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United States: Arizona Supreme Court Holds Metadata Can Be Subject to Public Records Requests

(Nov. 17, 2009) The Supreme Court of Arizona has held that metadata – “information describing the history, tracking, or management of an electronic document” – can be subject to disclosure under the state's public records laws. A police officer filing an employment discrimination complaint made a public records request under the Arizona public records law […]

Indonesia: Proposed Secrecy Law Controversial

(Sept. 16, 2009) Indonesia's government and House of Representatives have agreed on a state secrecy bill that includes the death penalty for those convicted of revealing state secrets. The punishments in the working draft range from a minimum of four years of imprisonment and a fine for possession of secret information to a maximum of […]

United Nations; Venezuela: Alarm over Purported Draft Media Law

(Aug. 18, 2009) On August 10, 2009, Frank La Rue, who has served since August 2008 as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, expressed concern about a proposed Venezuelan media law that “could be used as a tool for political intimidation” through […]

European Union: Proposed Amendments to Right of Information Law

(June 1, 2009) The law on the right of information or, in European Union (EU) terminology, public access to documents produced by EU institutions, is in the process of being amended. On March 11, 2009, the European Parliament introduced several amendments to the law – Regulation (EC) 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the […]

Chile: Law on Transparency

(Apr. 29, 2009) On April 20, 2009, the Law on Access to Public Information, also known as the Law on Transparency, became effective (Law No. 20285, DIARIO OFICIAL (Aug. 20, 2008), available at; see also Global Legal Information Network online database, GLIN ID No. 213690, available at The Law provides for free access […]

Chile: Law on Transparency and Access to Public Information Adopted

(Dec. 12, 2008) Chile's new Law on the Transparency of Public Functions and Access to Information on Public Administration establishes that all information prepared using taxpayer money and all other information held by government agencies, whatever its format, date of creation, origin, classification, or processing, is in the public domain. Exceptions based on the need […]

Bangladesh: Right to Information Ordinance Approved

(Oct. 10, 2008) On September 20, 2008, the Council of Advisors to the current government of Bangladesh approved the Right to Information Ordinance 2008, to require government agencies and other covered organizations to provide Bangladeshi citizens with access to information upon request. The proposal was put forward by the Ministry of Information to increase transparency […]

China: Open Government Regulations Take Effect

(July 2, 2008) China's new Regulations on Open Government Information took effect on May 1, 2008; they were issued by the State Council a year earlier, on April 5, 2007. As the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) points out, adoption of such provisions is not entirely new, as “over 30 provincial and city-level governments […]

Cook Islands: Introduction of Freedom of Information Legislation

(Mar. 2, 2008) The Cook Islands has become the first Pacific Island country to enact Freedom of Information legislation. The Cook Islands Official Information Act will come into force on February 11, 2009, one year after its enactment. In the Pacific region, Australia and New Zealand have freedom of information laws and Papua New Guinea's […]

United States: Freedom of Information Act Strengthened

(Jan. 2, 2008) New legislation was enacted December 31 designed to strengthen the effectiveness of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The new law broadens the definition of "news media" entities that are entitled to waiver of fees for FOIA requests to include non-traditional news sources. It liberalizes the standard for recovery of attorney fees […]