(Fwd) India and Freedom of Information

  • To: s-asia-it at apnic dot net
  • Subject: (Fwd) India and Freedom of Information
  • From: Azad RMS <rmsazad at yahoo dot com>
  • Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2000 03:48:38 -0800 (PST)
  • Sender: owner-s-asia-it@lists.apnic.net
    • 
      ------- Forwarded message follows -------
      From:      	Ilana Cravitz <ILANA@article19.org>
      To:            	India Interest <asia at article19 dot org>
      Subject:        India and Freedom of Information
      Date sent:      Tue, 12 Dec 2000 17:42:26 -0000
      
      
      ARTICLE 19 today sent the following letter to Indian
      MPs. It  makes
      recommendations for bringing the Freedom of
      Information Bill into line
      with international standards. 
      
      Members of the Standing Committee on Home Affairs 
      New Delhi 
      India 
      
      12 December 2000 
      
      Dear Committee Member 
      
      ARTICLE 19, The Global Campaign for Free Expression,
      is an international human rights
      organization based in London with expertise in freedom
      of expression,
      including freedom of information. We are writing to
      you to provide our
      comments on the Indian Freedom of Information Bill,
      2000, which is
      currently before Parliament. For your interest, we
      enclose our Memorandum
      on the Indian Freedom of Information Bill, 2000, which
      provides a detailed
      look at how the Bill could be improved to protect and
      promote effectively
      the public's right to know in India. 
      
      I am also sending you our most important publication
      in the area of freedom of information, The Public's
      Right to Know: Principles on Freedom of Information
      Legislation, which
      sets out principles based on international and
      comparative best practice.
      You can find other publications on this issue on our
      website,
      www.article19.org <http://www.article19.org/>. 
      
      ARTICLE 19 believes that the Indian Freedom of
      Information Bill is positive in many areas but at
      the same time we are concerned that it fails to meet
      international
      standards in a number of areas. Its ability to
      effectively guarantee the
      public's right to know is particularly affected by
      flaws in two crucial
      areas, as follows: 
      
      *	The Bill fails to provide for an independent review
      of refusals to disclose information, either by an
      independent
      administrative body or by the courts. This means that
      decisions on whether
      or not to release information rest entirely within
      government. 
      *	A blanket exclusion of key intelligence and security
      organisations and an
      excessively broad regime of exemptions significantly
      undermine the
      potential for the Bill to promote the public's right
      to know. The lack of
      a public interest override for these exclusions and
      exemptions further
      undermines the Bill. 
      
      We hope that you will use your influence in the
      Standing Committee on Home Affairs to ensure that the
      Bill is amended to meet the highest international
      standards. 
      
      Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any
      questions on our submission or related matters.
      
      Yours sincerely, 
      Toby Mendel 
      Head of Law Programme 
      
      ARTICLE 19's analysis of the FoI Bill is at
      www.article19.org/docimages/883.htm 
      
      Our Principles on Freedom of Information are at
      www.article19.org/docimages/512.htm
      
      
      Reply to:
      
      Ilana Cravitz, Communications Officer
      ilana at article19 dot org
      
      Direct line: +44 20 7239 1199
      
      ARTICLE 19, Global Campaign for Free Expression
      Lancaster House, 33 Islington High Street, London N1
      9LH, UK
      
      Tel: +44 20 7278 9292, Fax: +44 20 7713 1356, e-mail:
      info at article19 dot org, www.article19.org
      
      
      
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