Worldwide overview of freedom of information laws

By EDRi · February 15, 2006

Roger Vleugels, an independent Netherlands-based legal consultant, published
on 1 February, with the help of the Freedom of Information Advocates
network, a very comprehensive overview of the situation of of freedom of
information laws all over the world.

The document offers a complete image of the adoption of FOI laws in the
world and is structured into 5 lists of countries.

A first list (A) covers the 68 countries where FOI laws has been approved or
adopted and provides the formal adoption dates, the dates for entering into
force as well as the name of the law. The countries are listed in
chronological order of adoption, in alphabetical order as well as grouped on

List B is a list of countries where FOI law is either not yet in power or is
pending and list C is a list of countries where nothing has been done in
this direction.

The last list (Z) is a list with countries where the author considers FOI
laws is applied only in name. In the EU there are three countries still
lacking formal access to information legislation: Cyprus, Luxemburg and
Malta. Besides, the situation in some mini states is unclear: Andorra,
Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican.

The latest news regarding the application of of access to information in
Europe stems from Germany, where a federal FOI law
(Informations-freiheitsgesetz [IFG]) came into force on 1 January 2006
(previously there were in power FOI laws in 4 out of 16 German regions
(Bundesländer)) and in Macedonia where a brand new FOI law will come into
power June 2006.

Mr. Vleugels expressed his intention of updating the lists once or twice a
year and welcomes any comments and corrections.

Overview of FOIA Countries Worldwide (1.02.2006)
‘The Fringe’- monthly e-mail newslettter from the Dutch legal advisor FOI
Roger Vleugels.
For subscription send mail to
(subscriptions to The Fringe are free, but voluntary contributions are very welcome (24 euro per year for individuals).

EDRI-gram : Freedom of information in Germany and the UK (29.05.2005)

EDRI-gram : Freedom of Information Act in Macedonia (19.01.2006)