[IRP] FW: World's First Rating of Right to Information

michael gurstein gurstein
Thu Sep 29 02:29:48 EEST 2011

-----Original Message-----
From: Access Info Europe [mailto:helen at access-info.org] 
Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 3:46 PM
To: mgurst at vcn.bc.ca
Subject: World's First Rating of Right to Information

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Press Release
For immediate release

World's First Rating of Right to Information: 89 Countries Ranked

28 September 2011, Madrid/Halifax - On International Right to Know Day, two
leading human rights organisations, Access Info Europe (Spain) and the
Centre for Law and Democracy (Canada), are launching the first detailed
analysis of the legal framework for the right to information (RTI) in 89
countries around the world.

The RTI Rating <http://www.rti-rating.org>  is based on 61 Indicators drawn
from a wide range of international standards on the right to information,
feedback from an international Advisory Council of renowned experts on the
right to information and comparative study of numerous right to information
and related laws from around the world. 

The findings of the RTI Rating show that there is a significant variety in
the quality of the legal framework, with scores out of a maximum possible
150 ranging from 37 (Germany) to 135 (Serbia). Some of the key results:

> More recent laws protect the right to know more strongly; of the 20
countries with scores above 100, 11 adopted their RTI laws since 2005, and 7
since 2000 - these laws tend to have much stronger oversight, enforcement
and promotion.

> Of the 20 countries with scores above 100, 7 are in East and Central
Europe, 5 in Asia, 4 in the Americas, 3 in Africa and only one is in Western

> Europe overall accounts for 15 of the bottom 20, primarily the older
European laws which are more limited in scope and have weaker appeals

"Effective protection of human rights like the right to information requires
a sound legal basis," said Toby Mendel, Executive Director of the Centre for
Law and Democracy. "This rating tool enables us to pinpoint areas of
weakness in the legal framework for RTI, and to direct future advocacy at
resolving these." 

The RTI Rating shows not only a country's overall score, but also but also
its strengths and weaknesses in relation to seven main categories: Right of
Access, Scope; Requesting Procedures; Exceptions and Refusals; Appeals;
Sanctions and Protections; and Promotional Measures. 

The score for the legal framework did not always accord with overall levels
of transparency in a country in practice. Some national experts who reviewed
the AIE and CLD country assessments noted that is sometimes a gap between
the quality of the law and the practice. In some northern European
countries, the older legal frameworks do not fully reflect the culture of
transparency in practice, whereas in countries like Azerbaijan, Nepal and
Ethiopia, strong laws on paper do not necessarily reflect a fully open
society; the strong laws in El Salvador and Liberia were adopted too
recently to assess the practice. 

"Testing of levels of transparency in practice is essential to have a full
picture," commented Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info
Europe. "Adopting a law is only a first step to transparency; without
accurate measures of access to information in practice, governments can
participate in 'transparency washing' and claim greater respect for this
fundamental human right than is in fact the case."

Note for editors

More information about the tools used in preparing the RTI Rating, the
Advisory Committee and the detailed ratings for each country can be found
at: www.rti-rating.org.

Access Info Europe and the Centre for Law and Democracy remain open to
comments and corrections to the RTI Rating. We know that only through expert
feedback will we perfect this analysis. The following countries have not yet
had national reviewers and comments from experts knowing about those
countries would be particularly welcome: Antigua and Barbuda, Austria,
Bangladesh, Cook Islands, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Estonia,
Greece, Guatemala, Guinea-Conakry, Iceland, Korea (South), Kosovo,
Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Slovak
Republic, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Trinidad
and Tobago, Tunisia and Turkey.

For further information please contact:
Helen Darbishire, Access Info Europe 
Email: helen at access-info.org | +34 667 685 319
Michael Karanicolas, Centre for Law and Democracy
Email: michael at law-democracy.org | +1 902 448 5290


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