Between Foi Law and Foi Culture: The Israeli Experience
OPEN GOVERNMENT JOURNAL: A JOURNAL ON FREEDOM OF INFORMATION, Steve Woods, ed., John Moores University, Liverpool
30 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2005
The Israeli Parliament adopted Israel's Freedom of Information Law on the 19th of May 1998. The ratification of the law was accompanied by festive declarations regarding a transparency revolution and promises for a new era in the relations between citizens and government. Seven years later, this article attempts to examine to what extent the Law has met these expectations. Through an analysis of the Israeli Law, we endeavor to answer a broader question: To what extent does a Freedom of Information Law indeed assure freedom of information and government transparency?
It is argued that an examination of the volume of applications and the way they are treated by the persons in charge in the authorities testify to a very partial implementation of the law. The article examines the role of the government, the public, the media and the courts in the course of the process of implementing the FOI law in Israel, and offers conclusions and suggestions as to necessary elements to be added to the Israeli Law and to be included in future FOI Laws, in order to assure the legislation generates the cultural change required to create true Freedom of Information.
Keywords: Freedom of Information, Israel, Media, Courts
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