persson, of Advokatfirman Öberg & Associés AB
- Ukraine: Roman Romanov, International Renaissance Foundation
- United Kingdom: Maurice Frankel and Katherine Gundersen, Campaign for Freedom of Information
- Scotland: David Goldberg, Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland
- Asset Declarations and Commercial Confidentiality: Tom Susman, former partner, Ropes & Gray LLP, and since April 2008, Director, Governmental Affairs Office, American Bar Association, and Molly Moore
- Environmental Information: Eric Dannenmaeier and students, Columbia Law School Environmental Law Clinic
- Judicial Information: Due Process of Law Foundation; Maeve McDonagh, Professor of Law, University College Cork; Molly Moore, Conor McDonough, Keith B. Greenberg, Jonathan Boyer, Ropes & Gray LLP
- Private Entites and State Owned Enterprises, analysis: Tom Susman, Governmental Affairs Office, American Bar Association
- Armenia: Gevorg Hayrapetyan, Freedom of Information Center of Armenia (FOICA)
- Australia: Peter Timmins, Open and Shut Blog
- Brazil: Fabiano Angelico, Comptroller General, Municipality of São Paulo and Paula Martins, Article 19
- Bulgaria: Stephan Anguelov, Access to Information Programme (AIP)
- Canada: Toby Mendel, Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD)
- Colombia: Andres Mejia, Fundepublico
- EU: Helen Darbishire, Access Info Europe (AIE)
- Hungary: Fanny Hidvegi, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) and Tivadar Hüttl
- Israel: Roy Peled, The Movement for Freedom of Information in Israel
- Kenya: Ncruba Ojiambo, Ojiambo & Wadeyua Advocates
- Nepal: Krishna Sapkota, Freedom Forum
- Romania: Diana-Olivia Hatneanu, Romanian Helsinki Committee (APADOR-CH)
- South Africa: Mukelani Dimba and Gabriella Razzano. Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC)
- United Kingdom: Adam Tomkins, University of Glasgow
- United States: Tom Susman, Ropes & Gray LLP
International and Regional Law
- Eduardo Bertoni, Director, Centro de Estudios en Libertad de Expresión z Acceso a la Informactón (CELE)
- Richard Calland, University of Cape Town, African Network of Constitutional Lawyers, Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC)
- David Goldberg, Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland
- Toby Mendel, Centre for Law and Democracy, Alasdair Roberts, Suffolk University
- Laura Neuman, The Carter Center
- Darian Pavli, Justice Initiative; Professor Wouter Hins, Constitutional and Administrative Law, University of Amsterdam, and Media Law, Leiden University; and Professor Dirk Voorhof, University of Ghent
- Ulf Öberg, Managing Partner of Advokatfirman Öberg & Associés AB; and Dr. Gunnar Persson, Öberg & Associés
Right2INFO.org information is organized by topic rather than by country. The best way to search for country information is to type the country’s name into the search engine. We invite our readers to consult the following websites, among others:
- Global RTI Rating (2011) - a comparative analysis of the legal frameworks for accessing information in each of the 89 countries with ATI laws undertaken by Centre for Law and Democracy and Access Info.
- Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative – information on the 53 countries of the commonwealth, including links to constitutions, laws, and articles, and a chart comparing the attributes of the laws of the 13 countries that have such laws.
- Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) - provides FOI legislation of several African countries, as well as country reports and comparative research.
- Article 19 has a library containing legal analysis, press releases and statements on almost all the geographical regions.
Send Us Information
This website is a work in progress and is by no means complete. The website is based on contributions from experts and activists in dozens of countries, and we invite all of you, our readers, to help us by sending corrections, updates and new materials. We are interested in adding more information both about how laws are supposed to operate and, especially, how they operate in fact, and also case decisions. We continue to collect information about the reasons that governments, legislators and other policy makers have adopted various approaches to accessing information, understanding that reasoning behind the decisions is often what is most persuasive across borders.
We welcome your corrections, comments and additions. If you contact us, let us know if we may share your email addresses with others who may be interested in the information you sent us or other information about the right to information in your country.
We are especially interested in receiving links, electronic versions or hard copies of current versions and translations (especially in English, French, Spanish and Arabic) of legislation relevant to the right to information. See our current Links to Legislation page. Please also send full citations and links to cases and other sources mentioned in the text as well as new material, including articles, which we could upload or link to the site, and links to useful websites which we could add to our annotated list of web resources.
 The countries surveyed are Albania, Armenia, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Romania.