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Right to information

Photo: Michelle Ding /

Access to information gives you the right by law to access facts and data concerning the exercise of any public authority, as well as on the use of any public funds. It often occurs through Right to Information laws (ROI). With Right to Information laws, you will be legally allowed to obtain any and all information and documents from the government or other relevant organisations.

How does right to information affect you?

Right to information is not only a human right, but an essential tool that empowers you to demand accountability from governments, participate in public life and to fight corruption through knowledge. Right to information provides essential facts that benefit your life in a number of ways from human rights to environmental justice.

For example, when human rights violations or major corruption cases occur, you can find out more about the wrongdoings, trigger investigations and eventually prosecute the corrupt because of information gained with the help of ROI. If you want to measure your governments’ CO2 emissions and track its progress toward climate goals, you can do so because of ROI.

In general, it is more difficult to hide abuses of power and other illegal activities when citizens like you can access key facts and data from governments.

Right now, around 120 countries have Right to Information Acts, but the acts vary in strength.

What needs to be done?

Many existing Right to Information laws do not meet international standards, and are not properly implemented and publicized. Even strong laws can be ineffective if the officials providing information are undertrained, too few or supporting a culture of secrecy.

Governments and parliaments should draft and pass Right to Information laws that comply with international standards. Governments, civil society and journalists should proactively inform people about access to information laws and encourage their use.

What we're doing

While laws are incredibly important in improving people’s access to information in countries around the world, they’re only part of a bigger picture of right to information.


We are actively engaged in mobilizing for strong Right to Information laws on international and national levels.

Our International advocacy: The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is, currently, the most important international forum for Right to Information. We are working with the OGP to ensure that it includes ambitious reforms to improve governments’ capacity to prevent, detect, and sanction corruption in the OGP’s national action plans.

We are also actively engaged at the United Nations Convention against Corruption’s Conference of State Parties (CoSP), our world’s most comprehensive international convention against corruption, to ensure the right to information is respected and protected concerning corruption-related information.

Our national advocacy: Our 100+ national chapters around the world are constantly pushing for Right to Information laws adoption, improvement of already existing laws and for proper implementation of laws.

We have also worked extensively to advocate for more Right to Information laws in the Asia Pacific region and MENA Right to Information laws.

"A well-functioning Right to Information system is critical for exposing and deterring abuses of power, and for supporting the fight against corruption."
Delia Ferreira Rubio Chair of Transparency International


Our national chapters frequently train public officials, non-governmental organisations (NGO) and journalists about how to use ROI to access documents and information.

Whether assisting with requesting information, reacting to a refusal by authorities to appeal refusals in court, our Advocacy and Legal Advise Centres in about 60 countries help ensure you are armed with the information you need to better understand your government’s actions and make a difference in tackling corruption.


Most of our 100+ national chapters monitor national ROI laws and how well they are function. As part of our monitoring work, we prepare reports on ROI like the one on 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region or following the Arab Spring in the Middle East and North Africa region.


When governments do not respect right to information and fail to reply to information requests, our Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres advise and occasionally litigate on behalf of citizens, journalists, organisations. Our ALACs also pursue their own investigations that can lead to holding wrongdoers accountable and remedies for victims.

Awareness raising

Each law is only as good as the extent to which people use it, therefore we raise awareness of citizens of their right of access to information.

Right to information has for years been identified as a key area of work for Transparency International chapters in the Asia Pacific region. Chapters have played and continue to play a crucial role in advocating for right to information laws that are in line with international standards, fully applied in practice, and used by citizens to hold government accountable.

This regional report serves as a reference document, providing a broad overview of why right to information matters, where it stands in a range of countries in the region and what our key recommendations are. This is Transparency International’s first report for the Asia Pacific region on right to information.

Right to Information in Asia Pacific: How 11 Countries Perform on SDG 16.10

Right to information: a tool for people power

News •

Globally, approximately 120 countries have right to information laws. In some countries, these laws are top notch, but in others, the laws either don’t exist or need significant…


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Corruption Perceptions Index 2018

Publication •

The 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index, published by Transparency International, measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories. Drawing…


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