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Right to Information


News Updates (Archives) - 2004

India: The Central Government tabled the Right to Information Bill 2004 on 23 December 2004, during the winter session of Parliament] (RTI Bill 2004). When approved by Parliament, it is intended that the RTI Bill 2004 will replace the existing Freedom of Information Act 2002. A comparative analysis of the RTI Bill 2004 with the Freedom of Information Act 2002, the NAC recommendations and the draft RTI Bill of the Department of Personnel and Training has been drafted by the NCPRI. CHRI's summary of the RTI Bill 2004 outlines the main features of the RTI Bill 2004. (23/12/04)

Australia: In a blow to the public's right to know, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal ruled against a petition challenging the power of Federal Government Ministers to block the release of sensitive information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI Act). The petition was initiated by Michael Mckinnon, Freedom of Information Editor, The Australian, against Treasurer Peter Costello and Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer for issuing 'conclusive certificates' preventing the release of documents on tax increases through bracket creep, the First Home Buyers Scheme and the detention of Australian terror suspect David Hicks. Conclusive certificates can be issued by a minister without explanation under the FOI Act to prevent the release of certain documents. The ruling was made on grounds that 'interference' in the smooth running of government was contrary to public interest. For more information click here. (22/12/04)

Pakistan: The People's Party Parliamentarians (PPP) submitted a Bill to the Senate Secretariat seeking the establishment of an autonomous corporation to develop and maintain the Pakistan Portal on Contracts Management for bringing transparency to all contracts pertaining to all services and purchases. The PPP Senator, Ms Zuberi, who piloted the Bill, said the corporation would serve as a repository of all information on all contracts for the procurement of all services and purchases providing online access to the information for all. The PPP Senator said the Party had submitted the Bill because it was committed to good governance for which accountability was a prerequisite. For more information click here. (13/12/04)

India: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has given his assurance to the NCPRI that the 2002 FOI Act will be sent to the Cabinet for clearance by 15 December and tabled in the current winter session of Parliament. The Act will feature amendments that ensure transparency in sections of the government, in particular, provisions that require intelligence and security agencies to disclose information related to human-rights violations or corruption. For more information, click here. (09/12/04)

International: A Joint Declaration by the UN, OAS and OSCE Freedom of Expression Special Rapporteurs was issued this week recognizing the need for citizens’ access to government-held information. It affirms citizens’ access to information as a “fundamental human right”, which governments should respect by enacting laws “ based on the principle of maximum disclosure”. The Special Rapporteurs have urged governments to rescind laws that restrict citizen’s access to information and provide legal protection for "whistleblowers". For more information click here. ( 07/12/04)

Canada: The Gomery Commission into the scandal over the misuse of government sponsorshop funding has provided firsthand evidence about the special procedures in place at the Federal Government level for handling politically sensitive FOI requests. The testimony of an official in the Department of Public Works reveals that sensitive requests are specially flagged for attention. The Department explained the process using flowcharts. This system is not unique to the Department of Public Works and Government services according to the Toronto Star . For an analysis of the impact of these procedures click here. (02/12/04)

Malaysia: From 27-28 September 2004, ARTICLE 19 and Forum-Asia organized a workshop on freedom of information in Malaysia. At the close of the meeting, civil society groups agreed to from a coalition to promote citizens' rights to obtain government information. They endorsed a Statement of Principles that underscored the necessity of such rights, with particular reference to the Malaysian Government's excessive secrecy. (26/11/04 )

India: The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre and States on 16 November 2004, asking for direction regarding the enforcement of the Freedom of Information Act. The notice was based on a petition submitted by Sanjay Goel asking when the Freedom of Information Act (passed by Parliament in 2002 and approved by the President in 2003), would be notified and brought into force. For more details, click here. (16/11/04)

South Africa: Cape Town businessman Richard Young has won a three-year fight to have comprehensive documentation on an investigation into SA's arms deal released, in a court finding which suggests that access to information legislation is gaining judicial sanction. Pretoria High Court Judge Annemarie de Vos declared last week that Auditor-General Shauket Fakie was in contempt of court for not supplying Young with a full set of documents amassed as part of the investigation into the $5bn arms procurement process. Fakie now faces a one-month jail term if he does not supply the documents within four weeks. (18/10/04)

Zambia: Media workers in Zambia are pushing the government to enact the ‘freedom of information bill’ that has been sidelined for two years now. The bill, if passed, would compel public officials to release information being sought, and enable a petitioner to go to court if the official refused. Fanwell Chembo, a director of the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) in Zambia stated "Not many people, including politicians, are aware of the benefit of the bill. President [Levy] Mwanawasa has carried out a commendable campaign to rid the country of corruption, and this law will help his efforts - no longer will politicians from the ruling party or the opposition be able to hide”. (09/11/04)

International: The Corruptions perception index focuses on corruption in the public sector and defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain. The TI Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) this year ranks 146 countries in terms of the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians. It is a composite index, drawing on 18 different polls and surveys from 12 independent institutions carried out among business people and country analysts, including surveys of residents, both local and expatriate. A total of 106 out of 146 countries score less than 5 against a clean score of 10, according to the new index. Sixty countries score less than 3 out of 10, indicating rampant corruption. Nine of the top ten best perceived countries have RTI laws. In the bottom ten only one of the countries has an RTI law. GO RTI!!! (October 04)

Kenya: Transparency International Kenya's news magazine, Adili, has dedicated three full issues to Freedom of Information! The first edition focuses on the value of the right to information. The second FOI Edition of Adili focuses on law-making standards and implementation issues. The third edition analyses the importance of the media in promoting FOI within Kenya. (19/10/04)

UK: Lord Falconer, the constitutional affairs secretary, has promised that the Government will not charge prohibitive fees under the Freedom of Information Act. The Act, which comes into force on January 2005, is intended to create an environment of open governance and improve the public perception. The great majority of requests will be dealt with within 20 working days and provided free of charge. In some cases though central government departments will be able to impose a fee when the costs exceed £600 which roughly equated to three and a half days work. (18/10/04)

Malawi: On 14 October, The National Media Institute for Southern Africa (Namisa) has launched their access to information campaign in Blantyre, Malawi. Namisa Vice chairman, Mc Donald Chapalapata, advised that Namisa is advocating for a Bill because while journalists have freedom of expression, there is also a need for them to access information. The Access to Information Bill produced by Namisa provides that every person shall have the right to access information which is under the control of a public authority and even private entities as long as that information is of public interest. (14/10/04)

Kenya: Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Kiraitu Murungi has stated that the Government will soon enact a law to protect whistle-blowers as part of its fight against corruption. The statement was made at Transparency International’s award ceremony for the two Kenyans whistleblowers who helped uncover the Goldenberg scam, which saw Kenya lose around $600 million. Whistleblower legislation contributes to open government by ensuring that officials are protected for disclosing information no wrongdoing, in the public interest. (14/10/04)

Pakistan: On 10 October, the National Assembly rejected the FOI Bill submitted by the opposition party which attempted to replace the existing Ordinance on access to information. Speaking against this move, Sherry Rehman, the mover of the Bill, stated that under the existing law information could be denied under the cover of ‘national interest’. The proposed new law would give protection against intimidation or removal from office to anyone who disseminated information about corruption or irregularities of any individual within their departments. (12/10/04)

International: The World Bank has published Prem Note 93 - Legislation on Freedom of Information: Trends and Standards. The World Bank Prem Note series is intended to summarize for World Bank staff good practice and key policy findings on Economic Policy, Gender, Governance and Public Sector Reform and Poverty. (11/10/04)

New Zealand: Prime Minister Helen Clark has rejected proposals to allow access to information about MPs' spending under the Official Information Act. The Act was initially drafted only to cover Government and statutory agencies and Mrs Clarke has refused to extend it to cover parliamentarians. This is despite the fact that $101 million of public money is spent each year on Parliament, of which $29.7 million is spent largely at the discretion of MPs and party leaders. Critics have argued that the money derives from the public and should therefore be open to scrutiny by the public. (06/10/04)

Fiji: A Freedom of Information Bill 2004 and a Freedom of Information Discussion Paper was launched on 20 September at a workshop hosted by the Citizens Constitutional Forum and the University of South Pacific Journalism School. The documents are intended to be used as a basis for discussion by civil society and the Government. Click here for more information on the workshop. The Government has advised that FOI legislation has been included on its 2004 legislative agenda, but has yet to produce a draft law for discussion. (05/10/04)

Zambia: The Information and Broadcasting Deputy Minister, Gaston Sichilima, assured the media that the withdrawal of the Freedom of Information Bill in 2002 from Parliament was not aimed at blocking the media from accessing information freely, but was to provide extensive consultations, reports The Times of Zambia. Sichilima said the Bill would be reintroduced after the government concludes consultations with all stakeholders. Click here for more. (05/10/04)

International: On 28 September, the international community commemorated International Right to Know Day. RTK Day was first declared in 2002 by a group of activists committed to the promotion of the right to information as a basic human right. This group has now formalised as the Freedom of Information Advocates Network. Groups wishing to join FOIA Net should contact Mr Karen Andreasyan, who managed the FOIA Net Secretariat. In support of RTK Day 2004, FOIA Net has collected RTK Day stories and activities from around the world on their website. (28/09/04)

South Africa: The Open Democracy Advice Centre has just released the findings of a survey undertaken in early 2004 to test the implementation of the Promotion of Access to Information Act. Unfortunately, ODAC's report presents survey results which are disappointing. For example, despite the fact that requestors have an unqualified right to access government records, more than half of all requests made to goverment (52%) were ignored - that is there was no response at all. Even more disturbingly, all requests made by the media were ignored. Click here for more.(23/09/04)

Nigeria: The House of Representatives passed the Freedom of Access to Information Bill on 25 August. The Act purports to facilitate greater access to information from the Government and its agencies at the federal, state and local government levels. The Bill makes public officials accountable for interfering with records and also includes an appeal process. Click here for more. (01/09/04)

India: Draft Rules under the Freedom of Information Act 2002 were released by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions on 12 August 2004, more than 18 months after the Act (which is still not in force) was first passed by Parliament. The Government has called for comments from the public by 31 August 2004. Comments can be emailed to rakeshmalhotra@dpt.nic in OR or posted to Mr Rakesh Malhotra, Under-Secretary Establishment, Room 202, North Block, New Delhi. On 14 August, the National Advisory Council met for the third time and finalised their Recommendations to the Government regarding amending the FOI Act. Click here for a more detailed update on the NAC's deliberations. (16/08/04)

United Nations: The United Nations Development Programme has recently published a Practical Guidance Note on Right to Information, for UNDP country offices to draw on and use in discussions with government counterparts and other stakeholders. This guide is part of UNDP's developing Access to Information 'tool kit', which also includes Access to Information Practice Note and the Guide on UNDP and other Actors' Engagement in Access to Information. (13/08/04)

India: The National Advisory Council (NAC), set up to advise the Government re the Common Minimum Programme (including on amendments to the Central Freedom of Information Act 2002), has provided an Update on the Discussions of the NAC at the first two Meetings held in July. Notably, at their second meeting on 31 July, the NAC considered the draft National Campaign for the People's Right to Information Recommendations re Amending the Central FOI Act 2002. The NAC has now produced draft NAC Recommendations regarding Amending the FOI Act 2002, which will be reviewed and finalised at their next meeting, which is scheduled for 14 August. CHRI has made a Submission re the draft NAC Recommendations, for consideration at the meeting. (10/08/04)

United Nations: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recently published "Policy Guidelines for the Development and Promotion of Governmental Public Domain Information". The guidelines refer specifically to the importance of the right to information and encourage governments to adopt freedom of information legislation. (02/08/04)

Nigeria: The campaign for the Freedom of Information Bill is set to begin a month-long letter writing campaign to put pressure on the government to give the bill a third reading. The third reading would be the final one before the bill could move on to the Senate. The campaign is also planning a rally for the end of August at the National Assembly. For more information click here. Also, editors meeting at the World Bank Seminar in Lagos resolved to fight for the bill, noting its importance in breaking down the "secret society" that has characterized the Nigerian government. For more on this story, click here. (02/08/04)

India: In a public interest litigation case this week in front of the Supreme Court regarding notification of the Central Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2002, an Order of the Supreme Court of India set 15 September 2004 as the deadline for the Central Government to advise when the Act would be notified and if not, when interim Administrative Guidelines would be issued. Click here for more. In recent weeks, the National Advisory Council (NAC) on the Government's Common Minimum Programme has also been discussing amendments to the FOI Act. To aid discussions, CHRI has submitted an Analysis of the Freedom Of Information Act 2002 and Recommendations to the NAC and all Cabinet MPs. A recent Statement of the National Council for People’s Right to Information also calls on the Indian Government to implement its recent commitment to develop a more "progressive, participatory and meaningful" right to information law. (26/07/04)

Pacific Islands: Transparency International's National Integrity System (NIS) Country Studies highlight the good governance issues in the Pacific. Mr. Peter Aitsi made some important recommendations using the NIS at the Pacific Island Forum Economic Ministers Meeting. His observations about the need for transparency and accountability in the Pacific as well as an open exchange between the government and civil society are most welcome. (20/07/04)

Bermuda: The Royal Gazette reported the Premier's intentions to place Freedom of Information Legislation before Parliament in the next session. For the full article, click here.(19/07/04)

United Kingdom: The Information Commissoner's Annual Report is out! Interesting sections include answers to frequently asked questions from the information commissoner and updates on the commission's work in the last year. The Ombudsmen's Annual Report is out, filled with RTI cases prosecuted during the last year. (15/07/04)

Zimbabwe: The government has proposed amendments to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act that would further restrict freedom of expression in Zimbabwe. The amendment to Article 83 of the current act would enact criminal penalties of up to two years imprisonment for unaccredited or suspended journalists, while the Article 40 amendment would deny the existence of ADMA, the Advertising Media Association, a body that represents media houses in the country and appoints publishers to government commissions. Click here for more. (25/06/04)

Pakistan: The Government has finally notified the Freedom of Information Rules 2004 under the Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002. The Government did not distribute the Rules for public review and comment before they were tabled, but civil society was proactive in writing to Government with suggestions for improving the Rules. Click here for more. (21/06/04)

Maldives: The Attorney General, Dr. Hassan Saeed, in an interview with the Haveeru newspaper, states that a draft bill for a Freedom of Information Act would be sent to parliament in 2005. The Attorney-General said that the bill is being drafted taking into account opinion and recommendations of editors in Maldives, but at the same time stated that freedom of press in Maldives has been traditionally controlled, and that letting loose such controls suddenly may prove unhealthy in the context of the Maldives social environment. (25/05/04)

Uganda: On 14 April 2004, the Minister for Information tabled the Access to Information Bill in Parliament. Although the Government had stated for some months that it was in the process of developing a draft Bill, civil society activists were not invited to input into the law-making process and were unable to obtain a copy of the draft Bill, prior to its submission to Parliament. MP Abdu Katuntu is reported to have observed that the Bill is similar to the Private Members' Bill he had developed on the subject. CHRI has produced an Analysis of the government-sponsored Access to Information Bill. In other news, it has been reported that in May 2004, the Government issued directives to all ministries and departments to recruit information officers in preparation for implementation of the Act. (11/05/04)

Scotland: In the process of the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (2002), the Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner (OSIC), has produced a Promotion Strategy to deliver a clear and effective public promotion campaign to raise awareness. To comply with the requirements included in the United Nation Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Access to Information, the Scottish Government has just produced draft Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs). The Draft guidance and the draft section 62 code of practice accompanying the regulations aim to clarify the relationship of the EIRs and the FOI Act. The Campaign for Freedom of Information has also recently published a report on Central Government Publication Schemes, which looks to government good practices in disclosure of information. (04/05/04)

Zambia: The Media Legal Reform Committee (MLRC) has said it will not relent in its battle to have the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill enacted in Zambia. The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has criticised the Governments’ unwillingness to pass the Freedom of Information (FOI) law. Click here for more detail. (23/04/04)

Pakistan: To comply with the requirements of Transparent Public Procurement based on Principals laid down in the National Anti Corruption Strategy (NACS), the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) prepared a Procurement manual to deal with corruption and to ensure transparency in procurement of services, works, goods and equipment. Click here for more detail. (23/04/04)

Malawi: The Malawi Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa recently prepared a draft Access to Information Bill for consideration by civil society and the Government. ARTICLE 19 has just produced a Memorandum on the Draft Malawian Access to Information Bill analysing the draft and suggesting improvements. (19/04/04)

Bangladesh : In early 2002, the Law Commission of Bangladesh Working Paper on the Proposed Right to Information Act 2002 was drafted. ARTICLE 19, who have advised that they were only able to obtain a copy of the Working Paper in late 2003, has just published a Memorandum on the Law Commission RTI Working Paper. (16/04/04)

India : Under the Delhi Right to Information Act, citizens of Delhi officially inspected a government work for the first time in March 2004. Unusually, the Act gives a right to every citizen to inspect any government work and take sample of material from that work. Click here for the full story. (15/04/04)

Organisation of American States : On 9 February 2004, the Chair of the General Committee of the OAS Permanent Council produced a Report in response to the proposals put forward by the OAS Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression in two Reports on Access to Information produced in 2003. The Special Rapporteur's First Report on Access to Information was initially considered by the Permanent Council on 10 September and the Second Report on Access to Information on 17 December 2003. Both Reports sought to develop proposals for operationalising paragraph 5 of the June 2003 OAS General Assembly Resolution on "Access to Public Information: Strengthening Democracy". (Paragraph 5 instructs the Permanent Council “to promote seminars and forums designed to foster, disseminate, and exchange experiences and knowledge about access to information so as to contribute, through efforts by the member states, to fully implementing such access.”) (14/04/04)

Pakistan : On a complaint lodged by Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan (CRCP), the Wafaqi Mohtasib has handed down a decision that absence of rules is no excuse to deny information to citizens under the Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002. Click here for more information. (12/04/04)

Kenya : The International Commission of Jurists Kenya Chapter produced a draft Freedom of Information Bill in 1999. The advocacy process around the draft Bill was overtaken, however, by the Constitutional Review process. Civil society has indicated that they may reconsider the draft Bill in the near future. To facilitate this, CHRI produced an Analysis of the draft Freedom of Information Bill 1999. (05/04/04)

United Nations : The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Mr Ambeyi Ligabo, has submitted his last Report to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights which is currently meeting in Geneva. Sections 34-68 deal with the right to information specifically. (02/04/04)

Australia : The shadow Federal Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, announced on February 11, the review of the Federal Freedom of Information (FOI) Act by the Australian Labor Party (ALP). Although the ALP is not currently in power, they have stated their intention “to reform the FOI laws so the public has all the information it is entitled to, and can judge their government's performance with all the facts”. CHRI has made a Submission to the ALP Review of Commonwealth Freedom of Information Act 1982. (16/03/04)

India : Parivatan, an Indian NGO, used the Delhi Freedom of Information Act to obtain records of ration dealers and discovered that “almost 90% of the food meant to be distributed to poor people under the Public Distribution System was being siphoned off. Click here for more details”. (16/03/04)

Mozambique : The Mozambique Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa, working as part of the Mozambiquan Debt Coalition has been working to develop a draft Access to Sources of Information Bill. CHRI has produced an Analysis of the draft Mozambique Access to Sources of Information Bill 2004. Article 19 has also produced a Memorandum on Mozambique’s draft Bill on Access to Sources of Information 2004. (March 04)

Uganda : MP Abdu Katuntu has produced a draft Bill on Access to Information, for consideration by the Government as a Private Member's Bill. CHRI has produced an Analysis of the draft Ugandan Access to Information Bill 2004. Article 19 has also produced a Memorandum on the Ugandan draft Access to Information Bill 2004. (March 04)

New Zealand: The Ombudsman, Mr. Mel Smith, has released a Report following an investigation into the Department of Labour's handling of an information request under the Official Information Act 1982. The NZ Opposition Party had requested a copy of a politically sensitive memo under the OIA. The Department of Labour denied the memo existed and repeated this claim when the Ombudsman asked to see it during his investigation of a complaint from the Opposition. The Ombudsman's inquiry started after a newspaper published the memo and proved that it did exist. Click here for more details. (01/03/04)

Sri Lanka : The Sri Lankan Government was in the process of considering a draft Freedom of Information Bill developed by a small committee of civil society representatives and government officials. However, since President Chandrika Kumaratunga 'took over' the Mass Communication Ministry following her declaration of a State of Emergency in early November, the Government's effort to get cabinet approval to present the Bill to parliament has been deferred. (Click here for a more detailed article) CHRI has produced an Analysis of the draft Sri Lankan Access to Official Information Bill. (February 04)

United Kingdom: In preparation for the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) coming into force in January 2005, the U.K. Information Commissioner has undertaken a survey in all 17 central governments departments to measure how prepared they are for the full implementation of the Act. Click here for more details. (27/02/04)

Australia: The Australian Law Reform Commission is looking to amend the way courts deal with classified and sensitive material. A discussion paper on how to give the courts more flexibility to deal with information during espionage and terrorism trials has been distributed, with submissions due in March 2004. Click here to view the ALRC Background Paper. Click here to view the ALRC Discussion Paper: Protecting Classified and Security Sensitive Information. (11/02/04)

Whistleblowers in East & West! by Aditi Datta, February, 2004

Jamaica: After a number of delays, the Access to information Act commenced on Monday January 5, 2004. The Act is currently applicable only in respect of seven (7) Entities - Office of the Prime Minister, Office of the Cabinet, Ministry of Finance and Planning, Ministry of Local Government, Community Development and Sport, Jamaica Information Service, National Works Agency and the Planning Institute of Jamaica. For more information on obtaining access to information under the Act, click here (22/01/04)

Training resources: The IFEX Communiqué has advised that ARTICLE 19 has published a training manual that gives public officials a "roadmap" for implementing freedom-of-information laws that conform with international standards on free expression. The manual can be used as a trainer's guide geared towards public officials or as a self-directed learning and reference tool. It includes guidelines for conducting a two-day training workshop, a "model law on freedom of information" and a survey of freedom-of-information laws around the world. Click here for the Report. (21/01/04)

India, Pakistan, South Africa, UK: The IFEX Communiqué has advised that UNESCO has published a worldwide study of freedom-of-information laws that examines best practices in 10 countries. Written by ARTICLE 19 Law Programme Director Toby Mendel, "Freedom on Information: A Comparative Legal Survey" analyses laws in Bulgaria, India, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The survey also looks at the public disclosure policies of the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank. Click here for the Report. (21/01/04)

Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe: The Nelson Mandela Institute has published a new study on media laws in four southern African countries, which is intended as a resource for press-freedom campaigners and journalists in the region. "SADC Media Law: A Handbook for Media Practitioners" gives a detailed overview of media laws and journalistic practices in Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. It surveys each country's media landscape and analyses laws governing press freedom, including those concerning access to information, defamation and privacy. The handbook is available in print or electronic PDF format from KAS. Visit: or contact KAS by telephone (+27-11) 214-2900 or by E-mail: (15/01/04)

Australia: An article in The Australian by Michael McKinnon and Natalie O'Brien on the practical problems being confronted by users of Australia's FOI law. Click here to access.

Ghana: The Government has produced a draft Freedom of Information Bill and has indicated it will be commencing consultations on the Bill soon.

India: Online land records available in Rajasthan - Aditi Datta

India: Case for whistleblowing law in India - Aditi Datta

India: Information kiosks, set up by the UNDP and the Indian government in the underdeveloped north Indian state of Rajasthan, are transforming rural economy and empowering people. Click here for more.

Malawi: The National Media Institute of Southern Africa Malawi Chapter (NAMISA) is championing the Access to Information Bill and has received the government's blessing to continue drafting the bill. NAMISA plans a rigorous campaign drive to sensitise the nation on what the bill is all about and why it is needed.

Nigeria: The Freedom of Information Coalition, a nation-wide coalition of civil society organisations, is campaigning for the Freedom of Information Act. The group is urging the Nigerian National Assembly to speed up the passage of a Freedom of Information Bill, reports the African Church Information Service (ACIS). Originally, a group of civil society organisations led by the Media Rights Agenda collaborated with members of the House to introduce the draft in 1999. The bill seeks to provide a legally enforceable right of access to official government information. However, apparently the House of Representatives failed to approve the bill before concluding its first legislative tenure, reports ACIS. Following its re-introduction to the new House, the bill has again gone through the first and second readings, and has since been referred to the House Committee on Information, Human Rights and Judiciary. (Story from Cth Monthly Press Freedom Review, November 2003). Click here for a more detailed summary.

Pakistan: The Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan has submitted a set of draft Business Rules to the Government in an attempt to move forward the operationalisation of the Freedom of Information Ordinance 2002.

Global: A ministers meet related to the WSIS, organised by UNESCO, decides that governments will reassess their development priorities and will build and create knowledge societies. Such societies use information to build and apply knowledge for human development. Click here for more.