Letter welcoming President Obama’s Initiative on Transparency

“Open Letter by Members of Global Openness Community welcoming President Obama’s Initiative on Transparency”

The undersigned organizations, which work around the world to promote the right of access to information, welcome the steps taken by President Barack Obama on his first day in office to reverse recent trends and to promote high standards of openness in government. We particularly welcome the call for a clear presumption in favor of disclosure of information, so that “in the face of doubt, openness prevails”. We also welcome the inclusion, within this presumption, of an affirmative obligation on public bodies to disclose information rapidly and in forms that the public can readily find and use. Proactive disclosure is recognized internationally as an essential element of the right of access to information, along with the right to request and receive information.

President Obama has demonstrated global leadership on this issue, signaling the fundamental importance of open government in a democracy. We call on governments around the world to take similar action to promote transparency and respect for the right of access to information.

We also urge President Obama to ensure that his executive orders are given full effect, in accordance with their language and purpose. Ensuring strong implementation of these standards will set a high benchmark to inspire governments around the world.

Yours sincerely,

Access Info Europe, Helen Darbishire, Executive Director (Spain)
Access to Information Programme, Gergana Jouleva, Executive Director (Bulgaria)
Ad IDEM/Canadian Media Lawyers Association, Paul Schabas, President (Canada)
American Civil Liberties Union, Caroline Fredrickson, Washington Legislative Office, Director (USA)
Arab Freedom of Information Network, Said Essoulami, Executive Director
ARTICLE 19, Toby Mendel, Senior Legal Counsel
Asociación por los Derechos Civiles, Roberto Saba, Executive Director (Argentina)
Association for Freedom of Thoughts and Expression, Mohamed Omran (Egypt)
Bank Information Center, Chad Dobson, Executive Director (USA)
BilgiEdinmeHakki.Org, Dr. Yaman Akdeniz, Director (Turkey)
Campaign for Freedom of Information, Maurice Frankel, Director (UK)
Carter Center, Laura Neuman, Associate Director and Access to Information Project Manager (USA)
Center for Development and Democratization of Institutions, Ilir Aliaj, Executive Director (Albania)
Center for Independent Journalism, Ioana Avadani, Executive Director (Romania)
Center for Promotion of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, Vasile Spinei, President (Moldova)
Center of Access to Public Information, Edison Lanza, Director (Uruguay)
Centre for Media Freedom Middle East and North Africa, Said Essoulami, Executive Director
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Reshmi Mitra, Project Officer, Access to Information Programme, (India)
DELNA – Transparency International Latvia, Inese Voika, President (Latvia)
Due Process of Law Foundation, Eduardo Bertoni, Executive Director
Electronic Privacy Information Center, Marc Rotenberg, Executive Director (USA)
Foundation Open Society Institute, Dance Danilovska, Project Coordinator (Macedonia)
Freedom Forum, Santosh Sigdel, Executive Director (Nepal)
Freedom of Information Center of Armenia, Shushan Doydoyan, President (Armenia)
Freedom of Information Coalition, Edetaen Ojo, Coordinator (Nigeria)
Freedom of Information Coalition, Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai, Executive Director (Sierra Leone)
Fund for an Open Society, Miodrag Milosavljevic, Project Coordinator (Serbia)
Fundacion Pro Acceso, Moisés Sánchez, Executive Director (Chile)
Fundar, Miguel Pulido Jiménez, Coordinator (México)
GYLA, Tamar Gurchiani, Project Coordinator (Georgia)
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, Balázs Dénes, Executive Director (Hungary)
Information Commissioner of Republic of Slovenia, Natasa Pirc, Information Commissioner (Slovenia)
Institute for Information Freedom Development in Russia, Ivan Pavlov, Lawyer and Chairman (Russia)
Instituto Prensa y Sociedad, Andrés Mejía (Colombia)
Instituto Prensa y Sociedad, Javier Casas (Peru)
Jamaicans for Justice, Carolyn Gomes, Executive Director (Jamaica)
Media Institute of Southern Africa, Sampa Kangwa-Wilkie, Program Specialist (Southern African Region)
Media Rights Agenda, Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director (Nigeria)
Movement for Freedom of Information in Israel, Roy Peled, Executive Director (Israel)
National Freedom of Information Coalition, Charles Davis, Executive Director (USA)
National Security Archive, Tom Blanton, Director (USA)
New York State Committee on Open Government, Robert J. Freeman, Executive Director (USA)
Open Society Institute, Aryeh Neier, President (USA)
Poder Ciudadano – Transparency International, Laura Alonso, Executive Director (Argentina)
Pro Media, Klime Babunski (Macedonia)
PROETICA – Transparency International, Cecilia Blondet, Executive Director (Peru)
PROVIDUS, Linda Austere, Policy Researcher (Latvia)
Public Citizen, Adina Rosenbaum, Attorney (USA)
Right to Know Coalition of Nova Scotia, Darce Fardy, President (Canada)
Society for Democratic Initiatives, Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai, Executive Director (Sierra Leone)
Statewatch, Tony Bunyan, Director
Sunshine Week, Debra Gersh Hernandez, Coordinator (USA)
Sustentia, Carlos Cordero, Executive Director (Spain)
The Canadian Association of Professional Access and Privacy Administrators, Sharon Polsky, National Chair (Canada)
Transparency International – Secretariat, Andrea Figari, Global Programmes Manager (Germany)
Transparency International Anti-corruption Center, Amalia Kostanyan, Chairwoman (Armenia)
Transparency International Bosnia and Herzegovina, Aleksandra Martinovic, Member of the Board of Directors (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Transparency International Croatia, Zorislav Antun Petrović, President (Croatia)
Transparency International Israel, Galia Sagi, CEO (Israel)
Transparency International Russia, Marina Savintseva, Programme Co-ordinator (Russia)
Transparency International Slovakia, Emilia Beblava, President (Slovakia)
Transparency Serbia, Program Director, Nemanja Nenadic, (Serbia)
Wobbing Europe, Brigitte Alfter, Editor (Europe)
Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Sarah Maliqi, Executive Director (Kosovo)

Francesca Fanucci, International Human Rights Lawyer
John Edwards, FOI Advocate (New Zealand)
Natalia Torres, MSc Public Policy (Argentina)
Ricardo Corcuera, Legal Advisor in Human Rights (Perú)
Richard Calland, Programme Director: Economic Governance, Idasa (South Africa)
Roger Vleugels, Lecturer and Legal Advisor FOIA (The Netherlands)
Susanne Tam, Ethics Consultant, (Israel)
Walter Keim (Norway)