Flagship Report

Right to Information

What this is about:

On Tuesday September 25, 2018 we held a public consultation session on how to represent the theme of Access to Information in the State of Open Government Report. (For more background and justification, please see here.) During the session we presented our preliminary ideas and approach to Fiscal Openness and asked for feedback on the best way to frame this topic, what is missing, and if there are other stakeholders we should talk to.

The purpose of this page is to provide a public space for written feedback for those of you who couldn’t attend the consultation or who would like to make your points in writing.  You can provide comments on the original framing, on the data being used for benchmarking and can suggest case studies to be featured.

What we heard from you:

  • Cultural shift: the framing can be updated to address the impact of overt bureaucratic or political resistance, and how that can be overcome. Moving to a model where all information is potentially accessible requires an enormous cultural shift that goes beyond practical challenges like records management. You need to really change how officials think about the information they create and use.
  • Analysis of the value add: Moving beyond anecdotal accounts to more specific and formal analysis of the value add that comes with a robust right to information.
  • Alternate models of dispute resolution: looking at the efficacy of models such as mediation or ADR-style intervention in resolving disputes around access to information, particularly in emerging democracies.
  • Proactive disclosure: will the report include any indicators or provide any insight into how governments are willingly making the information public, and in some cases even using an open data format? 
  • Data protection: the framework should also include taking a look at data protection agencies or data protection oversight mechanisms.  The questions of staffing and available resources are also relevant to oversight institutions.
  • Other data sources:
    • Will the report use the Implementation Assessment Tool from The Carter Center
    • OGP should take a look at data from UNESCO who is in charge of monitoring the implementation of SDG 16.10.2, directly relevant to right to information. Their data should be relevant to OGP in terms of coverage and UNESCO is currently discussing the exact type of questions or indicators to include in their survey.
  • Managing digital records: exploring how to deal with the large amount of government information that's being produced in public and private channels, multiplication of communication platforms, and problems with human-based retrieval.
    • Estonia as a possible case study: the parliament has been struggling with the deluge of documents and retrieval of archives and what to keep and what not and is it acceptable to really, basically get rid of some of the documentation that has very little value

How we plan in address/incorporate this feedback:

  • The proactive disclosure of information is really important and there are some important victories, in Latin America for example, that we can highlight. However, in this particular report the focus will be on reactive information mechanisms. It is important that we don’t muddy the waters too much between right to information based on requests and open data in particular.
  • Data protection and privacy are important additions we will make to the framework.

Where to next?

  • Next, we will update our approach and framing. (What’s currently in the “Thematic Strawmen” document listed above.)
  • We welcome your feedback below (in the public comment box) or to our email at research@opengovpartnership.org. We are going to close comments on Wednesday, October 31, 2018. If you would to talk to us again, please reach out (at the same email) to schedule a phone call.
  • For some areas that we still need research, we are going to commission research by partners to help inform the final report.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the consultations during the live sessions and in writing!