A comparative study on access to information in 14 countries finds that transitional democracies outperformed established ones in providing information about government activities. Bulgaria, Romania, Armenia, Mexico, and Peru did better in answering citizens' requests for information than France and Spain.
The book, Transparency and Silence, published today by the Open Society Justice Initiative and available online at www.justiceinitiative.org, documents how various countries did—or did not—honor the right of access to information.
In analyzing over 1,900 requests for information filed in 14 countries, Transparency & Silence finds that countries with access to information laws performed better than those with no law or with administrative provisions instead of a law.
"Access to information laws have been key tools of democratic reform in Eastern Europe," said James A. Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative. "This week's official endorsement of EU membership for Bulgaria and Romania—two countries that performed well in our survey, despite being among the world's most closed societies until 1989—underscores the importance of transparency in consolidating the rule of law."