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ARTICLE 19 highlights FOI developments around the world on International Right to Know Day

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - The following is an abridged version of a 28 September 2007 ARTICLE 19 press release:

International Right to Know Day:
A Whistle-stop Tour of Right to Know Developments across the Globe in 2007

The right to information is essential in the information age. In the past ten years, there has been a steady growth in the number of countries which have adopted Freedom of Information (FOI) laws to give citizens, journalists and organisations the right to demand information from them. To date, 75 countries have now adopted Freedom of Information (FOI) laws and over 80 countries have also guaranteed the right to information in their constitution.

The past year has seen considerable developments around the world. New laws were approved in Honduras, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Nicaragua and most recently the Cayman Islands. China adopted national regulations which follow the function of FOI. Norway adopted a new, even more open law while the US is poised to make the first major improvements to their law in a decade. Amendments to weaken FOI laws were rejected in the UK and Bulgaria. Dozens more countries around the world including Chile, Ghana, Malta, Nigeria, and Tanzania also considered bills. In Mexico, the Constitution was amended in 2007 to expand the right of information to the states.

There have also been important developments in the international realm. One of the most important in the last year was the ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in Claude Reyes v. Chile, that freedom of information is a basic human right implicit in the right to freedom of expression. This will have a profound effect on countries in the region and sets an important precedent for the rest of the world. FOI is now recognised as an important tool to promote democracy and fight corruption by the United Nations, Council of Europe, Organisation of American States, League of Arab States and the African Union.

The Privacy International Global Survey of FOI laws (In English, Russian and Arabic) and Global Map of FOI is available at

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To read the full statement, see:

ARTICLE 19 is an independent human rights organisation that works globally to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. It takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees free speech.

Privacy International was formed in 1990 as a privacy, human rights and civil liberties watchdog. PI is based in London, UK and has organised campaigns and initiatives in more than fifty countries. The PI Freedom of Information Project has been active in promoting access to information laws globally since 1999. It produces the annual Global FOIA Survey and has assisted campaigns and conducted legal analyses of access to information laws and practices in dozens of countries.

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