Freedom of Information, Right to Access Information, Open Data: Who is at the Table?

Elizabeth Shepherd in The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs: “Many national governments have adopted the idea of the ‘right to access information’ (RTI) or ‘freedom of information’ (FOI) as an essential element of the rights of citizens to freedom of opinion and expression, human rights, trust in public discourse and transparent, accountable and open government. Over 100 countries worldwide have introduced access to information legislation: 50+ in Europe; a dozen in Africa; 20 in the Americas and Caribbean; more than 15 in Asia and the Pacific; and two in the Middle East (Banisar, 2014). This article will provide an overview of access to information legislation and focus on the UK Freedom of Information Act 2000 as a case example. It will discuss the impact of the UK FOI Act on public authorities, with particular attention to records management implications, drawing on research undertaken by University College London. In the final section, it will reflect on relationships between access to information and open government data. If governments are moving to more openness, what implications might this have for those charged with implementing FOI and RTI policies, including for records management professionals?…(More)”