We bring together information on the legal frameworks for the right to information from more than 100 countries.
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Teaching Right to Information

last modified Nov 22, 2012 12:00 AM

Overview

More and more universities around the world teach right to information either in a separate course or as part of other courses. We have collected and listed some of these courses and upon interest can provide access to the syllabi of these courses. We welcome additions and corrections to the list.

RTI Clinics

Argentina

National University of La Plata, Law School

Legal Clinic on Access to Information

María de las Nieves Cenicacelaya, Ramiro Álvarez Ugarte

The Clinic provides advanced students and recent graduates of the University of La Plata with tools and expertise to practice law from a public interest perspective, with a special focus on FOI tools, strategies and agendas.

Syllabus available upon request.

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University of Palermo, Law School

Legal Clinic on Access to Public Information

Eduardo Andrés Bertoni, Natalia Torres

The course introduces the concept of right to information and considers its implications for human rights. Students work on real cases under the supervision of teachers. They discuss substantive law relevant to each case. Each semester is structured so that each group of students completed at least one major written work, which may consist of a lawsuit, an appeal, an administrative note, a brief as amicus curiae, the research work required for case, etc.

Syllabus available upon request.

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University of Palermo, Law School

Legal Clinic on the Right to Access Public Information

Maria Julia Giorgelli

In September 2008 the Open Society Justice Initiative in partnership with Association for Civil Rights launched a freedom of information clinic at the University of Palermo. It was an accredited one semester course that combined theoretical classes with practical work through a cooperation with selected NGOs. The course ran between 2008 and 2010 and in 2011 was replaced by a similar course taught by Eduardo Bertoni (see above).

Syllabus available upon request.

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Chile

Alberto Hurtado University, Law Faculty

Access to Information Clinic

Macarena Rodriguez

The clinic started in April 2009 as a cooperation between Universidad Alberto Hurtado, and Asociación Pro Acceso with the support of the Open Society Justice Initiative. The clinical course is accredit and consists of 2 semesters. The course contains a theoretical as well as a practical component.

Syllabus available upon request.

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Dominican Republic

Ibero-American University (UNIBE)

Human Rights Clinic

Paola Pelletier

Law students are exposed to the practice of law through a variety of cases in which students provide legal advice in various human rights matters to vulnerable and underrepresented groups. In particular, the clinic is working on the following topics: Discrimination (gender, HIV/AIDS, LGTB, ethnicity, race, age, migratory status, disabilities, etc.) and freedom of information. Freedom of information component was incorporated in the clinic with the support of Open Society Justice Initiative.

The Human Rights Clinic combines a series of lawyering skills trainings, focusing on issues of client interviewing, legal analysis, legal writing, communication skills, and legal research skills. Each student is working with a fellow student and conducting regular seminar meetings with their supervising teacher about the cases they provide advice on.

Syllabus available upon request.

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Hungary

Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Law

Freedom of Information Clinic

Erik Uszkiewicz

The legal clinic was launched in September 2008 as a cooperation between the Eötvös Loránd University and Open Society Justice Initiative, as well as the engagement of four Hungarian freedom of information and environmental protection NGOs. It is an accredited 2 semester course which consists of two stages. The course starts with theoretical classes the aim of which is to familiarize students with basic knowledge, laws and legal practice related to freedom of information. For the second stage, students carry out internship tasks at the NGOs participating in the program.

Syllabus available upon request.

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Israel

College of Management Academic Studies Division

FOI Law and Practice

Roy Peled

The FOI clinic was launched in 2005. Duration of the clinic is 12 months, with weekly study sessions during 2 semesters, but practical work going on from October - October the following year. The clinic is located on campus, but the offices of the Movement for Freedom of Information off campus are also used. Legal advice and counseling, legal representation before authorities or courts of law, human rights/law awareness education, strategic litigation, and litigation support are activities covered by the clinic. The clinic serves an average of 20 to 40 clients a year.

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Japan

Omiya Law School

Information Disclosure Clinic

Takashi Kondo; Lawrence Repeta

This clinic provides students with a practical understanding of Japan's information disclosure laws gained through hands-on experience using those laws to obtain information from national and local governments.  All students are required to file information requests with government agencies and to make presentations to regular group meetings concerning the progress of their requests.  Instructors teach FOI law fundamentals and provide guidance on practice, including administrative appeals.  The clinic also advises and represents outside clients pursuing government information requests.  Students join attorney meetings concerning cases in litigation and other special projects.

Syllabus available upon request.

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Mexico

Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE)

Guadalupe Barrrena

CIDE uses FOI in many occasions during the clinics also for the study on torture.

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Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo De Mexico

Marta Villareal

FOI is in included in the framework of the clinics. In 2008 Students submitted and followed up FOI request on the issue of the presidential system. As for 2009, they submit requests to test how different requesters are treated and also they support an environmental case, where there is suspicion of corruption.

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Peru

National University of San Marcos

Strategic Litigation Legal Clinic

The clinic focuses on cases that involve a matter of public interest in order to a) educate students to improve their legal skills and sense of ethics; b) educate students to develop legal strategies. The Clinic promotes the use of right to information as a tool to protect other rights.

Syllabus available upon request.

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Pontifical Catholic University of Peru

Strategic Litigation Clinic- Indigenous Rights Section

Raquel Yrigoyen Fajardo

The Clinic provides students with thorough knowledge and skills to protect indigenous rights through strategic litigation. It teaches students how to use right to information as a tool in the protection of other rights.

Syllabus available upon request.

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Universidad Señor de Sipán, the Department of Law in collaboration with the Department of Communication

Transparency and Access to Public Information Legal Clinic

Levy Davila, Luis Rolando Alarcon

Launched in Universidad Señor del Sipan jointly with Instituto Prensa y Sociedad and Open Society Justice Intiative in April 2009. It is an accredited 2 semester course, which consists of theoretical and practical components. Within the practical component, the students of the clinic appeal the unanswered information requests submitted by the students of the Department of Communication.

Syllabus available upon request.

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United States

Yale Law School

Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic

Jack Balkin, Jennifer Bishop, Behesht Heidary, Jeremy Kutner

The clinic has a twofold mission: to support a robust investigative role for media actors and to preserve the public's right of access to information. The ultimate goal of the clinic is to ensure that the press, in both legacy and new media formats, continues to contribute to a well-informed public sphere. The clinic's work includes Freedom of Information Act litigation, First Amendment right-of-access claims, and research surrounding government transparency issues. The clinic operates as an externship model, with students taking primary responsibility over real-life cases while being supervised by practicing lawyers.

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RTI & Information Policy Courses

Argentina

University of Buenos Aires, Faculty of Law, Post-Graduate Department

Corporations and Information

Jorge Lavalle Cobo, Dolores Lavalle Cobo

Director of the course is Jorge Lavalle Cobo, coordinator - Dolores Lavalle Cobo

This is a post-graduate course which aims to train corporation lawyers and representatives of any other profession (including foreigners) to acquire the necessary knowledge and resources about right of access to information and learn how to put it into practice. There is no pre-selection procedure of the participants.

The course consists of 10 classes (2 hours each), beginning with the basics of the RTI in Argentina, practical aspects such as how to require information, the main exceptions to the RTI (privacy, habeas data; national security, intelligence secrets; trade and other commercial secrets, banking and tax secrets; environmental and consumer information, etc) and the administrative and judicial actions to activate when information is denied.

Syllabus available upon request.

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University of Buenos Aires, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Communication

Right to Information

Henoch Aguiar

Until 2004 within the course the students received an overview of the national and international legal standards and they performed practical work with invented cases. From 2004 each student has to submit a real request to the National Executive Power and to other public bodies

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Australia

Australian National University, Law faculty

Freedom of Information and Privacy Law

The aim of this course is to explore the way in which information is regulated in Australia by the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) and the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

The key themes of collection, access, amendment and disclosure of information will be explored from the perspective of:

  • citizens exercising their access and amendment rights;
  • government agencies and private sector organisations who have certain responsibilities in terms of the way information is managed; and
  • those who make decisions and administer the FOI and Privacy Acts.

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Georgia

The Sukhishvili University, The faculty of Social Science, business and law.

Information Law

The course includes issues such as types of information, official documents, personal data, legal regulation of confidential information, etc.

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Hungary

Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics (MSc in Business Informatics)

Processing of Personal and Public Data

Ivan Szekely

The objective of the course is to make IT specialists aware of the requirements regarding the storing, processing, forwarding and making accessible of personal data and data of public interest, as well as the applicable IT solutions corresponding to these requirements. This includes the application of OAI-based systems handling data of public interest, especially the structure and functioning of the Central Electronic List of Public Information and the Single Public Information Retrieval System developed in Hungary.

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Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences (until 2007), Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics (from 2007)

Data Protection and Freedom of Information

Ivan Szekely

An introductory and multidisciplinary course created for the traditional (five-year) university program but also in postgraduate and doctoral versions. All students can take the course; in the first period half of them were economists, the other half engineers; now the majority are IT specialists. A similar course was taught by the same professor at the Budapest University ELTE, in the media manager postgraduate program, 1999-2001.

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Central European University, Budapest, Summer University

Access to Documents, Access to Archives

Ivan Szekely

A course designed for members of the archival profession, as well as for researchers, historians and decision makers in public administration, especially from countries of the Central and Eastern European region, to become acquainted with these governing principles and existing examples from western and newly democratic countries. Participants learn about each other's situation, problems and solutions; they clarify their legal and ethical arguments, taking differences in political and cultural traditions and legal frameworks into consideration.

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Ireland

University College Cork, Department of Law

Information law and policy

Maeve Mcdonagh

The course explores law and policy relating to information focusing in particular on the issue of access to government information. The course commences by examining the international information policy framework including such issues as access to information as a human right, commercialisation of government information and the implications for access to information of public sector reform.

Syllabus available upon request.

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Peru

Universidad Señor de Sipán

On-line course for teachers of Señor de Sipan University

Diego Zegarra

This course was designed for the university professors who, as part of the course, were prepared to teach at the clinic. The course's methodological strategy consisted of establishing the topics to be reviewed in forums. Forums were virtual spaces in which all participants interconnect to talk with the course's director.  Two weekly forums were planned that were proceeded with reading tasks. At the end of each forum the course's director evaluated the participants' level of understanding of the topics discussed. At the end of the course the participants had to present a paper based on some of the topics discussed.

Course materials are available here

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Philipinnes

University of the Philippines

Right to Information: Law, Theory & Practice

Professor Solomon F. Lumba

This is an introductory interdisciplinary course on the law, theory and practice of the right to information. At the end of the course, the students should be able to effectively instruct others on the law, theory and practice of the right to information. Method of teaching is group discussions using the meiutic method. Final grad consists of class participation and project accomplished individually or in group.

Syllabus available upon request.

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Russia

Nizhny Novgorod Commercial Institute

Access to Official Information

Tatyana Tolsteneva

Course aims for developing theoretical and practical skills in the area of access to social significant information in Russia. Course consists of 4 lectures and 4 practical lessons. Students get knowledge about the right of access to socially significant information and implementation of those rights in practice.

Syllabus available upon request.

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Nizhny Novgorod State University

Access to Official Information

Tatyana Tolsteneva

Course aims for developing theoretical and practical skills in the area of access to social significant information in Russia. Course consists of 4 lectures and 4 practical lessons. Students get knowledge about the right of access to socially significant information and implementation of those rights in practice.

Syllabus available upon request.

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State University - Higher School of Economics (Nignii Novgorod's branch)

Access to Official Information

Tatyana Tolsteneva

Course aims for developing theoretical and practical skills in the area of access to social significant information in Russia. Course consists of 4 lections and 4 practical lessons. Students get knowledge about the right of access to socially significant information and implementation of those rights in practice.

Syllabus available upon request.

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United Kingdom

University of Dundee, School of Law

Freedom of Information, LLM module

Janet McLean

The objective of the module is to help students acquire an advanced knowledge and critical understanding of the legal regimes regulating the availability of public information in Scotland. By the end of the module, students should appreciate the broader governmental and political context in which freedom of information regimes operate and understand the main features of the Scottish Freedom of Information Act including the institutional framework and the nature of the exemptions.

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University of Northumbria

Freedom of information, LLM course

Janet McLean

It aims to respond to the specific needs of information rights practitioners, providing a structured framework within which they can acquire and update knowledge whilst gaining a qualification that recognizes their specialist expertise.

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United States

Albany Law School

Public Access to Government Information

Robert Freeman

Involves a review of the law in the United States and abroad, with a concentration on New York law, including judicial interpretation, that is designed to promote open access to government as the public's right to know while guarenteeing safety and security for citizens.

Syllabus available upon request.

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University of Arizona, School of Journalism

Government Secrecy: Access to Information in a Time of Terror

David Cuillier

This online course for undergraduates and graduate students delves into the world of government secrecy and access to government records, including the legal and political theories that protect freedom of information, and the practical application of access in our careers and personal lives. Students examine the benefits and harms caused by access, current threats to access, and the changing climate with a new president. Students learn not only the history and theory of access, but also practical strategies for getting public records.

Syllabus available upon request.

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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Freedom of Information Law

Richard J. Peltz

This course focuses on the law of access to government, or freedom of information law, in the United States. The course takes a multi-state approach, familiarizing students with norms of state and federal open records and open meetings laws, and exposing students to statutes, regulations, and cases at both state and federal levels. Course coverage is organized in three parts - Access to the Judiciary, Access to the Executive, and Principal Issues in Access Law - and in ten chapters: (1) Criminal Proceedings, (2) Juries, (3) Court Records, (4) The FOIAs, (5) Law Enforcement and Corrections, (6) Homeland Security and the War on Terror, (7) Open Records, (8) Open Meetings, (9) Electronic Access, and (10) Scope of Laws.

Syllabus available upon request.

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University of California

Information Law

Lynn M. LoPucki

This seminar explores issues in the law regulating access to information. Topics include information privacy, human identification and identity theft; the consumer credit reporting system, access to court, criminal, and other public records; and the Freedom of Information Act. Students will use the information systems studied and write and present papers.

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University of Missouri, School of Journalism

Controls of Information

Charles N. Davis

The doctrinal focus of the class is access to government records, meetings, and processes, and the legal and political theory giving rise to such rights. The topic is approached from perspective of the journalist acting as a proxy for the people in a democracy.

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