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TagsFreedom Of Information Act (United States) Freedom Of Information Laws By Country Public Law Virtue
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CHAPTER –VICHAPTER –VI

INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE OFINTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE OF

EMERGENCE AND ADOPTION OF RIGHT TOEMERGENCE AND ADOPTION OF RIGHT TO

INFORMATION ACTINFORMATION ACT

I – IntroductionI – Introduction

A new era of government transparency has arrived. Laws opening governmentA new era of government transparency has arrived. Laws opening government

records and processes are now commonplace among democratic countries. It isrecords and processes are now commonplace among democratic countries. It is

now widely recognized that the culture of secrecy that has been the modusnow widely recognized that the culture of secrecy that has been the modus

operandi of many governments for centuries is no longer feasible in a global ageoperandi of many governments for centuries is no longer feasible in a global age

of information and not compatible with modern government.of information and not compatible with modern government.

This chapter is an attempt to review the legislation of Right to Information ActThis chapter is an attempt to review the legislation of Right to Information Act

from a global perspective. Attempt has been made to highlight the contributingfrom a global perspective. Attempt has been made to highlight the contributing

factors for the adoption of this act in various countries. Then there is a brieffactors for the adoption of this act in various countries. Then there is a brief

description of the form and features of this ac in various countries have beendescription of the form and features of this ac in various countries have been

analyzed. It has been also attempted to compare the legislative provisionsanalyzed. It has been also attempted to compare the legislative provisions

among countries and bring out the common issues.among countries and bring out the common issues.

II – Right to Information around the World:II – Right to Information around the World:

OverviewOverview

Access to government records and information is an essential requirement forAccess to government records and information is an essential requirement for

modern government and developing and maintaining a civil and democraticmodern government and developing and maintaining a civil and democratic

society, Access facilities public knowledge and discussion. It provides ansociety, Access facilities public knowledge and discussion. It provides an

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Implementation of the Act has been slow. The government announced in

November 2001 that the provisions of the Act that allow citizens to demand

information will not go into force until 2005. All national and local departments will

simultaneously provide access .in a "big bang," father than in phases. The

provisions on publication schemes for .central and local government bodies nave

gone into force and are being phased in for other bodies over the next year.

Most organizations will adopt model schemes developed with the approval of' the

Commissioner. The Commissioner admitted in his 2002-03 annual report that

standards for the initial schemes were set low but will be raised when the

schemes are renewed.

The Hutton inquiry into the death of a government scientist following controversy

over charges that the government had mislead the public regarding Iraq has

provided nearly all documents on its web site. The documents have generated

considerable interest in FOI as they reveal the inner working of the government

and would not likely have been released otherwise.

Until the FOIA goes into effect, a non statutory "Code of Practice on Access to

Government Information" provides some access to government records but has

15 broad exemptions. Dissatisfied applicants can complain, via a Member of

Parliament to the Parliamentary Ombudsman if their request is denied.

In 2003, the Parliamentary Ombudsman threatened to stop all investigations into

the code after the government refused to cooperate in one case and in two other

cases, including a question on conflicts of interest by ministers, issued a

certificate preventing the Ombudsman from investigating on the grounds that

releasing information "would be prejudicial to the safety of the State or otherwise

contrary to the public interest."

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VII – RTI and Different International

Organizations

UNDP:

The UNDP adopted its Public Information Disclosure Policy in 1997, stating as its

rationale for doing so that: The importance of information disclosure to the public

as a prerequisite for sustainable human development (SHD) has been

recognized in major United Nations intergovernmental statements, including the

Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. … As a custodian of public

funds, UNDP is directly accountable to its member Governments and indirectly

accountable to their parliaments, their taxpayers, and the public in donor and

programme countries.

WORLD BANK:

The World Bank first began issuing instructions on disclosure to its staff in 1985

and, in the aftermath of the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and

Development, adopted a formal, detailed Policy on the Disclosure of Information

in 1993. The Bank took concrete steps to review its policy - in 1995, 1997, 1998

and 1999 - resulting in progressively more openness and an increase in the

number of documents subject to disclosure. A new World Bank Policy on

Disclosure of Information was adopted in 2001, which came into force in January

2002.

The global overview brings out the fact that the culture of transparency and

accountability is getting popular not only in principle but in real since the

enactment of law especially meant for that is being enacted. The right to

information has proved itself as one of the successful legislation in the area of

reducing corruption, increasing transparency and accountability in the

governance system in all over the globe.

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