Thursday, May 17, 2007

Protesting the Weakening of FOI Laws in Bulgaria

At the request of International Freedom of Information Advocates Network, a European-based FOI advocacy group of which RTKNS is a member, and at the invitation of Toby Mendel of Article 19, I have attached our Coalition to a protest letter to the Bulgarian Government. The Bulgarian Government plans to amend its Act to require applicants to have a legal interest in the information requested (whatever that means) and to declare that it's all or nothing. If anything in a record is off FOI limits, then it all is; no severing of information .

The protest includes advocacy groups and others from some thirty countries. So far we are the only ones from this side of the pond. The flood of support is incredible.


Darce Fardy
Right to Know Coalition of Nova Scotia
(902) 422-1481

More on the issue:

21 MAY 2007
International FOI Advocates Protest Draft Amendments that would Weaken Bulgarian Public Information Act
(Note that the protest letter is available at this address as well)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

No wonder right to know activists get depressed.

In its May 1, 2007 edition the Globe and Mail carried two federal secrecy issues back to back.

In one an RCMP Officer complains that he saw requests to the RCMP for information involving the force's controversial pension plan delayed and obstructed. And this from the man who recently retired as a senior officer in RCMP Access to Information.

The Officer told a House of Commons Committee that the RCMP leadership took nine months to deliver records that could have been made availabe in 60 days. "And the version that was finally shipped out was so heavily editted that few actual words were visible between the vast swaths of blank ink".

The story on the next page is headlined: "Judge, Arar join to uncloak torture report secrecy." According to the writer of the story the public is still not allowed to see the blacked out portion, not even after a $15-million public inquiry that lasted more than three years".

Obstruction like this happens because not enough Canadians seem to care. And citizen pressure is the only thing that will get governments' attention.