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Exploring the Liberal Genealogy and the Changing Praxis of the Right of Access to Information

Towards an Egalitarian Realisation

Richard Calland

Part of the popular attraction of transparent governance and freedom of information is that it has the potential to reconfigure venerable information asymmetries between state and citizen. Is this an expression of the liberal genealogy of the idea? Based on four foundational considerations, this article argues that the 'new' practice of the right of access to information (ATI) suggests that the idea can escape its liberal heritage to serve egalitarian socio-economic outcomes. The first explores the genealogy of ATI as a right, examining its 'liberal' roots. The second considers the idea that liberal rights are, per se, non-progressive or anti-egalitarian. Accordingly, the third examines the nature of the right. The fourth considers the praxis and the emerging empirical picture to see if it supports ATI's embryonic 'theory of change', which casts ATI as a 'power right', which in practice, and subject to certain conditions, enables ATI to adopt an egalitarian disposition.

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Ways of Knowing

Freedom of Information, Access to Persons and 'Flexible' Bureaucracy in Scotland

Gemma John

The Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 provides access to information held by public bodies in Scotland. This article explores the way in which it also had the capacity to provide access to persons working for these public bodies. It was through engaging with these persons that citizens could obtain access to information under the new law. Nevertheless, the technicalities of the law had the effect of depersonalizing the actions of those working for the public bodies it covered, such that they were no longer visible as 'persons'. This article argues that the proponents of the law prioritized impersonal legal procedure over the personal exchanges that the law facilitated, thereby ultimately undermining their own objective of transparent government.

Open access

A Conversation with Phevos Simeonidis (Disinfaux Collective), 21 July 2021

Maria Nerina Boursinou, Pierre Monforte, and Phevos Simeonidis

Greece, about freedom of information. The question is whether people in Greece have actually the right to file a Freedom of Information request. Again, it is very murky. When it comes to the information, we solely rely on either what whistleblowers would

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Migrating Landscapes

Nicholas Ferguson

migrants arriving in London by air, I had established the following. That it is not publicly known how many have fallen over London. A freedom of information request to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in 2015 confirmed six in the UK between 2004 and 2014

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Private Politics in the Garden of England

An Atypical Case of Anti–Wind Farm Contention

Matthew Ogilvie

typical actions, KWAG focused its state-oriented gaze at the national level. Here, the group made use of freedom of information law to ascertain why the Secretary of State had overridden MBC’s insistence on an EIA. During a lengthy letter-writing exchange

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Delegitimization as a National Security Threat

Israel and BDS

Ronnie Olesker

. The government's introduction of an amendment to the Freedom of Information Law 5758-1998, exempting the MSA's counter-delegitimization activity, further highlighted this shift in policy. In the explanatory notes supporting the exemption, the ministry

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Appointing Arab Judges to the Courts in Israel, 1948–1969

Guy Lurie

of the Parliamentary Investigative Committee of the 17th Knesset on the subject of hiring Arab civil service employees (1 December 2008). 4 Letter of the Freedom of Information Officer of the Judiciary to the author (19 May 2014). 5 Also

Open access

“Where Is the New Constitution?”

Public Protest and Community-Building in Post–Economic Collapse Iceland

Timothy Heffernan

legislated as well as using placards to endorse and display aspects of the new constitution. For example, signs bearing messages such as “Freedom of Information is the Public's Right” (Upplýsingarétt Almennings) and “Transparent Society” (Gegnsætt Samfélag

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Administrative guidelines as a source of immigration law?

Ethnographic perspectives on law at work and in the making

Larissa Vetters

introduction of freedom of information legislation (1999 in Berlin, 2006 on the federal level), however, citizens could demand publication. The AA began publishing its visa guidelines following the judicial order to comply with requests for information made

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Oceanic Travels

Future Voyages for Moving Deep and Wide within the “New Mobilities Paradigm”

Kimberley Peters and Rachael Squire

freedom of information, but like drone warfare 16 and other “hard to access” mobilities, their exploration remains vital. 17 Conditions of Surveillance While military vessels present this quantitative anomaly in ocean ship data, a new condition of