Ireland: Campaign to block FOI fee increases successful, but unacceptable €15 up-front fee remains
Madrid/Halifax, 15 November 2013 - Intense campaigning by Irish and international civil society organisations has resulted in an important policy reversal by the Irish government. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, has withdrawn, for now at least, an amendment to the Freedom of Information Bill 2013 which threatened to charge multiple up-front fees for requests deemed to include more than one question.
Welcoming the withdrawal of the proposed amendment to expand the charging regime, Access Info Europe and Centre for Law and Democracy today wrote to Minister Howlin urging him to go further and abolish the existing €15 per request, stating that this fee clearly violates international standards.
Fees for FOI Requests Breach European Rules on Access to Information
Madrid/Dublin, 12 November 2013 - The specialist freedom of information NGO Access Info Europe today expressed serious concern at attempts to maintain and even increase fees for FOI requests in Ireland and noted this is not permitted by European and international standards.
Access Info Europe noted that the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents expressly prohibits charges for requests. The Convention clearly states that a fee may only be charged to the applicant "for a copy of the official document, which should be reasonable and not exceed the actual costs of reproduction and delivery of the document" in other words, only photocopying and postage charges are permitted.
Recommendations for Transparency of Media Ownership presented to Council of Europe
Belgrade/Madrid, 7 November 2013 - Access Info Europe and the Open Society Media Program today launched Ten Recommendations for Transparency of Media Ownership in a presentation to the 47 governments of the Council of Europe meeting in Belgrade, Serbia.
Presenting the recommendations, Mark Thompson of the Open Society Media Program called for the Council of Europe to take a lead in creating a regulatory framework for ensuring that citizens can know who really owns the media.
OGP countries need to take the Right to Information seriously
Halifax/Madrid, 1 November 2013 - Global right to information organisations Access Info Europe (AIE) and the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) today called on Open Government Partnership (OGP) Participating Countries to make serious commitments to strengthen their right to information laws in the next round of action plans, due to be presented in April 2014.