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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

Moving Toward A 21st Century Right-To-Know Agenda

In case you missed this report when it was released last month (as an MS Word document), you might want to check it out now (in PDF):

Many library organizations and individual librarians signed on to this document, which mentions FDLP specifically and recommends that “The president should direct agencies to insure that their government information products are included in the FDLP and thus public access assured.”

It also notes that “Currently, private companies enter into non-competed agreements with agencies – often Memoranda of Understanding that are not public – and create subscription/charge-based access to public records that they have digitized at ‘no cost’ to the government.” It recommends that “The next administration should create incentives to convert government documents to no-fee, electronic, publicly available documents.”

The Transition: Moving Toward a 21st Century Right-To-Know Agenda

Sean Moulton, the Director of Federal Information Policy at OMB Watch, announced a new collaboratively written government transparency report:

Moving Toward a 21st Century Right-To-Know Agenda: Recommendations to President-Elect Obama and Congress

You can sign on here and download the report at either of these two links.

Survey of the Current Legal Landscape of Federal Right-to-Know Laws

Following up on Daniel’s post this week (Using FOIA in book writing), here is a rather comprehensive review of the state information access: FOIA and beyond. The article is from a symposium on “Harnessing The Power Of Information For The Next Generation Of Environmental Law.”

In practice … this net of government-information statutes provides what is at best a piecemeal and not entirely satisfactory pathway to needed environmental information and is at worst the illusion of a right of access where none exists.

International Right to know week!

This is International Right to Know Week, “dedicated to the promotion of freedom of information worldwide. The goal is to raise citizens’ awareness level about their right of access to information under the control of government institutions.”

Around the world, September 28th is celebrated as International Right to Know Day. This began in Sofia, Bulgaria at an international meeting of access to information advocates who proposed that September 28th be dedicated to the promotion of freedom of information worldwide. FOIA Advocates has a nice map displaying as well as what’s happening in each country to celebrate this week. How about submitting a FOIA request in honor of the week?