Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Something to be proud of

New Zealand is first in the world for freedom of information, according to an international comparative study. Ask Your Government! The Six Question Campaign [PDF] asked 80 different governments 6 basic questions about budget information (e.g. how much they spent on aid), and analysed the results. Not all the countries they asked has a freedom of information law, and they received responses in less than half of cases. But the pattern of refusals did let them draw some interesting conclusions, including the obvious one - freedom of information laws matter, and the longer they've been around, the better response - and some unobvious ones - new democracies (e.g. in Eastern Europe) do better than established ones, despite the youth of their FOI laws, possibly because older regimes (e.g. the US) are weaker. Then there was this:


The response time looks disturbing, but its days rather than working days, and consistent with the 20 working day statutory limit in New Zealand. Though obviously, I'd prefer that it was shorter. If Georgia can respond in eleven days, surely we can as well?

[Hat-tip: Media Law Journal]