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FOI reveals scientist paid by fossil fuel industry to debunk climate change

FOI reveals scientist paid by fossil fuel industry to debunk climate change

Link(s): http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/campaigns/global-warming-and-energy/polluterwatch/koch-industries/CASE-STUDY-Dr-Willie-Soon-a-Career-Fueled-by-Big-Oil-and-Coal/

Use of FOI: Documents obtained by Greenpeace , the environmental group, under the US Freedom of Information Act are being used to show that a scientist who claims that variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent global warming received substantial funding from corporate interests. “The documents show that Dr.

[Wei-Hock] Soon, in correspondence with his corporate funders, described many of his scientific papers as “deliverables” that he completed in exchange for their money,” according to a report in The New York Times. More media story links and the documents are on the website of the Greenpeace ally Climate Investigations Center.

Challenge: To address issue of independence of climate scientist to the fossil fuel industry

Impact/ Change on the ground: Green peace is using this revelation as part of their Climate investigations center to monitor the individuals, corporations, trade associations, political organizations and front groups who work to delay the implementation of sound energy and environmental policies that are necessary in the face of ongoing climate crisis. The Smithosian is now undergoing an investigation into these allegations http://newsdesk.si.edu/releases/smithsonian-statement-dr-wei-hock-willie-soon

Contact person    info@wdc.greenpeace.org     

Steering Committee Election Results 2014

The election for the Steering Committee has now ended. Thank you to all those who voted, and those who stood as candidates.

I am happy to inform you of the final results:

FOIAnet Steering Committee Members (The person with the most votes becomes the Chair)
Toby Mendel: 29 votes
Carole Excell: 28 votes
Toby McIntosh: 27 votes
Taranath Dahal: 27 votes
Ádám Földes: 25 votes
Gilbert Sendugwa: 24 votes
Alexander Kashumov: 23 votes
Ginger McCall: 17 votes

The 7 candidates with the most votes will now form the FOIAnet Steering Committee. As the person with the most votes, Toby Mendel becomes the Chair, for a second term.

I am contacting candidates to follow up with the next steps.

Election Candidates 2014

This year the FOIAnet will be electing a new Steering Committee!

The current candidates up for election are:

Taranath Dahal – Freedom Forum

Carole Excell – World Resources Institute

Ádám Földes – Transparency International

Alexander Kashumov – Access to Information Programme

Ginger McCall – Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) Open Government Project

Toby McIntosh – FreedomInfo.org

Toby Mendel – Centre for Law and Democracy

Gilbert Sendugwa – Africa Freedom of Information Centre

Click and find out more about their biography and their plans for the FOIAnet if elected!

Taranath Dahal
Taranath Dahal is one of the prominent journalists and civic activists of Nepal. He has been in professional journalism and activism of Nepal for the past 24 years. Mr. Dahal having academic background of law has established his good name as a Right to Information (RTI) activist and pioneer. He had spearheaded the RTI movement in Nepal since he was the general secretary of Federation of Nepali Journalist (FNJ).
He has been in the frontline of RTI movement in Nepal which has the history of more than one-and-half decades. He was a member of RTI draft committee formed for the first time and served the government taskforce of RTI Bill for two times.
He has authored several books, research papers, working papers and write-ups on access to information and compiled and edited several journals on RTI and freedom of expression. Besides, he has delivered various training and lectures as key note speakers on RTI in and outside the country. Top of that, he himself is an avid practitioner of RTI who has established milestone-setting success stories in the regime of information request and receipt in Nepal.
Currently Mr. Dahal is the chairperson of Freedom Forum-a leading civil society organization working for the promotion of RTI and freedom of expression in Nepal. The Forum has accomplished substantial works on RTI ranging from public campaigns for the enforcement of RTI Act to spreading public awareness, from rendering analysis and recommendations of law to promoting information culture, building capacity of demand side and supply side and mainstreaming RTI works in Nepal.
In addition, he is the chairperson of Citizens’ Campaign for Right to Information (CCRI)-a network of CSOs working for RTI in Nepal. It is active in policy reform, capacity building and networking for effective implementation of RTI.
Besides, he has abundant working experience in the areas of media freedom and law and good governance focused on reactive and proactive disclosure of information and data openness.
Plans for FOIAnet
If I were to be elected a member of the Steering Committee my foremost focus would be to contribute to strengthen global regime of the Right to Information (RTI) through Asian representation. As there was no representation of practitioner and activist of RTI in the FOIAnet steering committee from the Asian countries, my nomination justifies the need of making the global organization representative.
I would place priority to establish the linkage and coordination of the network to the RTI communities in Asia/South Asia thereby contributing to its promotion and expansion. Similarly, I would put my efforts to provide inputs, exchange and disseminate its learning and knowledge and contribute to develop the network an accessible hub and lead organization for RTI knowledge.
Likewise, I would devise my coordinated efforts to increase membership of the network from Asian/South Asian countries and work to increase space for the CSOs from this region. Finally, I would lay emphasis on further improving the image and performance of the FOIAnet based on my longstanding experience and involvement in the organizational development through Freedom Forum and Citizen’s Campaign for Right to Information of late.

To list of candidates

Carole Excell
Carole Excell is a freedom of information and environmental governance expert with more than 12 years of professional development experience. She has worked in the Caribbean, Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia, on promoting the right of access to information, public participation and environmental justice rights.
Carole Excell is currently a Project Director in the Institutions and Governance Program (IGP) at the World Resources Institute (WRI) with The Access Initiative. In this role has conducted research on barriers to using FOI laws as well as implementation challenges in Africa and Asia.
Carole currently works on systems to promote proactive transparency of environmental information that is sector based – information on air, water, forests and extractives. In her previous jobs she was the coordinator of the Freedom of Information Unit the Cayman Islands, where she created an information manager’s network, and developed appropriate IT systems and administrative regulations for implementation.
She prepared and delivered FOI training courses for all Information Managers; coordinated a review of the regulatory framework for access to information in the Cayman Islands, and developed a FOI User Guide to inform the public and media of the right to information and its importance.
She also worked in Jamaica where she coordinated the Carter Center’s two year Access to Information project in Jamaica, involving Government, civil society and the media, with responsibility for encouraging full and effective implementation and enforcement of Access to Information (ATI) in Jamaica. In this role she was responsible for providing advocacy support for civil society and media for the implementation of the law.
Plans for FOIAnet
1. Promote the expansion of the FOINET to support expansion of the network
2. Provide specific focus on developing young parts of the FOI regional network including the Caribbean Freedom of Information network which wishes to provide support for advocates in the Caribbean to pass and implement FOI laws.
3. Provide targeted support for the implementation of FOIAnet’s priorities including mechanisms to ensure that the advice and support provided through the network is catalogued and catergorised for future uses bringing examples of how this is done in other networks
4. Assist in working on development of protocols to protect RTI activists at risk as well as recognize their contribution to the movement over time.
5. Support fund raising activities to have an in person meeting of the network.
6. Raise the profile of FOINet through international processes including the OGP.

To list of candidates

Ádám Földes
Adam Foldes is a human rights and anti-corruption lawyer, active in the field of freedom of information since 2003 and has joined FOIANet in 2004. He has been conducting advocacy, trainings, researches, monitoring and litigation to promote this right on national and international levels.
Since September 2012 he has been working as advocacy advisor in the Conventions Unit of the International Secretariat of the global anti-corruption organisation Transparency International. His area of responsibility covers the application of international anti-corruption conventions for advocacy purposes. Prior, he worked for more than three years with Transparency International Hungary in various positions.
Adam also worked for Access Info Europe in 2008-2009 where he was involved in a great variety of international advocacy to promote the right of access to information among others at the Council of Europe, NATO and bilateral donors.
Between 2003 and 2008 Adam led the Freedom of Information and Personal Data Protection Program of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (Társaság a Szabadságjogokért). In this period he was among others responsible for the freedom of information strategic litigation of the organisation, which resulted in a significant expansion of the relevant domestic jurisprudence and was hallmarked by the Társaság a Szabadságjogokért v. Hungary judgement before the European Court of Human Rights.His most recent publication in this field is Classified Information: A review of current legislation across 15 countries & the EU.
Plans for FOIAnet
1. Promote FOIANet in the TransparencyInternational (TI) movement that is present in about 100 countries. It wouldinclude reaching out to TI national chapters that are members but are notactive and to recruit new national chapters that have notbeen part of FOIANet and both the network and the new members would benefitfrom their presence.
2. Promote the Right to Know Day within TI movementso that more national chapters of TI organise awareness raising actions on thisday.
3. Planning and supporting the coordinatorin writing a project/fundraising proposal on how to digest the knowledge accumulated in the FOIANet correspondence since 2002.
4. Continuing to engage in discussions onFOIANet and sharing relevant information learned from the anti-corruption movement.

To list of candidates

Alexander Kashumov
Alexander Kashumov is a freedom of information and freedom of expression expert with 17 years’ experience. He works for the Access to Information Programme (AIP), Bulgaria since 1997 and is Head of its Legal Team. The AIP Legal Team has advised more than 4.000 cases of journalists, citizens and NGOs and represented in courts around 400 FOI cases. As part of the AIP advocacy for better legislation he took part in working groups, parliamentary committees’ sessions and the preparation of more than 60 comments and submissions to different authorities. He has worked primarily in Bulgaria, but also participated in missions, delivered analyses, trainings, lectures, consultancy on access to information, freedom of expression, personal data protection in Albania, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Chile, Croatia, France, Georgia, Germany, Kosovo, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine etc.
He is a litigator before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (cf. Kasabova case), a member of the Advisory Council of the Global Right to Information Rating. Alexander Kashumov was recognized as an “Attorney of the Year” for 2008 by the Legal World magazine.
Author and co-author of five books on FoI litigation, reports, analyses and comparative analyses, studies, contributions, articles, manuals and handbooks on access to information, freedom of expression, personal data protection.
Plans for FOIAnet
1. To strengthen and support its role as a valuable forum for exchange of information, expertise, experience, cooperation and a tool for international campaigning.
2. To deepen the knowledge exchanged through FOIAnet by summarizing and structuring online in an easy and accessible manner the discussions on different topics and providing easy access to the documents exchanged through the Network in a kind of online Library (by developing the website).
3. Expand the FoI awareness raising and campaigning by activities such as the 2013 and 2014 Right to Know Day Event (live online forum discussion) initiated by Toby Mendel and Michael Karanicolas (which I had the pleasure to join this year).
4. Be more active in exchanging monitoring information and exercising pressure on regional policies affecting the right of access to information such as e.g. the transposition by different countries of the 2013 amendment in the EU Re-use of Public Sector Information Directive which affects access to information laws and policies in the EU and Europe as a whole.
5. To take part in important legal initiatives by providing information, expertize and/ or support, as amicus curiae interventions before international and regional forums in pending cases e.g. before the European Court of Human Rights, the Interamerican Court, the EU Court of Justice (as done for example by the initiative of the Media Defense Center in Marper case in Strasbourg).

To list of candidates

Ginger McCall
Bio and Plans for FOIAnet
Ginger McCall is Associate Director of EPIC and Director of EPIC’s Open Government Program and IPIOP Program. Ms. McCall also teaches a course on the Law of Open Government at Georgetown University Law Center and has been appointed to the FOIA Modernization Federal Advisory Committee. She works on a variety of issues at EPIC, including consumer protection, open government requests, amicus curiae briefs, and national security matters.
Ms. McCall oversees EPIC’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuits and was a co-editor of Litigation Under the Federal Government Laws 2010. Ms. McCall has been published in the New York Times and has co-authored several amicus curiae briefs on privacy issues to the Supreme Court of the United States.
She has been invited to speak on privacy and open government issues in a variety of academic and conference venues, including the EU’s MAPPING Project, the 2009 Computers, Freedom, and Privacy Conference, the Internet Governance Forum USA 2009 Conference, Duke Law School’s Center on Law, Ethics, and National Security, and the New England Consortium of State Labor Relations Agencies 11th Annual Conference.
Ms. McCall has also provided expert commentary for local, national, and international media, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News, NPR, MSNBC, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and Al Jazeera.
Ms. McCall is a graduate of Cornell Law School and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.A. in English Literature. While in law school, she interned at the American Civil Liberties Union in Pittsburgh and at EPIC. Ms. McCall was the president of the Cornell Law School National Lawyers Guild and was awarded Cornell’s Freeman Prize for Civil and Human Rights
Many of the activities described below for the Steering Committee are the activities that Ginger routinely pursues.
» A commitment to the Right to Information
» A commitment to spend at least a minimum amount of time on FOIAnet issues, including space in your in-box to look at and respond to periodical e-mails from the Coordinator and to attend (virtually) quarterly meetings
» Desire to promote the FOIAnet within your own communities
» Ideas to promote Right to Know Day and develop the FOIAnet
» An intention to continue working in this field
Ginger is aware of the very important work of the Freedom of Information Advocates Network. We also believe that the network would benefit from a well known and well regarded advocates from the USA. So, we hope you will consider her for the steering committee!

To list of candidates

Toby McIntosh
International transparency is my primary interest at editor of the website FreedomInfo.org. I’ve been writing and editing FreedomInfo.org since June of 2010, during which time I’ve greatly expanded the amount of content and seen readership grow eight-fold.
I contributed to FreedomInfo.org for about a decade previously, writing about transparency issues at international financial institutions. Encouraging more transparency to international organizations (IO) is a particular interest, recently embodied in a series of articles on eight IOs and dating back to 2003 when I got involved with Word Bank disclosure policy issues and helped found the Global Transparency Initiative. I’ve been involved in GTI advocacy work at all of the IFIs. This year, I won the first appeal to the independent review body under the World Bank disclosure policy.
I recently retired from Bloomberg BNA after (gasp) 39 years of reporting on Washington – Congress, regulatory agencies and the White House. I was named to the Journalism Hall of Fame by the Washington chapter of the national journalism group, Sigma Delta Chi. Covering FOI in the US. I’ve been an active FOI user and written about FOI policy. University of Florida gave be its Brechner Award in 1990 for an article about FOIA and electronic records. BNA published my non-best-selling 1990 book, “Federal Information in the Electronic Age,” that examined policy issues concerning access to government data.
Before joining BNA in 1975, I worked for three years at a local newspaper in Kansas. I majored in political science at Oberlin College (`71), where I was editor of the college paper. I’ve been fortunate to have two journalism fellowships: with the Reuters Foundation in Oxford (1998) and The National Endowment for the Humanities at the University of Michigan (1980).
Plans for FOIAnet
I am well acquainted with our network and its valuable work and support in its mission and activities. FreedomInfo.org relies greatly on the FOI Advocates Network for news and ideas. So I am very familiar with the valuable information exchanges that occur and the network’s other contributions.
A main goal is to help FOIANet build on its strengths. Particularly impressive are the many responses to requests for information about how other countries handle particular topics. I’d like to help encourage more exchanges, with more participants.
Harvesting and preserving the fruits of those exchanges better would be valuable. I’d like to see us focus on developing the best methods for gathering the shared information and making it useful and accessible. With our crowdsourcing among experts, we should be able to produce excellent resource materials.
FOIANet should be a key public source of both basic and sophisticated educational materials. Besides providing good written materials, FOIANet should explore doing online seminars and videos.
I’m also interested in building relationships with regional and national networks.

To list of candidates

Toby Mendel
Toby Mendel is the Executive Director of the Centre for Law and Democracy, a Canadian-based international human rights NGO founded in 2010 that provides legal and capacity building expertise regarding foundational rights for democracy, including the right to information, freedom of expression, the right to participate and the rights to assembly and association. Prior to that he was for over 12 years Senior Director for Law at ARTICLE 19, a human rights NGO focusing on freedom of expression and the right to information. Before joining ARTICLE 19, he worked as a senior human rights consultant with Oxfam Canada and as a human rights policy analyst at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
Toby has extensive experience working with a broad range of NGO, inter-governmental and governmental actors, mainly in the areas of the right to information and freedom of expression. These include the World Bank, the UN and other special rapporteurs on freedom of expression, UNESCO, the OSCE and the Council of Europe, as well as numerous NGOs and governments in countries all over the world. His work spans a range of areas, including legal reform and analysis, training, advocacy and capacity building. He has also published extensively on a range of right to information, freedom of expression, communication rights and refugee issues.
Among other honorary positions, Toby is the outgoing Chair of FOIAnet.
Plans for FOIAnet
The last four years, while I was Chair of FOIAnet, have seen important changes to the way the Network functions. It has started to move beyond its role primarily as a platform for the exchange of ideas and debates about right to information issues, and as a facilitator of the International Right to Know Day, to engage in more programmatic activities. This started with the 10-10-10 Statement that FOIAnet issued on 28 September 2012, its tenth anniversary, and continued with the Global Right to Information Update: An Analysis by Region and the panel hosted by FOIAnet at the last global OGP Summit, in London in October 2013.
Changing the direction of a large network like FOIANet takes time, planning and resources. To help address this, the Steering Committee met together in person, I believe for the first time since perhaps the very early days of the Network, in July 2014 in Madrid to plan and prioritise activities. We spent two days together focusing on how to develop and sustain FOIAnet, and came up with a wide range of possible programmatic activities, as well as some ideas about possible sources of funding.
If I were elected to the FOIAnet Steering Committee, I would focus on helping to continue the process of change that has started, and trying to build up the range of activities undertaken by and funding available to FOIAnet. Particular priorities would include providing central knowledge tools and other services (e.g. training) for members, engaging more in global processes that support the right to information such as the OGP and UNCAC, and working for global recognition of International Right to Know Day. I would also seek to increase membership from underrepresented regions of the world, including Africa and Asia.

To list of candidates

Gilbert Sendugwa
Gilbert’s background in development work in the field of human rights, environment and access to justice for indigent persons brought him face to face on the negative impact of lack of access to information on ordinary people.
Over the past four years Gilbert has championed the advancement of the right to information in Africa through building Africa Freedom of Information Centre as a vibrant network and access to information resource centre. Within AFIC, Gilbert has promoted the growth of membership and deepening of interaction and exchange among members. Membership has grown from a membership of eight active civil society organisations in February 2010 to 35 today. He has supported national campaigns for adoption and implementation of access to information laws through review of draft bills, advising on engagement strategies, monitoring campaigns and implementation and sometimes direct support in engaging governments. One of the key aspects of implementation has been developing tools and resources to support sectoral application of access to information in such areas as education, health, agriculture and public contracting.
As member of African civil society steering committee in Africa’s partnership with Europe, Working Group on African Platform on Access to Information, International Alliance on Natural Resources in Africa and Africa Freedom of Exchange among other fora, Gilbert has mainstreamed access to information in various discussions.
With a growing record, AFIC was in 2012 granted Observer Status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Plans for FOIAnet
Although Africa has the least number of countries with Freedom of Information laws, the continent has rich and varied experience that is vital for the advancement of the right to information around the world. In addition, having relatively new laws, we expect to learn from other experiences in ways that will improve knowledge and learning. In this regard my goals will be:
1. Promote engagement of AFIC’s members within Foinet
2. Create and build linkages between AFIC community and Foinet
3. Pull various experiences and case studies for sharing with the wider Foinet community
4. Explore ways of promoting twinning between AFIC members with FOInet members on specific campaigns
5. AFIC has a collaborative relationship with Alianza and from time to time organizes joint actions at international fora. I hope to share some of the lessons and experiences for possible scaling up within FOInet.

To list of candidates

Right to Know Day 2014


Organisations and activists from around the world will be celebrating International Right to Know Day 2014 on and around 28 September.

Many events will be taking place all over the world, such as book presentations, activist and citizen workshops, film screenings, radio programmes, conferences on local access to information laws, awards ceremonies and ombudsman events!!

What will you be doing? Fill in this Google Form and let us know! Your events will be displayed on this Events Map.

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