Brazil-US to lead global FOI efforts

On of the unreported (in the US) deals struck by Pres. Obama during his trip to Brazil was an agreement with the Rousseff government to promote more freedom of information laws around the world.

Brazil Agrees to Co-Chair International FOI Effort

A planning meeting scheduled for May 6-7 in Washington has been delayed, in part to get good participation from representatives from North Africa and the Middle East, where FOI laws are a rarity.

Brazil’s willingness to help lead the effort was finalized when Obama traveled to Brazil March and was reported in the Brazilian media. Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff recently stated her support for a FOI bill, and work on the stalled bill in the legislature was resumed to meet a May 3 deadline she set.

Many thanks to FreedomInfo for keeping on top of this. Lord knows none of the U.S. journalism groups are.

If nothing else, the willingness of the Obama and Rousseff governments to promote FOI laws indicates there is at least one key area where journalists from the States and Brazil should also be working together.

Even though the focus of the journalists in each country is — rightfully — more on their own domestic law, there is no reason why journalists from Brazil, the United States, Canada, Mexico, etc. cannot offer examples of how each country’s FOI laws were passed and implemented. It just takes some imagination and a willingness to look beyond national borders.

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