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International Conference of Information Commission

International Conference of Information Commissioners

More than 180 delegates from around the world will be gathering at a conference in Wellington from 26 – 29 November to discuss the opportunities and challenges today’s world presents for freedom of information.

Topics that may be of interest to the media include:

  • 25 years of New Zealand’s Official Information Act. New Zealand was one of only a handful of countries with freedom of information legislation in the 1980’s. How is it working in this country, what can others learn from us and where can we do better? The conference will provide an opportunity to discuss a major piece of government funded research on the operation of the OIA.
  • Early experience of freedom of information legislation in the UK. The UK Act has been in force for less than three years and has experienced something of a rollercoaster ride in that time, with damning government information being released and a failed attempt by MPs to have the section covering parliament revoked.
  • Moves to assist access to information in the Pacific Islands. No Pacific Island country has a freedom of information law yet although some are moving in this direction. It is hoped this conference will assist our Pacific neighbours with efforts to increase transparency, accountability and public participation in public affairs, since experience around the world indicates that rights to information help the poorest and improves the management of public services. The New Zealand government is funding twelve Pacific delegates to attend the conference.
  • Freedom of information globally – there’s still a long way to go. US academic Alasdair Roberts says no country yet has a smooth running freedom of information system. He examines the many challenges and threats to freedom of information including the difficulties of putting the law into practice, the massive growth of electronically stored information and the privatisation of government functions.

Organised by the Office of the Ombudsmen the conference will be held at Parliament and runs over four days from 26 to 29 November.

The programme for the conference can be found on www.icic2007.org.nz.

ENDS

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