Author: The World Bank Group (stephanie E. Trapnell)
Date Published: 12:29:39 PM Friday, 24-January-2020
Right to information (RTI) laws establish the right of citizens to access information about the functioning of their governments. The adoption of laws establishing the right to information (also referred to as access to information or freedom of information) has been extremely active in the past two decades. The number of countries that have passed RTI legislation has risen dramatically in the last two decades, from approximately 13 to over 95, including many countries in Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America, and most recently, Africa and the Middle East. Effective RTI legislation is an essential tool, empowering citizens to access information on public policy choices and decision-making processes, to understand entitlements regarding basic services, and to monitor government expenditures and performance, providing opportunities for more direct social accountability. Because a well-crafted RTI law provides citizens with the right to access government records without demonstrating any legal interest or standing, it can require a significant shift in the way state-society relationships are organized from need-to-know to right-to-know.