Important Breakthrough for Freedom of Information
Following a legal petition by a number of NIF grantees (the Movement for Freedom of Information, the Citizen’s Empowerment Center, the Public Knowledge Workshop, and the Social Guard), government ministries are now obliged to publish quarterly reports concerning their expenses. Now, for example, anyone can find out how much each ministry paid for parking or Internet connection, and which ministry paid the most to private suppliers.
The first round of reporting shows that more than 70% of government ministries have published the required information, which is freely available online. The ministries who are yet to publish the information include the Prime Minister’s Office, the Strategic Affairs Ministry, and the Education Ministry’s Torah Education Department.
Each of the grantees intends to keep pushing until every government ministry publishes the information in full. In the meantime, the Public Knowledge Workshop has launched a new website which measures how the various authorities are keeping to their transparency commitments. This includes 11 criterion such as the percentage of expenses reported or whether the figures are released on time. All the details can be found on the site.