Information about your government: it’s your right to know

Information about your government: it’s your right to know

In the fight against corruption, information is a powerful weapon. And when it’s not freely accessible, the corrupt can get away with hiding evidence of their crimes. That’s why it is vital that governments around the world put robust laws in place to enable citizens to get the information they need to hold their leaders to account.

Last week Paraguay became the 100th country to adopt an access to information law – a landmark achievement in civil society’s ongoing campaign for more open government worldwide. In 1994, only 15 nations had such legislation in place.

But there are still too many countries where a culture of secrecy pervades. That’s why today, on International Right to Know Day, we are championing the right of access to information for all.

It is an important part of Transparency International’s work to first, advocate for strong access to information laws globally and second, ensure they’re properly implemented so that citizens can exercise their right to know safely and effectively.

Here is an overview of what we are doing around the world to highlight the importance for access to information:

Pushing for transparency in the Middle East and North Africa

In 2013 we launched a report and online documentary It belongs to you: Public information in the Middle East and North Africa examining the situation in Egypt, Morocco, Palestine and Yemen. The research revealed that Yemen is one of the few countries in the region that has had a strong access to information law, but implementation is lacking.

This Right to Know Day, we’re calling on Egyptian authorities to take action and issue an access to information law in line with the country’s commitments in the United Nation Convention on Anti-Corruption. For more on this, read here or head to our Arabic Facebook page.

Maldives’ long road ahead

Following five years of campaigning by our partners Transparency Maldives, the nation became the 99th country to adopt an access to information law in January this year. But there’s still much to be done to ensure the law is implemented effectively and the principle of freedom of information is firmly established there. Read more here.

Guatemalan community takes action

In a small town in Guatemala, residents grew frustrated that the money the local mayor pledged to fix schools and fund school meals wasn’t bearing results. Petitioning the authorities, the residents were eventually granted access to the documents and discovered cheques had been paid out to non-existent projects. With the help of our anti-corruption legal advice centre, the community took action and the mayor was charged. Read more here.

Unmask the corrupt

Secret firms – or shell companies – are a clear example of how a lack of information can help corruption thrive. Usually established in a tax haven, these companies enable the corrupt to hide their ill-gotten wealth without ever having to disclose its source.

That’s why Transparency International is now working to Unmask the Corrupt by demanding public registries of company ownership, and in turn stopping shadowy politicians and businesspeople from enjoying luxury lifestyles funded by stolen public money.

To show your support for citizens’ right to know where the money comes from, join our campaign here.

For any press enquiries please contact


Support Transparency International

Who doesn’t know the Cayman Islands is a great place to hide money? The Cayman Islands

In May, the Cayman Islands government quietly released a report that just about acknowledges the country's deficiencies at thwarting money laundering.

Your ideas welcome: help us set higher standards in state-owned companies

We need your help to draw up principles for fighting corruption in state-owned enterprises. Please share your ideas!

Brazil: Open data just made investigating corruption easier

All of the official documentation of from Brazil’s biggest corruption scandal – Operation Car Wash or Lava Jato – is now available to search easily online.

Unexplained Wealth Orders: How to catch the corrupt and corrupt money in the UK

UK parliament passed an important provision that introduces a powerful new weapon into the anti-corruption arsenal: Unexplained Wealth Orders.

Land rights in Georgia: the stench of corruption

This is the story of how Transparency International’s Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre in Georgia helped a group of villagers win a legal battle against local authorities who had stolen their land.

How corruption affects climate change

Corruption and climate change are closely intertwined.

The secret is out: US$2.7 billion of São Paulo property linked to offshore companies

Our investigation into the real estate market in São Paulo shows how easy it is to hide more than US$2.7 billion worth of property behind shell companies.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media

Would you like to know more?

Sign up to stay informed about corruption news and our work around the world