David Banisar

is Director of the FOI Project of Privacy International and a vsiting research fellow at the Department of Law, University of Leeds.


In the past ten years, there has been a global movement towards freedom of information at national levels, largely as the result of campaigning by civil rights activists and organizations. The fall of the Iron Curtain led to a rush of laws, starting with Hungary and the Ukraine in 1992 and ending with Serbia in 2004; much progress is still to be made in Asia, central Asia, and Africa. The US FOIA has been the most influential model for most countries, allowing any individual or organization to demand information from public bodies without having to show a legal interest. Now international organizations, which are increasingly taking over the roles of governments, must subject themselves to the same standards they demand of others.

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