The Success of the Right to Know Movement
On Friday 28 September 2012 is the 10th International Right to Know Day and Access Info Europe is marking the tremendous advances made in this right over the past decade with a series of activities around Europe as part of the global celebrations.
In a personal reflection on the achievements of the last 10 years, Access Info Europe's Executive Director Helen Darbishire looks back to the founding of the FOIAnet on 28 September 2002 and comments that "Not in our wildest imaginations did we predict the successes that this movement would have secured".
Tracing the key milestones, the civil society activism, the contributions of key individuals, and identifying some of the challenges ahead and concludes that "It is truly impressive how the exercise of 'soft power' has contributed to advancing this right so that it is now both a fundamental right and a sine qua non of a democratic society, of an open government. We cannot be complacent as there are many challenges ahead... but on this Friday, 28 September 2012, we can also pause for a moment to acknowledge the successes, and that is something well worth celebrating!"
AsktheEU.org | EU Transparency Results 2012
Brussels, 28 September 2012 - In the year running up to 28 September 2012, members of the European public presented a total of 214 requests for documents with European institutions and bodies using the AsktheEU.org request platform. As of 23 September, almost 65% of the 214 requests made using AsktheEU.org resulted in full (37%) or partial (28%) disclosure of documents.
In a further 19% of instances (40 requests) the institution responded that it did not hold the information requested, either because the document did not exist or because it was not in that institutions’ possession. Information was refused in only 13 cases (6% of requests).
Portugal's role in the "war on terror" under focus as human rights groups request information about 39 suspected CIA flights
11 September 2012, Madrid/London – On the anniversary of attacks which lead to the "War on Terror", human rights groups Access Info Europe and Reprieve asked the Portuguese Government to disclose information about CIA flights passing through Portuguese airspace as part of the "War on Terror" rendition programme. Investigations by Reprieve have confirmed that Portugal played a central role as a staging point for these flights.
The human rights groups, which are investigating flights relating to prisoner transfers within the secret prison network and to and from Guantanamo Bay, today submitted a series of formal information requests for data on a total 39 flights. Reprieve's investigations indicate that the flights passed through Portuguese airports between 2003 and 2006 – including Porto, Santa Maria, Ponta Delgada, and Lisbon. The flights were organized by CIA front company Stevens Express or renditions contractor Computer Sciences Corporation - both of which are on record as having organized multiple rendition missions.
Earlier this year Portugal's Commission on Access to Administrative Documents (CADA) issued a decision which stated that the National Institute for Civil Institution (INAC) should respond to an information request submitted by Access Info Europe and disclose data which they hold on CIA flights.
Eurovegas: Lack of transparency leading to new financial fiascos in Spanish construction sector warns Access Info Europe
Madrid, 6 September 2012 – Transparency specialists Access Info Europe today denounced the tight secrecy surrounding the major casino construction project, Eurovegas, following today’s media reports that it will be built in Alcorcón, on the outskirts of Madrid.
Expressing concern at reports that the company behind the project, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, has made it conditional on a “confidentiality clause”, Access Info Europe is calling on the Madrid regional government to come clean with the information it holds about the real cost of this project to the tax payer and the potentially negative environmental and social impacts.
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