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Monday, November 05, 2007

Open government a risky business in Russia

Just to keep our own FOI problems in perspective......

In "The Defender of a Lesser-Known Guarantee in Russia" the New York Times last week told a story of Ivan Pavlov of the Institute for Information Freedom Development, who is trying to hold the Government to a constitutional right to non secret information.

Pavlov was bashed and hospitalised recently, apparently as a result of this work which includes trying to convince government agencies that information in their possession - manufacturing and sanitary standards, court records, licenses, fire codes, public tenders, administrative decrees, agency phone directories - should be publicly available. It's hardly revolutionary, but still a battle there.

Pavlov says that the main problem in Russia (apart from getting bashed for his trouble), in the 'new era' after the end of Soviet policies of secrecy is that information is withheld by government insiders who want to sell it, not give it away for free.

Thanks to Charles Davis of FOIA blog for the lead.

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