access to info. law

Consultation on freedom of information policy in PNG, protests against mandatory vaccinations

Civil society has reported that a consultation on a freedom of information policy has been initiated by the government. There have been protests against a vaccination policy for workers being implemented by companies in Lae. Read more

Consultation on freedom of information policy in PNG, protests against mandatory vaccinations

Heavy-handed policing as hundreds arrested at Extinction Rebellion protests

There have been several concerning developments during this period. At the beginning of July 2021, the government introduced a new Elections Bill. However, concerns have been raised about the chilling effect this bill will have on charities campaigning. In other developments, several employees were arrested at the arts and architecture charity Antepavilion in Hackney, London. Two of the charity’s staff and one tenant were detained as part of a “proactive” raid intended to target Extinction Rebellion activists prior to a planned protest. Related to XR, the group launched a two-week series of protests in London, beginning on 23rd August 2021, ahead of COP26. By the fourth day of action, police arrests surpassed 200 with reports of heavy-handed policing. These policing tactics set a dangerous precedent, should the controversial Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing bill pass its second reading on 14th September, proposing to grant police even greater powers to crack down on protests and an increase in penalties for protesters. Related to freedom of expresssiona and privacy, Privacy International and 30 organisations have criticised the Home Office for “bypassing” Parliament on the use of facial recognition technology, calling for its immediate ban. The surveillance tool actively takes ‘faceprints’ of millions of people, often without them knowing. In addition, it was revealed that councils are conducting mass profiling and citizen scoring of welfare and social care recipients, via the use of hidden algorithms, to predict fraud, rent non-payments and major life events. Read more

Heavy-handed policing as hundreds arrested at Extinction Rebellion protests

Panama: Concern over resolution restricting access to public information

On 4th August 2021, the Ministry of the Presidency issued a resolution enabling the restriction of access to information on government activities. Read more

Panama: Concern over resolution restricting access to public information

Peru: polarised elections lead to protests and attacks on journalists

On 28th July 2021, Pedro Castillo of left-wing party Peru Libre was sworn in as president of Peru following six weeks of uncertainty around the country’s elections. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

Peru: polarised elections lead to protests and attacks on journalists

In jail for a joke: Stifling of independent voices continues

The muzzling of independent media is part of a broader trend of growing authoritarianism in Tajikistan with the authorities increasingly regarding journalists who ask probing questions, attempt to promote transparency and create space for public debate as a threat to their hold on power. Recently introduced measures providing for full state control over the country's independent television and radio stations threaten to exacerbate the situation for independent media even further. The increasing challenge of access to information, together with the suppression of freedom of expression in connection with reporting on COVID-19, has created a heightened climate of fear among journalists and health workers, making it very difficult to assess the true extent of the pandemic. Of continuing concern is the persecution of human rights lawyers. Added to this, the authorities also continued with the persecution and silencing of the opposition. Read more

In jail for a joke: Stifling of independent voices continues

The Gambia adopts Access to Information Law

On 1st July 2021, Gambia’s National Assembly adopted the Access to Information (ATI) Bill, which is currently waiting for the President’s assent. The ATI Bill in the Gambia was a result of close collaboration between civil society – organised through the CSO Coalition on ATI – and government departments. Read more

The Gambia adopts Access to Information Law

El Salvador: Step backward for transparency in proposal to reform Access to Public Information Law

On 7th July 2021, the Nayib Bukele government presented a bill which would make regressive reforms to El Salvador’s Access to Public Information Law (Ley de Acceso a la Información Pública), undermining government transparency. Read more  |  Read in Spanish

El Salvador: Step backward for transparency in proposal to reform Access to Public Information Law

Civil society alarmed by rise of lese majeste cases and proposed NGO law in Thailand

In recent months civil society have continued to raise concerns about charges against activists for lèse-majesté or insulting the monarchy including children, restrictions to freedom of expression online and attempts to restrict freedom of information. There are also concerns around a proposed NGO law which could be used to muzzle civil society and the use of excessive force during protests. A land rights activist was also killed. Read more

Civil society alarmed by rise of lese majeste cases and proposed NGO law in Thailand

Restrictions on press freedom in Uruguay

Uruguay’s legislators are considering a new media law which would impose setbacks for media pluralism, transparency and public participation. Read more

Restrictions on press freedom in Uruguay

Protests against construction of hydropower plants

Several protests were staged against the contruction of Hydro-power plants. For instance in June 2021, a few hundred people occupied the bridge on the Neretva River and protested against the construction of a mall hydropower plant at the river. The protest successfully stopped vehicles and machinery required for construction work. Several other protests were also staged on labour rights by police officers, transport and tourism workers. In another development, media workers have criticised the first draft of the Law on Freedom of Access to Information, which was published by the BiH Ministry of Justice in February 2021, stating that it makes access to information even more difficult for media workers. Read more

Protests against construction of hydropower plants