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Right to Information

Access to information means access to justice. Citizens armed with information can claim what is rightfully theirs. For this reason, OGP members are required to have laws guaranteeing the right to information. 

See the Guide to Open Government and the Coronavirus: Right to Information »

Overview | Recommendations | Partners | Data | Documents | Commitments | Recent Posts


Overview

The right to access government-held information is a critical component of democracy and a foundational pillar of open government. Access to information inherently improves government transparency which can enable the public to participate meaningfully in official decision-making and to hold government actors accountable for their decisions. OGP members are required to have laws enabling fair access to information. Through OGP, the effectiveness of these laws can be improved by removing additional barriers to information and creating platforms to report on fraud or corruption.

OGP commitments that focus on creating or reforming RTI laws and regulations have been both common and successful. Seven of the world’s ten top-rated countries for RTI legislation improved their legislation or its implementation through OGP. However, RTI implementation remains a challenge that fewer commitments have addressed.

Reforms in this area are especially important in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which many governments restricted right-to-information (RTI) laws in the wake of the emergency. Access to information about government spending and procurement are a key part of Open Response, Recovery, Renewal efforts across OGP countries, including in regions like Europe where access to information is a fundamental part of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF).

A country’s commitment to pro-actively provide high-value information is at the heart of open government.



Recommendations

  • Upholding Existing RTI Provisions
    • In times of crisis, ensure capacity to maintain processing of requests for information. 
    • Keep in place requirements to provide information “as soon as possible”. Brazil instituted a time limit that required government agencies to respond to information requests by a certain deadline.
    • Proactively publish comprehensible information in accessible, open formats to limit need for requests. Nigeria committed to proactively disclose information through an electronic portal and release annual reports on request and response rates.
  • Strengthening RTI Practices
    • Strengthen capacity to respond to requests by prioritizing digitalization, data collection, and adequate training. Sri Lanka created a robust right to information infrastructure that included mass trainings for public servants.
    • Mandate publication of metadata on the performance of RTI systems, disaggregated by agency and level of government. 
    • Invest in and publish gender disaggregated data. 
    • Create opportunities for citizens to monitor and provide feedback on right to information processes. Croatia successfully amended its Act on the Right of Access to Information to include a legal obligation to consult with the public about new legislation and enforce a directive on the re-use of public sector information.

OGP Global Report Data

The data below is drawn from the 2019 OGP Global Report. You can view and learn more about the report here.

These are members making OGP commitments to improve their performance in the respective policy area. As members that have demonstrated political commitment through OGP, the next step is ensuring that implemented commitments have maximal impact.

Key
Indicates that member has a starred commitment in this policy area.


Resources

  1. Right to Information Fact Sheet

    A look at global progress and member-level examples of right to information work in OGP

    2021, Document, PDF

  2. A Guide to Open Government and the Coronavirus: Right to Information

    The right to information is a fundamental right and an inherent part of the right to freedom of opinion and…

    2020, Guidance Document, Web Page

  3. Open Response + Open Recovery: Open Service Delivery in Health – Communities and Governments Working Together

    OGP, the Open Data Charter, and Access Info address challenges that governments have faced when trying to promote transparency during…

    2020, , Web Page

  4. Access to Information: A New Promise for Sustainable Development

    This resource is part of UNESCO's In Focus Series: World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development.

    2019, Outbound Link, Web Page


Commitments


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