Global Right to Information Rating published

The long awaited Right to Information, RTI, rating is now published. Australia is positioned in the middle, while pillar systems of FOI/RTI, such as Sweden, Norway and Iceland, are on the lower third of the rating. Have a look at Peter Timmins excellent summary in his Open and Shut blog.

I’m on the international advisory panel for the rating and have pointed out before and will do so again that the rating instrument is incomplete until a practical information access component/measure has been incorporated into the methodology. This was always the intention, but funding such a global study will be costly and it was decided to start with an assessment of the laws.

As a legal comparative study the RTI rating is the most ambitious FOI/RTI assessment tool thus far. But the current rating is incomplete in that it favours new laws over old ones. In terms of practical access the current rating puts Serbia at the top and the ‘template systems’ of the US and Sweden in the middle and on the lower half respectively. We know from earlier studies (Lidberg FOI Index, 2009) that practical information access is a problem in newer FOI systems and that old laws at times deliver far better practical access than the new ones. This data needs to be captured and worked into the RTI rating.

It will be very interesting to correlate the Australian RTI rating with the data I capture on the practical information access when I assess all Australian FOI systems starting next year – 2012.