OGIS Officially Joins the International Access Community

big globeOGIS is excited to report that it was recently welcomed as one of the first accredited official members of the International Conference of Information Commissioners (ICIC). The ICIC connects Information Commissioners, Ombudsmen and other bodies charged with overseeing the implementation of Access to Public Information legislation around the world. The ICIC’s values of Respect and Integrity, Collaboration, Inclusiveness, Transparency and Accountability closely align with OGIS’s values of Transparency, Collaboration, Effectiveness and Learning, as well as the values of the National Archives and Records Administration – Collaborate, Innovate and Learn. OGIS joins a growing list of members united by a respect for the importance of access to information as a bedrock of modern democratic society, including Argentina’s Agencia de Acceso a la Información Pública, Germany’s Berliner Beauftragte für Datenschutz und Informationsfreiheit, Spain’s Consejo de Transparencia y Buen Gobierno, Brazil’s Controladoria-Geral da União, Kenya’s Commission on Administrative Justice, Mexico’s Instituto Coahuilense de Acceso a la Información Pública and Instituto de Transparencia y Acceso a la Información Pública del Estado de México, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, Offices of the Information and Privacy Commissioners of Alberta, Canada and Nova Scotia, Canada, Cayman Islands’ Ombudsman, Pakistan’s Punjab Information Commission, Sierra Leone’s Right to Access Information Commission, and the United Kingdom’s Scottish Information Commissioner. A complete list of members can be found here. The ICIC has existed as an organization for over 16 years, holding its first conference in Berlin, Germany in April 2003. At the end of that first conference, the participants entered into a declaration of cooperation:

Participation in the knowledge of public entities is a legal right of the information society. Without discrimination any person must be allowed access to the documents of public agencies. The transparent public administration open to citizen participation in its decisions is a prerequisite of a modern democratic society. The information commissioners and ombudsmen who secure freedom of information in their home countries are obliged to preserve and respect these basic principles.

At the 11th ICIC held in Johannesburg, South Africa in March 2019, the participants resolved to establish the ICIC as a permanent network to connect members in order to foster the protection and promotion of access to public information as a fundamental pillar to social, economic and democratic governance, and established formal membership eligibility criteria. OGIS looks forward to its future participation in the ICIC and interaction with its international membership.