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Exploring the role of digital civil society portals in improving Right to Information regimes

Over the past two decades, advances in information and communication technology (ICT) have transformed the way people access and interact with the information that governments produce and hold. The development of online platforms, which enable users to submit requests for information under right to information legislation (RTI), is one of many examples of these changes. This paper presents an analytic framework to explore how RTI online portals impact RTI regimes, while reviewing the experience of five civil society portals in developing and developed countries. We argue that these civil society-led portals have affected in a positive way these RTI regimes. However, further research about the influence of these platforms (and the whole RTI regime) in transparency and accountability is needed.

11 February 2018
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Main points

  • Civil society RTI portals can positively influence the way public RTI oversight institutions function
  • The portals enabled a new type of civil society actor to emerge. Donors could consider supporting these types of projects to encourage the further development of this new type of organisation
  • Supporting dialogue between NGOs and government in developing official portals can ensure that citizen-oriented logic is maintained in official RTI portals

Cite this publication

Fumega, S.; Scrollini, F.; (2018) Exploring the role of digital civil society portals in improving Right to Information regimes. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Issue 2018:1)

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About the authors

Silvana Fumega

Silvana Fumega is the Research and Policy Lead of the Latin American Initiative for Open Data (ILDA). She holds a PhD (University of Tasmania, Australia). She has focused her work on Open Government Data and Freedom of Information policies. She also holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) and a degree in Political Science from the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina). She participated in the Research Programme Chevening Hansard (United Kingdom). She has served as a consultant for several international organisations, governments and civil society groups.

Fabrizio Scrollini

Fabrizio Scrollini is the executive coordinator of the Latin American Initiative for Open Data (ILDA), and member of the Open Data Network for Development (OD4D). He is also the Chairman of DATA Uruguay, a civic association based in Uruguay that builds civic technology to promote human development, co-founder of Abrelatam and the Open Data Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, and is one of the Lead Stewards of the International Charter of Open Data. Fabrizio worked with governments, regulators and civil society at international and regional level on transparency, access to public information, open data projects and public sector reform. Fabrizio holds a PhD in Government from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


right to information, civil society, Chile, Germany, Uruguay, Spain, New Zealand