Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Timely Publication on Freedom of Information



Freedom of information and freedom of the media go hand-in-hand. The second facilitates the first. As such, this blog which is devoted to compiling current developments on political and other constraints on the freedom of the media, is deeply interested in strengthening FoI where it remains stifled. 

The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) at the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED) published earlier this month a practical handbook on FoI. Titled ‘Breathing Life into Freedom of Information Laws: The Challenges of Implementation in the Democratizing World,’ it is authored by Craig L. LaMay, Robert J. Freeman, and Richard N. Winfield. The International Senior Lawyers Project is associated with the publication.

“Often when people seek information under FOI laws and are refused, they are denied on grounds that have no basis in law, or, if denied under a statutory exemption, without explanation of why the exemption applies. Sometimes requesters are denied for reasons that amount to official inconvenience, told that the request is too time- or resource-consuming to fulfil, or that the records they want do not exist,” write the authors. The handbook is a practical guide to navigate these obstacles.

Craig LaMay is an associate professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, where he teaches communications law, and a faculty associate at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research. Richard N. Winfield leads the Media Law Working Group of the International Senior Lawyers Project, an NGO he co-founded in 2000. Bob Freeman is executive director of the New York State Committee on Open Government.

You can access the document here.

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