CLD and Access Info Europe have unveiled the results of our RTI Rating Project – a comprehensive comparative analysis of the legal frameworks for the right to information (RTI) in each of the 93 countries where such a system exists. These results are the culmination of over two years of work by CLD and Access Info, and can be accessed on our project website.
The central idea behind the RTI Rating is to provide RTI advocates, reformers, legislators and others with a reliable tool for assessing the overall strength of the legal framework in their country for RTI. The Rating also indicates the strengths and weaknesses of the legal framework in seven different categories, namely: Right of Access, Scope, Requesting Procedures, Exceptions and Refusals, Appeals, Sanctions and Protections, and Promotional Measures.
The first step in the RTI Rating was to develop the indicators around which the whole Rating methodology revolves. There are a total of 61 Indicators, each with a range of possible scores which in most cases is 0-2, for a possible total of 150 points, a higher score being better. The Indicators are drawn from a wide range of international standards on the right to information, as well as comparative study of numerous right to information laws from around the world. An Advisory Council of renowned experts on the right to information provided detailed advice to CLD and AIE on the development of the Indicators.
UPDATE: Thanks to the work of Wijayananda Jayaweera, the RTI Indicators have now been translated into Sinhala: Sinhala Indicators
UPDATE: The RTI Indicators have now been translated into Spanish: Spanish Indicators
The next step was to develop a standardised scoring tool based on the Indicators, to ensure that the points under each Indicator were allocated consistently across different countries. This was piloted in a number of countries and then adjusted to take into account different legal systems and approaches in different laws, as well as considerations of weight and importance.
The scoring tool was then applied to each of the 89 countries with right to information laws around the world by researchers at CLD and AIE. To check these assessments, and to be sure to take the wider legal context into account, local legal experts were asked to review and comment on the original assessments, and these comments were then integrated into the scoring.
We believe that the RTI Rating assessments give an accurate picture of the state of the right to information around the world. While this is not a perfectly scientific exercise – so that strong conclusions cannot be drawn from minor differences in score – it does give a good indication of the strength of national legal frameworks for the right to information.