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Q30.

Are mechanisms for accessing information from the defence sector effective?

30a. Legal framework

Score

SCORE: 75/100

Assessor Explanation

Assessor Sources

30b. Classification of information

Score

SCORE: NS/100

Assessor Explanation

Assessor Sources

30c. Effectiveness

Score

SCORE: 25/100

Assessor Explanation

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The Law on the Right to Information, which applies also to the defence and security institutions, provides for the right of all persons to demand public information. The law provides for the types of information to be provided to the public upon request and obliges all the public entities and institutions to establish transparency programs that inform on the categories of information provided, on the points of contact for communication, deadlines for the provision of information (within ten working days), the means for the provision of such information [1]. If the reply may need more time to be processed for reasons such as large volume of documents to be reviewed or if consultations with other public authorities are needed then the applicant is informed on the extension of the deadline for the reply [1] There are no provisions in the legislation on how the public authorities that are subject to provision of information (including defence sector institutions) review the applications. However, the law provides for the limitations to the right to information in case the disclosure of information causes clear and serious harm to the following interests [1]:
­- national security, as defined by the legislation on classified information;
­- prevention, investigation and prosecution of criminal offences;
­- the conduct of an administrative investigation within a disciplinary proceeding;
­- the conduct of inspection and auditing procedures of public authorities;
­- formulating monetary and fiscal policies of the state;
­- the equality of parties in a judicial process and the conduct of a judicial process;
­- the consultations and prior discussion within or among public authorities on the development of public policies;
­- the maintenance of international or intergovernmental relations.
In case the requested information is found in classified documents right to information is not automatically rejected. Upon the receipt of the request, the public authority to which the request for information has been sent initiates a classification review procedure and provides the answer within 30 days. The public authority has the discretion to provide the entire information or part of it, including the arguments for the information that has not been provided as well as the grounds for the refusal [1].
The law on the right to information provides for the administrative complaints procedures through the Information and Data Protection Commissioner (IDPC), and the right to complain to the court system. For failure to comply with the provisions of the law, the administrative sanctions may apply [1]. Citizens may file a complaint to the IDPC which provides a ruling within 15 days. The IDPC oversees the implementation of the law and reports to the parliament annually [2].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The Law on the Right to Information provides also for access to classified information that should be in line with the provision of the law on classified information. The deadline for the response to the request is 30 days [1].
The law on classified information provides for the levels of classification (top secret, secret, confidential and restricted), the categories of information that is classified, the duration of the classification, the instances when classification is prohibited as well as the declassification procedures [2]. The law also provides for the establishment of the bibliography with the declassified information. Under the law, a regulation has been adopted by the government on declassification [3].
The Classified Information Security Directorate (DSIK) is responsible for organizing, running and controlling the measures for storing, classifying and managing classified information [4]. The DSIK drafts policies on the protection of classified information and controls their implementation oversees the rules of physical and electronic security of classified information, adopts procedures on classification and marking, adopts guidelines on classification and declassification and conducts training and professional education [4].

Following the Law on Public Information, the MoD and the armed forces (army, navy, air force, support command, and doctrine command) have established the transparency programs and coordinators who receive and process the requests sent by the public [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].
The transparency programs publish a register of the requests received and the replies provided during the year. The register includes the date of receipt, the subject of the request, the date of the reply and the resolution status [7]. During 2017, which marked the first year since the register has been published, the MoD provided information on 35 requests [8]. The majority of the requests listed in the register consist of information asked by citizens about administrative procedures for various MoD services, such as education, employment, retirement, etc.
No information was provided by the MoD to request for information when conducting this assessment with the motivation that the ‘MoD website includes all the information needed to answer the questions posed’ [9]. There is no track record of information declassified by the MoD for public information purposes.
Generally, the security institutions have been characterised by closeness and the domination of a culture of secrecy in the relations with the public [10, 11]. This culture persists even in the relations with oversight institutions. SSAI interviewee opinion was that there is a tendency to overuse the classification competence which often becomes an obstacle to auditing process as the number of auditors with security clearance is limited [12]. There is no evidence of provision of any redacted classified information in the MoD and SHISH registers of information provided public requests [13, 14].

There are no clear guidelines stipulating that the public can access information about the defence sector.

Algeria’s new constitution of 2016 includes an article (Art. 51) regarding the accessibility of information, which generally guarantees that citizens can obtain information, documents, statistics and circulate them. However, the article also imposes a limitation on the coverage of some subjects. For example, it says that the exercise of this right shall not (among others) affect the requirements of national security (1), (2). The Law of Information of 2012 had already restricted the right of access to information with regards to national security. According to Art. 84, the right of access to sources of information is generally granted to professional journalists but there are exceptions if the information concerns national defence secrecy (2), (3).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

No legal framework on how information is classified as secret was found. As outlined in 30A, the Law of Information of 2012 only ensures that data concerning national defence secrecy is protected (1). Furthermore, Art. 44 of the military statute only explicitly states that members of the military are prohibited from disseminating information that is harmful to national defence or the image of the armed forces (2). It also does not provide any guidelines.

Getting information on the security sector is challenging, according to an LSE report. Journalists have outlined the difficulties they face when trying to access official information with regards to the security realm. They have also reported that the security officials decide on what information they provide to the journalists, who in turn can hardly verify the information (1).

Algeria’s press freedom and the freedom to inform has been attacked by authorities since the presidential election in 2014, according to Reporter’s Without Borders. Their World Press Freedom Index ranked Algeria 136 out of 180 in 2018. In 2014, Algeria ranked 121 (2). The state, for example, has significant control over Algeria’s media regulatory bodies. In 2016, the Audiovisual Regulatory Authority (Autorité de Régulation de L’Audiovisual, ARAV) was established, which oversees the broadcast sector to ensure the ‘free exercise of the audiovisual activity according to the conditions defined by law’. The nomination of its nine members is mainly controlled by the president (1).

The 2002 law on access to administrative documents regulates access to non-classified documents. “Internal and external security” related documents, or information that could be perceived to threaten said security, are subject to classification,” (Art. 5) – but can be freely accessed once the classification is withdrawn or expires (1). The legal framework recognises broadly the right to access information (2).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The 2002 State Secrecy Law establishes a system of classification of information (1).

Despite relatively detailed laws that regulate access to administrative information and classification rules, defense sector related information is by and large restricted (1), (2).

Law 27.275 of 2016 establishes the right to access information in several sectors, including from the Ministry of Defence. The law, as well as other public documents provided by the government, explains the procedures for requesting documents and public information from several entities, and establishes an appeal system in case the request is denied. Reasons for denial of a request are broad, and can include “classified information” but the law does not specify what information qualifies as classified. Information on what is classified information in the defence sector is also not easily accessible. [1]

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI. Although the law establishes the principle of transparency and maximum disclosure, in its article 8 it establishes among the exceptions to that information classified as reserved for defence and foreign policy reasons. It clarifies that it should not provide necessary information to evaluate the definition of security, defence, and foreign policies. While the exceptions are explicitly defined, they can also be interpretated differently. For example, although the rule requires that documents that seek to be covered by the exception must explicitly contain such classification, there is no established criterion to determine when information can be considered as “reserved,” “confidential,” or “secret.” [1] Lima Rocha points out that the disadvantage of the Law of Access to Information in Argentina lies in the extensive list of exceptions, where there are at least 13 opportunities under which information can not be disclosed. Among them are information that is classified as reserved, confidential or secret for defence or foreign policy reasons, information that could endanger the operation of the financial or banking system, information protected by professional secrecy or may endanger life or the safety of a person, etc. [2]

Although the public can access the information, the mechanism presents flaws that are observed in the delay of the responses, missing information, judicialisation against the lack of response, and ambiguity regarding the exceptions provided by law, especially in relation to protection of personal data. On the official websites, both of the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Security, there is a specific tab that allows citizens to access information directly or through links to other more specific websites, as well as the option to request information through telephone or e-mail. The information must also comply with the maximum haste, with response in a maximum of 15 business days. In practice, incomplete responses or delays to the right of access to public information are evidenced, which has led to judicialisation, for example, by the Citizen Initiative for the Control of the Intelligence System (ICCSI), which presented an legal advocacy action for the Judiciary to order compliance from the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI). [1] The Agency publishes a survey of the percentages of the degree of compliance with the so-called active transparency. In the case of the Ministry of Defence they scored 100% on all axes and in the case of the Ministry of Security, they also scored 100%, with the exception of the internal audit which received a 50% rating. [2] As for the exceptions to the obligation to deliver information, Article 8 of the Law on Access to Public Information states that these include, for example: information expressly classified as reserved, confidential or secret, for reasons of defence or foreign policy; information that could jeopardise the proper functioning of the financial or banking system; industrial, commercial, financial, scientific, technical, or technological secrets whose disclosure could impair the level of competitiveness or injure the interests of the obligated subject; information that compromises the legitimate rights or interests of a third party, obtained confidentially; or information held by the Financial Information Unit on assets arising from illegal acts. [3] [4] [5] [6]

The Law on Freedom of Information ensures that the legal framework connected with the freedom of information defines the powers of persons possessing information, as well as the procedures, ways, and conditions to get information. According to Article 8, an information holder can refuse to provide information if it contains state, official, bank or trade secrets [1]. According to the Law on the State and Official Secrets, military sector is on the list of state and official secrets and the disclosure and spread of the information can have grave consequences for Armenian national security [2]. Though there is legislation for access to information, the legal framework does not provide with clauses for the public access to information for the defence sector. The regulations available on the MoD’s website refer to the same clauses of the Law on the State and Official Secrets [3].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI. According to Article 4 of the Law on the State and Official Secrets, the confidential information is classified as follows and has three levels:
a) “Of Special importance”,
b) “Top secret”,
c) “Confidential”.

The following state and service information of the military is categorized as secret (Article 9): armed forces, military-industrial complexes, special importance objects, units of armed forces and its allies based in the territory of Armenia, their number, location and organizational issues, as well as information about the security of civilian population in a martial law (in a state of war) [1].

The Law on Freedom of Information ensures public access to information except cases classified as state secret. According to the law:
“If the information required by the written inquiry is not publicized, then the copy of that information is given to the applicant within 5 days after the application is filed. If the information required by the written inquiry is publicized, then information on the means, place and time framework of that publication is given within 5 days after the application is filed. If additional work is needed to provide the information required, then the information is given to the applicant within 30 days after the application is filed, about which written notice is being provided within 5 days after the application submission, highlighting the reasons for the delay and the final deadline when the information will be provided” [1].
The MoD regulations for written and oral inquiries have strict timeline and procedures, which means that access to information is granted within a reasonable timeline. However, the regulations state that access to information can be denied if the request is considered state and service secret as defined by the law [2].

Legislation, such as the Criminal Code Act 1995 [1] and Privacy Act 1988 [2], which require the Australian government to safeguard information, as well the Freedom of Information Act 1982 [3] and Archives Act 1983 [4], which requires the government to release requested information to the public within certain limitations, and the Public Performance, Governance and Accountability Act 2014 [5], which requires that agencies make certain types of information publicly available; along with implementing guidelines such as the Defence Security Principles Framework [6] and Protective Security Policy Framework [7], clearly stipulate access to information for Defence. Information that is publicly accessible can take several routes. Some information is required to be disclosed, such as a report on financial performance in the Defence Annual Report [5, s. 17AF], and certain information subject to the Defence Information Publication Scheme [8]. Official (unclassified but sensitive) information may be published online and in statements, subject to the Defence Web Estate Manual and the Defence Communication Manual [6, p40-41]. Any information that is unclassified or could be considered unclassified by an external reviewer is subject to disclosure by request based on the Freedom of Information Act [3]. How classified information is categorised, which determines what information is and is not available, is outlined in the government-wide Protective Security Policy Framework [7], with some guidelines specific to Department of Defence (DoD) contained in the Defence Security Principles Framework [6]. There are clear guidelines for DoD when reviewing security classification, including altering the level of classification [6, p37-39]. As said above, the public can appeal classification decisions through the Freedom of Information Act. Freedom of Information Act decisions by Defence can be reviewed by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner [9], and decisions of the Commissioner can further be appealed at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal [10].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The Criminal Code Act 1995 [1] and Privacy Act 1988 [2] create the legislative basis for the Australian government system of classification. These Acts make it an offence for anyone to disclose information classified “secret” or “top secret” [1, s. 122.4A(1)]; for Commonwealth officers to disclose “inherently harmful” information [1, s. 122.1(1)]; and for sensitive private information to be disclosed [2, p6], among other restrictions [3]. The classification framework is expanded by the whole-of-government Protective Security Policy Framework [4] and the Defence-specific Defence Security Principles Framework.

Analysis by academics [1, 2], media reports [3, 4, 5], and a government-commissioned review by Dr. Allan Hawke [6] have repeatedly made the point that the content and implementation of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 1982 is insufficient in multiple ways to grant the reasonable access of information to the Australian public, and needs a comprehensive review and overhaul that has not been forthcoming. All of the above sources and conversations with interviewees who have attempted to use Freedom of Information processes to access information from Defence [7] indicate that: the rate of refusals is excessively high against the international standard; exemptions are overly broad; wait times are excessively long, with Defence allegedly making FOI requests go through appeals processes to slow them down until information is “stale”; lack of FOI staff/resources mean requests are sometimes automatically denied, and; costs associated with FOI requests are excessive.

At present, there is no special law in Azerbaijan that provides the mechanisms for accessing information from the defence sector. But in general, several laws, particularly the constitution, stress the importance of freedom of information. The main laws governing access to information from state agencies in Azerbaijan are as follows:
The Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan (1);
Law on Mass Media (2);
The Law on Freedom of Information (3);
The Law on Access to Information (4).
The laws restricting access to military information in Azerbaijan are as follows:
Law on State Secret (5);
Law on Military Situation (6);
Law on Defence (7);
Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan On National Security (8);
The law on Commercial Secrets (9);
Presidential Decree on “Some Security Measures on the Line of Contact of the Troops” (10);
The Law on Information, Informatization and Protection of Information (13).
The Law On State Secrets, clearly stipulates what kind of information is not accessible to the public, synchronization of essential information and data protection. There is a Law on Information, Informatization and Protection of Information, which gives some basic guidelines on how the public can get information. However, there is no clarity on whether and what extent it is applicable to the defence sector.
On August 29, 2014, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ramiz Mehdiyev, held a meeting of heads of structural divisions and media outlets, where they spoke about strengthening the control over media activities (10). A month later, President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on a number of security measures between the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia and the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The decree envisages preventing the dissemination of information on military-related frontier zones. The order toughened the rules for obtaining military information (11).
The aim was to prevent the spread of state secret information in the media and Internet media, including social networks. Then the Law on Military Situation and the Law on State Secrets was amended. The main goal here was to strengthen responsibility for the dissemination of information constituting state secrets.
This decree envisaged:
– Accreditation of journalists in the zone of frontier zone and visits to the frontline with the Ministry of Defence,
– Prevent dissemination of information that might damage the national security of the military sector;
– Increase the flexibility of the Press Service of the Defence Ministry;
– The Ministry of Defence should periodically monitor the information on the situation in the front line in the media and in the Internet information resources, including the social networking sites, and identify those who disseminate information that constitutes state secrets under the Law on State Secrets and make them legally accountable:
– Recommend to the Press Council to arrange propaganda and explanation of the media in order to prevent the dissemination of information, which damage to National Security, in the media and in the Internet media, including in social networks.
After this decree, access to military information in Azerbaijan became much more difficult (12).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The government is developing a system of classification of the information under a legal framework to ensure that information is protected, several laws deal with this. Since 1997, the president has controlled a commission called the “Interagency Commission on Protection of the State Secrets under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan” (1, 2). This applies to the defence sector. In 1998, Azerbaijan adopted a law “On data, data processing and data protection” (3). This law defines state policy on information systems, types, ways and forms of collecting, as well as use and protection of information. According to Article 10 of the law, data resources by categories of access may be open and limited. Chapter 5 of this law regulates issues related to the protection of data. Article 17 explains the purposes of data protection.

But according to expert, there is no clear mechanism for the classification of information in the military sector. The Defence Ministry and other military agencies can consider any information related to the military as “state secrets”. Journalists have serious problems because of this; for example, it is not possible to investigate problems like corruption in the army and soldiers’ deaths. The Defence Ministry claims they are military secrets (4). As such, defence and security sector officials have an opportunity to hide the problems in the defence sector due to the absence of concrete mechanisms for the classification of information about the defence sector.

On August 29, 2014, President Ramiz Mehdiyev, held a meeting of heads of structural divisions and media outlets, where they spoke about strengthening the control over media activities (1). A month later, President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree dealing with several security measures between the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia and the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The decree envisages preventing the dissemination of information on military-related frontier zones. The order toughened the rules for obtaining military information (2). Since those decisions, public access to information in the military sector has been restricted significantly. After the president’s decree, NGOs and the media can not research the sector (3). Media and NGOs are under pressure by the Ministry of Defence and the State Security Service (4).

There are no legal frameworks or legislation that allow sharing and publishing of information related to the defence sector. The informal law is that security and defence information is classified and confidential, and anyone who would share information could be punished by law [1, 2, 3]. Desk research by the assessor on the panel law of information and cyber crimes does not mention the security or military laws as a crime but punish publishing any information that threatens the country’s stability [4].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

As there is no legal framework for the classification of information, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) prohibits the publication of any information [1, 2, 3].

According to sources, it is almost impossible to have access to military and security information in Bahrain. Just by asking to have access to security or military information, a person would probably be persecuted (imprisoned/ harassed) and trial under the pretext of attempts to access classified information [1, 2, 3]. However, it should be noted that these practices are not often carried out, due to the self-censorship of journalists, researchers and CSOs activists.

Bangladesh does not have any legislation or implementing guidelines that clearly stipulate access to information for the defence sector [1,2].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Under Section 90(1) of the Bangladesh Secretariat Instructions 2014 [1], all government information is divided into four categories: a) information and records with permanent value, such as laws and state documents, b) information with a shelf life of 10 years or more, such as budget and commission reports, c) general information, such as transfers of officials who have served for 3-5 years and d) routine information that is not needed for more than 1 year and will not be classified. In order to protect information, the government also introduced the Bangladesh Information Security Manual (GoBISM) in 2016 [2].

There is not enough information available to score this indicator. Despite the absence of any legislation or implementing guidelines that clearly stipulate access to information for the defence sector, individuals could potentially request defence information. However, at present, demand for official information using the Right to Information Act (RTI) Act is very low [1] and requests for information on defence matters through official processes are insignificant.

The Law on Freedom of Information states that all citizens have the right to request access to state documents [1]. Article 6 refers to cases in which this request may be denied. Some of these exemptions may be relevant for the defence budget. The article also states that responses to citizens must be sent out within 30 days of their requests, which is a timely fashion. Article 8 states that, if the request is denied, the citizen can contact the ‘Commission for access to governing documents’, which is an independent body, to appeal this decision.

Secondly, the ‘Law on classification and security clearance, security attestations and security advices’ provides clear instructions (chapter 1) on which documents can be classified (Article 2), how classification levels are determined (article 4 and 5), and which bodies and individuals play which role (Articles 6-8) [2].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI. The constitution states that, in principle, all information should be publicly available. However, the ‘[law] on classification and security clearance, security attestations and security advices’ stipulates exceptions and provides clear instructions on which documents can be classified (Article 2); which classification levels exist (top secret, secret, confidential) and how they are determined (Article 4 and 5); which bodies and individuals play which role (Aricles 6-8); finally, which security clearance gives access to which classification level (Articles 9-11) [1].

Additional clarification on exceptions and non-classified yet restricted information may be found in the Law on Freedom of Information and the Royal Decree of 24 March 2000 [2, 3]. There is thus a clear legal framework to ensure adequate protection of information.

The Constitution states free access to information for all citizens [1]. Most of the information is publicly available in the archives of the websites of the governmental bodies concerned. The Law on Freedom of Information and the Law on classification and security clearances, security attestations and security advices outline exceptions, and the framework within these exceptions are classified [2, 3].

However, the Law on Freedom of Information also stipulates that all citizens have the right to request access to classified information. The steps to undertake are outlined in this law, on the website of the Ministry of Defence and on the website of the National Security Authority [4, 5]. Should access be denied, the citizen can appeal this decision. This first happens internally, during which advice is given by the Commission of the Freedom of Information, and, if necessary, externally at the Conseil d’Etat [6, 7]. Depending on the sensitivity of the information and whether the citizen appeals a decision, the process takes between a month and a year and a half.

There is legislation and implementing guidelines regulating access to information, also applicable to work of the Ministry of Defence [1]. There is the Guide for Applicants for the Implementation of the Law on Free Access to Information, but it lacks the element listed relating to – “how classified information is categorised” [2].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

There is a Law on the Protection of Classified Information clearly defining a legal framework for the protection of information and the levels of secrecy [1]. The government (MoD) operates a system of the classification of information under a clear legal framework to ensure that information is adequately protected [2].

Access to information related to the defence sector sometimes can be difficult to achieve because laws on free access to information (all three laws – one state law and two entity laws) designate defence and security interests as one of the protected exceptions based on which access to information can be refused, but only when a test of public interests is implemented [1]. In practice, access to sensitive information that is associated with protected exemptions is automatically refused without conducting the test of public interests and considering whether the exemption outweighs the general rule on access to information [2].

The right of access to information held by the State as provided for under section 12 (1) of the Constitution [1]. According to Balule and Dambe, “After half a century since the adoption of the Constitution, it is perhaps surprising that, given the importance of the right of access to information, and the difficulties faced by individuals in accessing State-held information, courts of law in the country have not yet been called upon to decide on the ambit of the right of access to information guaranteed in the Constitution”[2]. Despite this provision, it is difficult for the public to access information from the Defence Sector [2]. There is legislation, however, that there are no implementing guidelines to that effect. As noted already, there are no mechanisms on how the public can access defence information, except for what is available in the media. Classified and sensitive information is not accessible to the public. If one is aggrieved by the denial of such information, which is in defence custody, the aggrieved person may approach the courts for the constitutional right to have access and may be granted where there is justification.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI. The classification of information in Botswana is regulated in terms of the Intelligence and Security Services Act [Chap 23:02] [1]. This provides inter alia that “classified information” means information of such a sensitive nature and value that the unauthorised publication or disclosure thereof would lead to a security risk being posed to the State [2].

The public has access to general information and non-sensitive information which may not necessarily be classified. However, access to sensitive and classified information that is in the custody of the defence and security services is not availed to the general public at all costs [1]. As such, it can be concluded that mechanisms for accessing information from the defence sector are ineffective [2]. The people, who have no access to the internet, rely on the media for information, including print media.

The Freedom of Information Act (12.527/11) [1] in Brazil is quite strong in terms of defence information. Citizens can send information requests to any defence-related institution through the federal government portal e-sic. The portal offers a trustworthy system for sending the requests and making the appeals until the 4th instance of appeal. First, the request goes directly to the target institution. The second instance of appeal is to the head of the institution. The third instance is to the Comptroller General (CGU). The fourth instance of appeal is to the mixed commission for the reassessment of information the Comissão Mista de Reavaliação de Informações (CMRI). There is also a list of information that should be proactively available in the institutions’ websites, which includes information about general and specific regulation, the functioning of the institution, procurements, lists of classified and declassified documents, among others. Recently it has been made possible to hide the requester’s identity from the targeted institutions, in order to prevent harassment and the profiling of petitioners [2].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The Freedom of Information Act (12.527/2011) [1] establishes three classification tiers and sets the possible motives for classifying these documents. It also creates an obligation to reassess classifications every four years. It establishes the need for the creation of a classification term, where the responsible party should state the reasons for the classification – which are classified in the same tier as the document. The right to classify is given mostly for personnel in a position of leadership of institutions (head of autonomous foundations, ministries, etc.) – especially for the upper two tiers (secret and top-secret). Decree 7845/12 also establishes many procedures for the accreditation and treatment of clearance and classified information [2]. Documents cannot be restricted for longer than 50 years – which is the maximum of classification allowed (this is equal to one top-secret classification plus one classification renewal) [3].

If one takes the statistics of the Ministry of Defence, it is effective [1]. However, there is evidence of a considerable variation in compliance between the Ministry of Defence and the single forces [2]. Regarding classification, there is a lack of external control regarding possible over the classification, and the Council for National Archives is not able to sanction or investigative powers to check and punish irregularities on documental elimination [3].

Burkina Faso passed a new Access to Information bill in September 2015. Article 1 of the law gives the right to access public information and administrative documents (1). Article 6 of the law states, “access to public information and administrative documents is free subject to the exceptions provided for in sections 47 to 51 of this Act. Public information can be communicated by right to people who make the request under the conditions provided by this law” (1). Prohibited information according to Articles 47 and 48 is information related to information and documents concerning the defence of national security, state security, security or public order (1).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Under Article 4 of Law N° 051-2015 information is classified into two categories: Classified and declassified information (1). Access to classified information is prohibited while declassified information may be accessed based on the procedure stated in the law (1). However, what constitutes classified information is not defined in the law.

Under Article 6 of the law access to public information and administrative documents is free subject to the exceptions provided for in sections 47 to 51 of this act. Public information can be given out to people who make requests under the conditions provided by the law (1). Prohibited information according to Article 47 and 48 of the are information, among others, related to information and documents concerning the defence of national security, state security, security or public order (1).

According to the 2018 BTI Report, the government limits access to general government information, whereas, Article 1 of the law gives right to access public information and administrative documents (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6).

Cameroon has no specific law on freedom of information. The 1990 Law on Social Communication does confirm the “right to know”; however, the government does not make documents or statistics freely available to the public or the media in practice [1].

According to Freedom House (2016), “Several journalists were arrested or punished for their work under existing laws during 2015, with at least two facing allegations of collaborating with Boko Haram. Ahmed Abba, a Nigerian journalist for Radio France Internationale (RFI), was arrested in July in Maroua, located in the Far North Region. He was transferred to Yaoundé, where he was held for several months without charge or access to a lawyer, reportedly on suspicion of having links to Boko Haram, which he had covered in his work. He was granted access to his lawyer in October, and his trial opened in November. Freelance journalist Simon Ateba was temporarily detained in late August for entering the Minawao refugee camp in the Far North Province without official permission, and on suspicion of spying on behalf of Boko Haram. The camp houses roughly 50,000 Nigerian refugees who fled from Boko Haram” [1]. While these observations are not specifically related to requests for information from the defence sector, there is no evidence to suggest that there are legislation and implementation guidelines that clearly stipulate how the public can access defence information.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

In Cameroon, there are four types of information: the first is restricted information, which is made available to soldiers. The second is more confidential information which if not properly handled can be detrimental to defence. The third is information that may pose a threat to the defence architecture, and the last is information which may pose a threat to government institutions and defence [1].

According to the interviewees, some documents on the activities of the military, including its role in the fight against criminality and terrorism, are made available upon request from the Minister [1] [2]. However, information relating to national security and defence strategy is not made available to the public as it is considered a state secret (Article 35 of the 1996 Constitution) [3] [4].

There is a publicly available explanation of how information is classified. [1]
Legislation on access to information [2] and privacy [3] provides the policy basis by which citizens can petition for information about defence broadly, and any information about themselves specifically. Information about requests, adjudication, and appeal processes is published on the government website. [4] The office of the Information Commissioner of Canada is the independent body where complaints regarding Access to Information can be made; here the decisions regarding the provision of materials by departments can be reviewed independently. [2] [5]

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI. There is both a standard for determining how information is classified [1] and a manual explaining how such evaluations should take place, and what measures must be taken to protect each class of sensitive information. [2] Both are publicly available.

According to the DND ATIP Office’s 2019-2020 Report to Parliament there were a total of 2,985 requests made under the Access to Information Act, 1,691 of which were resolved during the reporting period and 1,294 of which were carried over to the next reporting period (2020-2021). [1] This accounts for 202,834 pages of documents processed and 87,393 pages disclosed through such requests, two thirds of which (66%) were completed within the legislated timelines laid out in the Access to Information Act. [1] Recommendations regarding the processing of access to information requests at DND were made by the Office of the Information Commissioner [2] There remains delays and critiques of the system, coming from the DND Ombudsman [3], as well as from commentators on Defence and the CAF, that the potential exists for delays and potential mismanagement of information. [4]

Comparative studies of the legal and institutional frameworks for accessing information indicate that the Chilean model is aligned with the best institutional practices and that it is considered an advance case in the access to public information in Latin America [1]. The mechanisms for accessing information in the defence sector are established by the Law of Access to Public Information [2]. It establishes procedures and mechanisms to access information from public agencies, including the Ministry of National Defence (MDN) and the institutions of the defence sector. Information can be requested electronically on the government’s transparency website or through a written request. The law specifies the causes of secrecy or reservation under which access to information can be denied totally or partially (Art. 21). Classified information is categorised when it affects the due compliance with the functions of the agency requested, the rights of individuals, the security of the nation, the national interest, and information declared reserved or secret by law. Specifically, the MDN publishes the index of acts and documents classified as secret or reserved, with a document signalling the legal and causal ground of secrecy or reservation for the respective requests of information. The public can appeal decisions of withholding reserved information to the Council for Transparency, an autonomous public body with its own legal status and assets, which is in charge of reviewing the access to information according to the regulations on transparency (Art. 24).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Public agencies have to maintain updated systems of acts and documents classified as secrets or restricted [1]. Concerning public access to information, the Council for Transparency ensures the adequate restriction of data and information, that according to the Constitution and the law are secret or restricted (Art. 33). This body also oversees the protection of private and personal data by the organs of the public administration, according to the normative of protection to the private life [2].

The system for assessing information seems to operate reasonably well, although there are restrictions in the access to information considered secret, which is broadly defined in various legal prescriptions. A statistical analysis based on the Transparency Web dataset reveals that a total of 14,126 information requests have been made to the MDN from 2016 to 2018, with an average of 1,140 requests per institution, the army with the highest number of requests, 3,302. In 83 per cent of the cases, the information requested was delivered. In the 11 per cent, information was denied. Except for the sub-secretary for defence, all the institutions had 70 per cent of higher rates of information delivered. The average time of response for requests was 13.5 business days, which is consistent with the 20 business days established by the law. The branch with the most delays is the air force, with an average time of 22.3 business days. However, there is no evidence that this raw data has been validated or cross-checked by the Council for Transparency. Moreover, according to the Index of Transparency in the Access to Information, which measures citizen and institutional components in the access to public information, there has been little improvement during the years. The 45 per cent of accomplishment in the 2017 index was the same obtained in the previous version in 2014 [1, 2].

There is no mechanism for accessing information from the defence sector. Existing Open Government Information regulations stipulate that access to military information falls under the Central Military Commission’s jurisdiction. [1,2]

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

China’s law on the Protection of State Secrets (中华人民共和国保守国家秘密法) stipulates that military secrets are regulated by the People’s Liberation Army Secrecy Regulations (中国人民解放军保密条例 ). The regulations are comprehensive, and give specific directions on the classification of information. However, the range of military affairs that are considered secret (Article 8) includes virtually every aspect of the PLA’s remit, from operations, to procurement and R&D. As such it is at the CCP’s and the PLA’s discretion to decide what information is classified and what can be made public.

As explained in 30A, there is no mechanism for accessing information from the defence sector. Existing Open Government Information regulations stipulate that access to military information falls under the Central Military Commission’s jurisdiction. [1,2] Thus, the public is not able to access information from the defence sector.

Law 1712 of 2014, “Transparency Act”, defines the guidelines governing the right of access to public information, procedures for the exercise and guarantee of the right, and exceptions to the advertising of information. It defines how the public can access information, its availability through different physical, remote or local means of communication, and appeals to the differential criterion of accessibility to specific populations. It also defines the type of information available, what is reserved, and presents a general list on mandatory minimums of information. It also identifies how information should be classified and categorised, forcing the creation of a documentary management programme within state entities and the creation and maintenance of the Classified and Reserved Information Index. Finally, it also defines the procedures and appellate bodies of decisions concerning access to information. [1] How decisions are subject to internal controls is unclear. The defence sector and its affiliated entities all comply with the regulations of the Law of Transparency, and publish the minimum documents required by the regulations. The sector has been working on improvements regarding the publication of official documentation. The success of this change is related to the promotion of pedagogical and preventive mechanisms and actions around transparency and integrity. [2] Despite these efforts, other sectors, such as civil society organisations, consider that industry entities do not publish much of the information, especially on operational issues or that on some occasions the information provided is incomplete or not up-to-date, making it difficult to access. Much of the information required to carry out research in academic institutions or social oversight on the performance of the Military Forces and Police is reserved, and therefore it is not possible to have up-to-date and truthful information. [3]

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI. Since the implementation of Law 1712 of 2014 and its Regulatory Decree 103 of 2015, which stipulates the guidelines on archiving public information by the General Archive of the Nation, the “Guide to the classification of information according to its security levels” was built in 2015. [1] The objective of this Document is to provide officials, contractors, and department heads with a tool that supports the organisation, classification, and evaluation of information in accordance with the provisions of the regulations. [2] In addition, a guide to public information management tools conducted by the Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies, the National Planning Department, the Administrative Department of the Civil Service, and the General Archive of the Nation has been proposed. This document includes four tools: (a) User, Citizen and Stakeholder Characterisation Guide; (b) Guide to public information management tools; (c) guidance on responding to requests for public information; and (d) ABC for the implementation of a document management programme. [3] The information classification document is published to the website of the Ministry of Defence and its affiliated entities in such a way that citizens have clarity on reserved and public documents.

According to the Public Entities Transparency Index (2015-2016), the visibility indicator, which refers to an institution’s ability to make its policies, procedures, and decisions public, in a sufficient, timely, clear, and appropriate manner, generally demonstrated that entities in Colombia diligently publish the information required by Law 1712 of 2014. In practice, however, there are some delays in the advertising of information in certain sectors. In the case of entities attached to the defence sector, the entity that obtained the highest rating in terms of visibility of the information was the National Police with a rating of 79.6 out of 100, followed by the National Navy with 78.8; The Military Forces Logistics Agency, 78.6; Ministry of Defence 73.3; Colombian Air Force 73.3; National Army 72.9; and finally General Command with a 70.7. [1]

Law No. 2013-867 of December 23, 2013, (Relatif à l’accès à l’information d’intérêt public) regulates public access to information by private citizens, journalists, researchers, etc. In Article 9, the Law explicitly bars access to information on secret items related to national security (1). Nevertheless, Article 18 of the 2016 Constitution states, “citizens have the right to information and access to public documents as established by law” this entitles all Ivorian citizens to access to public information and public documents within the limits of the law. However, the 2016 Constitution does not stipulate specific guidelines for public access to defence sector information (2).

Article 165 of the 2016 Constitution also provides for a national ombudsman figure known as the “Médiateur de la République”, described as an independent go-between for public administration issues. But the Constitution whether the ombudsman can intercede on behalf of citizens demanding access to public information (2).
“Title XI, The Mediator of the Republic, Chapter I – Duties of the Ombudsman of the Republic, Article 165 – Hereby, a mediation body called “The Ombudsman of the Republic” is established. The Ombudsman is an independent Administrative Authority with a public service mission. The Mediator of the Republic is not subject to instructions from any authority” (2). The role of the national ombudsman is regulated by Organic Law No. 2007-540 of 1 August 2007 (Fixant les attributions, l’organisation et le fonctionnement de l’Organe de médiation dénommé « le Médiateur de la République). This Organic Law stipulates citizens’ general rights to mediation services, but no explicit rights to request public information (3).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Law No. 2013-867 of December 23, 2013 (Relatif à l’accès à l’information d’intérêt public) regulates access to public information and classifies certain information into two broad categories: communicable and non-communicable. In Chapter III (Informations et Documents Non Communicables), Article 9, the Law cites the documents that are not available for public access due to their classification as secrets for reasons of national defence. It includes other public documents for which such requests will also be denied (1).

Confidential Information and Documents:
Article 9: Information or public documents the disclosure of which would be detrimental to:
– secrecy of government deliberations and those under the Executive power;
– national defence secrets;
– State foreign policy procedures;
– State security, public security or the security of people;
– monetary and exchange rate policy of the State;
– proceedings before courts (jurisdictions) or preliminary inquiries into such proceedings, unless authorized by the competent authority;
– private life or private interests, including secrecy industrial and commercial matters, the documents offered for sale at public (1).

There is a lack of public access to information specifically related to the defence sector due to its “non-communicable” nature, as per Law No. 2013-867 of December 23, 2013. The MoD may be considered an exception given the sensitivity of the information it handles and the impact it can have on the nation’s political stability. Public access to information from other government ministries is handled more effectively via the Commission d’Accès à l’Information d’Intérêt Public (CAIDP). For Global Integrity (Africa Integrity Indicators, AII 2018), all public institutions in Côte d’Ivoire, including the government ministries, should have an information service to respond to public requests based on Article 18 of the 2016 Constitution. The public administration has 15 days to respond to information requests by journalists and researchers. It has 30 days to respond to requests by ordinary citizens (1). From January 2016 to August 2017, a total of 63.5% of public institutions that received requests had appointed someone to provide access to public documents. If no information is provided, citizens have recourse to the Commission d’Accès à l’Information d’Intérêt Public (CAIDP). AII 2018 cited the case of an NGO (Social Justice) which had asked CAIDP to intercede to access the annual report of a government action plan for 2017-2020. The public institution responded to the CAIDP that the annual report had not yet been drafted (1). However, these types of cases do not specifically reflect the effectiveness of requests for information submitted to defence sector institutions.

The Public Administration Act (Forvaltningsloven) and the Public Information Act (Offentlighedsloven) regulate the public’s access to information from the public sector, thus including the Defence [1, 2].The legislation includes provisions as to how and under what conditions the public can access information via freedom of information (FOI) requests (“aktindsigt”), what and when documents and information are exempted from FOI requests, and how the public can appeal decisions to deny FOI requests. The classification of information is governed by another administrative directive (see Q30B p3). The mandate of the independent Parliamentary Commissioner (Ombudsmanden) is written into law [4]. Among other tasks, the Ombudsman reviews appeals of information access decisions.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The classification of information is governed by administrative directive [1] and in accordance with NATO and EU obligations. The classification of information resides with the public authority in question. Classification of material must be done within and by the authority in question and according to guidelines defined in the circular using the classification categories of “NATO RESTRICTED” (Til Tjenestebrug), “NATO CONFIDENTIAL” (Fortroligt), “NATO SECRET” (Hemmeligt) and “COSMIC TOP SECRET” (Yderst hemmeligt). Definitions of each category are elaborated in the circular. The Police Intelligence Service acts as the national control and coordination unit. The circular lays out a range of different provisions such as guidelines for partial classification (§3) and guidelines for cover letters accompanying classified information (§5). To mention a few, the circular also includes guidelines on the destruction, storage and physical security of classified information; the security clearance of electronic information systems; and the management and handling of classified information. In sum, the administrative directive provides a comprehensive and clear legal framework that is in accordance with international obligations and standards.

According to the Public Information Act, FOI requests shall be finalized within seven workdays unless in exceptional circumstances where “e.g. the extent or complexity of the case does not allow for it.” [1]. If this should occur, the person who put forth the FOI request is to be informed as to why the deadline cannot be met and when the request will be finalised. A former civil servant within the Ministry of Defence reported that FOI requests were always treated according to law [2].
The current (2021) average processing time is 7,9 working days.[7].
However, interviews with journalists indicate that the public access to information via FOI requests is ineffective [3, 4]. Journalists report that case work is slow, that the deadline for FOI request finalisation is almost never met and, further, that the justifications for delays are made in general terms [3, 4, 5]. One journalist reported that even simple and small requests are delayed on the grounds of being “complicated” or “comprehensive”, which clearly goes against the intention of the Public Information Act [5]. Transparency International Denmark has also criticised the Public Information Act for de facto making Danish legislative work non-transparent [6]. More critically, journalists report that FOI requests are not treated fairly: the legal provisions for rejection (such as the consideration of business affairs) are mis- and/or overused [3]. One journalist also reported that it is almost impossible to get an interview with ministry officials [3]. Collectively, the journalists articulate that there is a severe lack of transparency within MoD, and the MoD’s treatment of FOI requests amounts to a huge democratic problem.

There is no legislation to regulate access to state information in general or defence and security information in particular (1).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

There is no clear legal framework for the classification of information. However, there are disparate mentions of “defence secrets” (classified information) in the Constitution, military provision laws, the General Intelligence law, etc. However, classified information in law is often used a lot to prevent the spread of information rather than to regulate access to it (1), (2).

Most information related to the defence sector, including investigations and trials, is considered “military secret” and its dissemination is severely punished by law (1).

Information regarding or deriving from the Ministry of Defence falls under the category of public information. Access to defence-related information is hence stipulated in the Public Information Act which describes how public information can be accessed, what details can be accessed and who can access it. [1] There are a few exceptions related to national defence, state secrets and classified information. Anyone has the right to appeal and turn to the Estonia’s Data Protection Inspectorate or the administrative court. The Act also stipulates that a holder of information is obliged to publish the conditions for accessing its information and the amount to be charged for the access. The website of the Ministry of Defence describes the ways of accessing related information. [2] There are different types of information requests listed, as well as different ways of requesting information, including an online form. However, there is no clear description on how to appeal decisions. The classified information and state secrets are categorised by the State Secrets and Classified Information of Foreign States Act. [3]
The Data Protection Inspectorate and the Estonian Information System’s Authority exercise the state and administrative supervision over holders of information. The Data Protection Inspectorate is a well-established independent agency under the Ministry of Justice. [4]

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The Procedure for Protection of State Secrets and Classified Information of Foreign States stipulates the procedure, the subcategories of information classified as a state secret, and the levels and terms of classification of subcategories of information. One of the subcategories is about state secrets related to national defence. [1]
Moreover, the Military Intelligence Centre of the Estonian Defence Forces is exercising supervision over state secrets and compliance with the requirements in Defence Forces and the Defence League. [2]
However, there is evidence that the system is not completely effective and that the information is not adequately protected. There have been concerns whether the classification is clear and adequate enough (see the Eesti Ekspress article). [3] Leaks of state secrets have happened and an official management has been “sloppy” in dealing with state secrets, as indicated by a court case in 2017 (see the ERR News article). [4]

Therefore, even if there is a procedure and classifications [5] in place, there are faults in the system.

An investigative journalist and an expert in the field, Tarmo Vahter, has criticised how accessing information is becoming increasingly difficult in Estonia. In his assessment, based on credible sources, too many documents are classified as state secrets. [1] The first Public Information Act consisted of 11 restrictions to access of information. One of them was directly connected to the defence sector (the weaponry and the location of the troops and personnel of the armed forces). By 2018 there are already 26 restrictions, of which seven are in the defence sector. This is a clear indication that accessing public information is becoming increasingly difficult in Estonia. There have been rare instances where the Data Protection Agency has received a complaint concerning information requests to the Ministry of Defence that have not been answered in compliance with the law. [2] In those cases, the agency has issued notices to the Ministry of Defence. There is no evidence whether those notices have had any effect in making any changes.

Act on the Publicity of the Activities of Authorities, chpt 1, section 1: Unless otherwise stated in this act or in another act, the documents of authorities are public [1].

Act on Information Management in Public Administration, Chpt 4,
Section 18: Authorities operating in state agencies and institutions, courts and complaints boards must classify documents and make a marking indicating this security classification in order to show what kind of information security measures must be followed when processing the document. Marking indicating the classification has to be done, if the document or information it entails is classified on the basis of the Act on the Publicity of the Activities of Authorities section 24 and wrongful publication of the information in the document or its wrongful use may harm national defence, preparing for the state of exception, international relations, crime prevention, societal security or the functioning of the state or national economy, or in a parallel manner to the national security. Security classification marking shall not be used in other cases unless so required by an international information security obligations or the document othewise relates to international cooperation. [2]

Different security classifications are provided in the Decree on Security Classification of Documents in State Administration [3].

Act on the Publicity of the Activities of Authorities, Chpt 3, deals with the right to obtain a document or information it contains under different conditions;
Cpht 4, deals with how to request a document or information it contains, how to make a decision on the request, how to provide the document or information it contains, as well as the timeframes within which the authorities must respond to requests;
Chpt 5, deals with the authorities obligation to promote the access to information;
Chpt 6, deals with concealment of information;
and Chpt 7, deals with exceptions under which classified information may be provided and when a document or information it contains may be declassified. [4]

Website tietopyynto.fi provides a platform for making information requests under the Freedom of Information Laws easily and in a centralised manner. It also provides information on ongoing requests and information published on the basis of the information requests. [5]

However, information request can be delivered to the relevant authority through other means as well e.g. in person, via post, via email; directly to the authority, civil servant or via a registrar; with contact details or anonymously. Further, “If a civil servant declines the information request, s/he needs to: provide a reason for declining to the person requesting the information; provide information that the matter can be subjected to authority decision; request in written from the person requesting the infomation whether s/he would like to subject the matter to authority decision; and provide information concerning the fees of subjecting the matter to authority decision. If you so wish to, you have the right to have a justified administrative decision on the matter, which then can be appealed (Act on (Public) Administration 434/2003 [6]) to the Administrative Court.” [7]

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The Decree on Security Classification of Documents in State Administration provides a framework for classification of information in public administration. [1] Acts on the Publicity of the Activities of Authorities and on Information Management in Public Administration, as well as the Constitution, provide the wider legal framework. [2]

General information is available of the webiste of the Ministry of Defence and on the website of the Defence Forces. [1] Website tietopyynto.fi provides a platform for making information requests under the Freedom of Information Laws easily and in a centralised manner. It also provides information on ongoing requests and information published on the basis of the information requests. [2] However, information request can be delivered to the relevant authority through other means as well e.g. in person, via post, via email; directly to the authority, civil servant or via a registrar; with contact details or anonymously.

It has been acknowledged that the authorities have problems in responding to the information requests [3]. There are problems in the public’s right to access detailed information which can be noticed by checking the open information requests on the website tietopyynto.fi [2] and which has been found in research as well [4]. Furthermore, at least in two cases access to information has been made difficult or prohibitively expensive [5, 6, 7].

In France, the accountability of public servants is a constitutional right, according to article 15 of the Declaration of Human and Citizen Rights. [1]
The implementing legislation, for all sectors, is Act No. 78-753 of 17 July 1978 on various measures for improved relations between the Civil Service and the public and on various arrangements of administrative, social and fiscal nature. [2] It sets as a general rule that citizens can demand a copy of any administrative document (in paper, digitised or other form), and establishes the Commission d’Accès aux Documents Administratifs (CADA, Commission for the Access to Administrative Documents), an independent administrative authority, to oversee the process. [3]
However, the 1978 law adds the proviso that “the administration can refuse to allow the consultation or the communication of an administrative document whose consultation or communication would infringe ( …) the secret of national defence”. [2]
Again, when it comes to defence issues, the French law is very restrictive of transparency and open-access. The broad definition of “secret-défense” blocks access to information. [4] The overall access to information is voluntarily very opaque.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The “secret-défense” classification is the French legal framework that ensures that information is adequately protected. However, this system of classification is not very clear: the very definition of “secret-défense” in article 413-9 of the Penal Code and what type of information can be classified under this label is very broad and vague: “the processes, objects, documents, information, computer networks, computerised data or national defence files which have been the subject of classification measures designed to restrict their dissemination are classified as national defence secrets or their access”. [1] In a 2008 report on “Secret-défense”, TI criticised its definition as “tautological”, [2] and the classification as too “vague”, limiting the possibility of the judge to question its legitimacy.
A page dedicated to the secrecy of defence on the website of the Ministry of the Armed Forces specifies what “the nation’s fundamental interests” encompass: “Defence, internal security, protection of the financial, economic and industrial activities of the Nation, the protection of the scientific and cultural heritage of France …” [3]
There are three layers of “secret défense” classification. “Confidentiel défense”, then “secret défense” and “très secret défense”. Their publication can respectively “harm”, “heavily harm” or “very heavily harm” defence and national security. This was modified in 2019, with only “secret défense” and “très secret défense” kept as categories. [4]

The public is able to formally request access to information. If that access is granted, but the Consultative Commission of the Secrecy of National Defence (CCSDN [1]) hasn’t waived the “secret-défense” classification flag, then delays still occur in accessing the information, and/or key information can be missing, as it can be only partially declassified, thanks to the various – and not very strictly defined – levels of classification: “Confidentiel défense”, “secret défense”, “très secret défense”.
Because of the “tautological” definition of “secret défense”, [2] it is very hard for the judicial authorities, as well as for citizens, the media or CSOs, to have access to classified information. The CCSDN doesn’t need to motivate its refusal to declassify information.

The work of the NGO Disclose, which serves a journalistic purpose, is interesting in this area: by publishing classified military information, the NGO has brought to light certain irregularities in the course of action of the Ministry of Defence. [3] As a result, its editors were questioned by the French intelligence services, undermining the secrecy of their sources, scaring actual and potential whistleblowers, and threatening freedom of the press in general. [4]

The German Freedom of Information Act (IFG) [1] is considered relatively weak with regard to the request and appeals procedure, but more notably with regard to the extensive exemptions [2], which include information that is tied to an obligation of secrecy or confidentiality [3]. Generally speaking, the law is vague in terms of establishing what information is and is not available and also with regard to how classified information is categorised, which gives defence institutions significant leeway when implementing the legislation. A range of lawsuits has demonstrated that the handling of IFG requests and the appropriate categorisation of information is not always clear [4].

However, the Federal Ministry of Defence and the Bundeswehr do provide information about the decisions and intentions of the BMVg as well as the mission, tasks and operations of the Bundeswehr. The aim of this is to promote public confidence in Germany’s security and defence policy and in its armed forces. Information is provided in the form of free brochures, leaflets, data media or via the websites www.bmvg.de and www.bundeswehr.de. This information is also supplemented by an open dialogue on all topics relevant to the Bundeswehr, e.g. on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, as well as at seminars and lectures, trade fairs and visits to the armed forces. The population can also contact the public relations specialists, especially youth officers, including by telephone, written correspondence and emails to the BMVg and the Bundeswehr.

In addition to this, the relevant information laws (IFG and the Umweltinformationsgesetz (Environmental Information Act) – UIG) and the right to ask questions in Parliament grant further access to information from the defence sector, provided that the legal requirements are met.

The Freedom of Information Act states the following exceptions, among others:
– military and other security-sensitive concerns of the Bundeswehr (IFG – Section 3, No. 1b).
– documents protected by legal regulation or by the general administrative regulation. (IFG – Section 3, No. 4). This means that classified documents (i.e. documents that are classified in one of the four classification tiers as outlined in the applicable classification regulation ‘Verschlusssachenanweisung’) are exempted under the IFG. However, upon receipt of an information request, public bodies should reassess whether the classification status of the document is still valid.
– the activities of the intelligence services (Section 3 No. 8 IFG) [1].

The access procedure pursuant to the IFG is regulated by ordinary law. There are also corresponding implementation regulations for the business area of ​​the BMVg.

The appeals procedure is determined by the IFG and the implementing provisions of the BMVg division [5]. Objections against a rejected information request can be submitted to the public body holding the information in question within one month. If this request is rejected again, the requester can then submit an appeal to the responsible administrative court within one month [6]. Moreover, anyone who considers their right to access to information pursuant to the German Federal Freedom of Information Act to have been violated may appeal to the Federal Commissioner for Freedom of Information [7]. This Commissioner serves as an independent, external appeal and review body. They have proved to be important in supporting the implementation of the IFG.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

German state secrecy is primarily regulated through the ‘Security Clearance Act’ (‘Allgemeine Verwaltungsvorschrift zum Geheimschutz’ or ‘Verschlusssachenanweisung’ – VSA), which details the process of information assessment, handling and protection [1]. Section 4(1a) of the Security Clearance Act stipulates that certain information can only be made available to those who need to be aware of it due to the performance of their tasks. According to Section 4(2) of the Security Clearance Act, classified information is protected in accordance with its need for protection, based on the numbered levels of secrecy specified in the regulation. Details can be found in the Federal Government’s ‘Verschlusssachenanweisung’ and the central official regulations applicable to the business area of ​​the BMVg [2].

The German Freedom of Information Act grants immediate access. According to Section 16 of the ‘Security Clearance Act’ (‘Verschlusssachenanweisung’), the classification of information marked as VS-ONLY FOR SERVICE USE is limited to 30 years. The issuer can determine a shorter classification period, taking into account the reasons for the classification [1].

However, the law is widely underused, with considerably fewer requests made than in comparable countries [2,3]. This might be due to the fact that there was limited publicization of the law when it was introduced. Implementation of the German Freedom of Information Act is considered problematic. There are ongoing problems hampering the effectiveness of the law, such as mismanagement of information requests [2] or mismanagement of information [4]. According to the BMVg, a coordinating body has been established within the Ministry in order to resolve issues related to a lack of requests and poor management of requests, however, its effectiveness is unclear [5].

There are laws that inhibit access to information; these include the Evidence Act, 1975 (NRCD 323), the Whistleblower Act, 2006 (Act 720), the Armed Forces Act, 1962 (Act 105), the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2008 (Act 762); the Habeas Corpus Act, 1964 (Act 244); the Emergency Powers Act, 1994 (Act 472) and the Public Order Act 1994 (Act 491) (1,2,3,4,5,6,7).
However, it is important to note that the Right to Information (RTI) Bill, which was passed by Ghana’s Parliament in March 2019 and signed into law in May 2019, provides room for accessing some information – unless it threatens the defence and security of the State (8).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The system of classification is entrenched and detailed, but it is used to prevent disclosure rather than ensure adequate protection. The government is relatively free to classify any information relating to Ghana’s armed forces. This is unchanged in the proposed RTI bill. Classification and non-disclosure of information are if anything more entrenched in the current RTI (sections 5-18) (1).

Numerous laws deal with classification, but none more so than the State Secrets Act (101) of 1960 which is used by almost all public servants (2).

Others include:the Evidence Act, 1975 (NRCD 323), the Whistleblower Act, 2006 (Act 720), the Armed Forces Act, 1962 (Act 105), the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2008 (Act 762); the Habeas Corpus Act, 1964 (Act 244); the Emergency Powers Act, 1994 (Act 472) and the Public Order Act 1994 (3).

Access to information is sporadic, and key sections are often missing or inaccessible. The media finds it difficult to get detailed information as is required (1), (2). There has been no formal effort to change this dynamic. Even the current proposed RTI legislation does not make explicit requirements for the armed forces to share information.

There is no general legislation that clearly stipulate access to information for the defence sector, although some information is unclassified [1, 2]. There is no Greek equivalent to a freedom of information law covering defence matters. The Inter-Service Manual of Military Correspondence was issued in 2005. It outlines a system of information classification consisting of six different levels, from unclassified to top secret [3]. However, it does not include details on how the public can access information.
Implementing Law 3861/2010 on the establishment of National Electronic Register Diavgeia budgets, accounts, balance sheets and individual expenditure of Ministries, including the defence one, are published on public data website [4,5].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI. The Government operates a system of classification of information under a clear legal framework to ensure that information is adequately protected [1, 2]. The Inter-Service Manual of Military Correspondence was issued in 2005. It outlines a system of classification of information consisting of six different levels, from unclassified to top secret [2].

The public has limited access to information from the defence sector, if at all [1, 2].There is no Greek equivalent to a freedom of information law covering defence matters and there is a culture of secrecy. This means that the public are not properly able to access information about the defence sector from the government or military.
However, financial information may be obtained directly from National Electronic Register Diavgeia [3]

There is an existing legal framework, but it is not complete. The framework does not describe well what information is and is not available. The government solution to this problem is overclassification, but in most cases, there is no information on how those decisions are reviewed internally by the defence sector or how classified information is categorised. The public can appeal those decisions, as they can request information based on the Act CXII of 2011 on Informational Self-determination and Freedom of Information. In case of public interest, data requests government should reply to this request, but the Law on Hungarian Armed Forces (Act CXIII of 2011) limits this information and it is the discretionary right of the Chief of General Staff whether to provide these data [1].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

There is an existing framework including the Law on Hungarian Armed Forces (2011. évi CXIII. törvény) [1]. Generally, there is an extreme overclassification of information [2]. Through a lengthy and expensive procedure, there is a way to appeal, but not a single stakeholder has sufficient sources to continuously run these processes for the most basic data even.

As a result of the overclassification, the public rarely accesses relevant information or full information. Important information covered by the CXIII/2011 law can be accessed only with the permission of the chief of the general staff [1]. Full information on important procurements is rarely accessible and in most cases classified for decades. Due to the legal environment accessing information is a lengthy process, mostly limited information is accessible and much harder than in other fields [2].

Under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, 2005, citizens can request and obtain government information [1].

“An Act to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens to secure access to information under the control of public authorities, in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority, the constitution of a Central Information Commission and State Information Commissions and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto” [2].

The Ministry of Defence comes under its remit. The MoD has a section dedicated to RTI on its website. It includes proactive disclosures, CPIOs and Appellate authority and comprehensive contact details for MoD personnel ranging from the Defence Minister to officers in charge of parliamentary work [3].

Under Section 24 of the Act, the Act does not apply to some Intelligence and Security organisations mentioned in the Second Schedule due to security reasons:

“Act not to apply to certain organizations.—
[1] Nothing contained in this Act shall apply to the intelligence and security organisations specified in the Second Schedule, being organisations established by the Central Government or any information furnished by such organisations to that Government: Provided that the information pertaining to the allegations of corruption and human rights violations shall not be excluded under this sub‑section: Provided further that in the case of information sought for is in respect of allegations of violation of human rights, the information shall only be provided after the approval of the Central Information Commission, and notwithstanding anything contained in Section 7, such information shall be provided within forty‑five days from the date of the receipt of request.”

The organisations are:

Intelligence Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs
Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Ministry of Finance
Central Economic Intelligence Bureau, Ministry of Finance
Directorate of Enforcement, Ministry of Finance
Narcotics Control Bureau
Aviation Research Centre
Special Frontier Force
Border Security Force, Ministry of Home Affairs
Central Reserve Police Force, Ministry of Home Affairs
Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Ministry of Home Affairs
Central Industrial Security Force, Ministry of Home Affairs
National Security Guard, Ministry of Home Affairs
Research & Analysis Wing of The Cabinet Secretariat
Assam Rifles, Ministry of Home Affairs
Sashastra Seema Bal, Ministry of Home Affairs
Special Protection Group
Defence Research and Development Organisation
Border Road Development Organisation
Financial Intelligence Unit
Directorate General Income Tax (Investigation)
National Technical Research Organisation
National Security Council Secretariat [2].

Appeals from RTI decisions go to an Appellate Authority. Appeals against the order of the Appellate Authority go to the State Information Commission or the Central Information Commission (CIC). The (CIC) was constituted under the RTI Act, 2005. Its jurisdiction covers all Central Public Authorities and it has the power to adjudicate in a second appeal, impose penalties and carry our monitoring and reporting [4]. It is not clear how decisions are reviewed internally by the defence sector.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The government operates a system of classification of information under a clear legal framework within RTI to ensure that information is adequately protected [1][2][3]. There has been criticism of the Ministry of Home Affairs for not publishing its method of classification of information yet publishing DoD classification. This reinforces that there is definitive categorisation of information, adherence to it and data protection [4].

According to a recent 2019 report, the MoD has one of the lowest RTI rejection rates [1]. The 2017-2018 report of the Chief Information Commission (CIC) stated that the MoD received 80,233 RT applications but rejected only 4,043 requests seeking disclosure of information, one of the lowest rates across all government ministries and departments [2]. There seems to be speed with addressing RTI applications, even if there is dissatisfaction with information obtained at times [3].

There are a number of regulations governing the obligations and limitations of the Ministry of Defence, as a public body, related to providing information about the defence budget, as a form of public information. These regulations are Law No. 14/2008 concerning Openness of Public Information and Minister of Defence Regulation No. 2/2015 concerning Management of Information and Documentation within the Ministry of Defence [1,2]. Minister of Defence Regulation No. 2/2015 governs how the public can access defence sector information, which information may be accessed (including information that must be announced periodically) and which information may not be accessed (see Article 9) and how the information request process is reviewed. It also appoints a special body to handle these matters [2]. The Information Management and Documentation Officer (PPID) is a unit led by the head of the Ministry of Defence’s public communication centre (a one-star general), who is responsible for storing, documenting and providing information. The section of the PPID that serves the public is Information Services. Further provisions regarding information service operational standards are stipulated in the Regulation of the Secretary General. In the event that the PPID refuses the request forinformation because it is considered exempt information, the applicant can file an objection in 2 stages. First, to PPID’s superior, namely the Secretary General of the Ministry of Defence. Second, to the Central Information Committee (Komite Informasi Pusat). The mechanism for this appeal is regulated by Secretary General Regulation No. 2/2015 article 25-28 [3]. The objection form is available on the PPID website.

This indicator is not scored in the GDI.

In general, information is divided into two categories: information that must be provided and announced and information that is exempt [1]. Information that must be provided and announced is then divided into three further categories: information that must be provided and announced periodically, information that must be announced immediately and information that must be available at any time. There are nine types of information that must be provided and announced periodically, for example, summarised information on financial statements and performance. There are seven types of information that must be available at any time, including data on State Property (BMN). There are 13 types of information that are exempt from public scrutiny, including information relating to the technical specifications of defence equipment. This classification system is used as a reference by the implementing PPID. Article 20 of Minister of Defence Regulation No. 2/2015 states that publicly accessible information is classified based on information provided by the relevant PPID, whereas the classification of exempt information is carried out through a consequence test and determined by the Minister of Defence. Arguably, the availability of this classification system has enabled effective communication between the Ministry of Defence and requesters of information, as well as related parties, due to its clear delineation of what information can or cannot be accessed. Furthermore, it has ensured adequate protection of specific types of information as regulated by the law. On the other hand, this classification can also serve as a pretext for military personnel to avoid investigation into corruption issues [2].

Law No. 14/2008 concerning Openness of Public Information regulates the existence of the Information Commission (KIP), an independent institution that implements this law, establishes technical guidelines for public information service standards and resolves public information disputes through the media and/or non-litigation adjudication [1]. This law also regulates the process of handling requests for information submitted by the public to public agencies. These requests must be followed up no later than 10 days after receipt of the request (this can be extended by seven days if written reasons are provided). The PPID of the Ministry of Defence issues annual reports that can be used as indicator of its effectiveness. The 2018 Public Information Services Annual Report claims that all requests for public information, especially those submitted via email, were served and answered properly and in good time [2]. The 2017 report details the time required to fulfil requests for information, which ranges from one to 24 hours for each request [3]. CSOs questioned the effectiveness of this mechanism after their request for information regarding military business was ignored by both the Ministry of Defence and the Information Commission [4].

Iran has a Publication and Free Access to Information Act; however, the publication of information on organs under the supervision of the supreme leader, such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Ministry of Intelligence and Security require the permission of the supreme leader [1].

According to Article 19, the act sets out four exemptions where institutions are obliged to deny requests, including public peace and security, preventions of crime and investigation, arrest or prosecution of offenders, but most are notably brief in their descriptions [2]. There is no formal process for requesting an internal review of a decision [2].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

There is a 1975 bylaw on the classification of documents. It has four levels of classification, and procedures for marking classified documents, and protocols for safeguarding classified documents [1].

The Publication and Free Access to Information Act was only enacted in 2017 [1]. So far, there is no known instance of the public being able to access information from the defence sector. Reportedly, the Iranian Judiciary, intelligence and security organizations as well as the country’s police force have refused to cooperate with the database set-up in accordance with the act [2]. Users of the database have rated the Interior Ministry and Central Bank’s responses to inquiries as “least satisfactory” [2]. There is also a Charter of Citizens rights, which gives a right of access to information [3], but, again there are no specific examples of citizens using that right to access information from the defence sector.

There is no freedom of information legislation in Iraq. While the rule of law and other legislative frameworks guarantee, albeit under vague and loose terms, the freedom of expression this is not matched by freedom of information legislation. It remains relevant to recall an earlier yet failed attempt to legislate Iraq’s first access to information act. Speaking to a member of the Union of Iraqi Journalists, “the law that was drafted back in 2010 did not put forward an explicit and clear reference that allows journalists, media, historians and researchers, access to Information” (1). The matter has been widely debated among journalists and law faculties and their respective students and in spite of efforts to push for the legislation of an information act, there is no evidence to suggest government debate on the matter (2), (3), (4). A member of the Iraqi Union of Journalists with whom Tl (5) spoke of conditional disclosure as the earlier draft presented, “access”, he said, would be granted only to university graduates that have been employed for no less than 10 years. A thorough search online shows that debates of this nature have dormant since the draft legislation was rejected by parliament. At the existing moment, citizens cannot request information from the MoD, the MoI or the PMF Commission.

One interviewee disputes the establishment of rules specific to informational classification, “there is no classification system one can quote when discussing the classification of security-relevant data in Iraq” (1). Evidence of this emerges during liberation operations against the Islamic State in which operations led by militia commanders were announced ahead of those declared by the GoI (2), (3). Even if mechanisms do exist, during crises, the effectiveness may be undermined by the need for a rapid response that has in the past involved official, quasi forces and non-state actors.

While there are laws that allow defence officials to withhold sensitive information to mitigate risks, Iraq has no classification laws or structures that incorporate risk management. In light of the above, even if these structures are used across security and defence institutions, it is not possible to comment with accuracy on how effective they are.

Under no circumstances are citizens permitted to submit information requests to the MoD or the MoI. This was confirmed to us by a political adviser to the government (1). However, a growing number of Iraqi whistleblowers, are circumventing the convoluted bureaucracy that prevents information requests, by leaking sensitive information. What arose in an attempt to curb this behaviour was the ‘Information Technology Crimes Law’ for which only a draft was formulated to stifle press freedoms and prevent the hacking of state information systems (2). Similar legislative proposals surfaced in both 2011 and 2013, but were tabled due to sustained opposition to a law that enhances the powers of the state to crack down on the freedoms of expression, several sources wrote at the time (3).

A legal framework exists (according to UNCAC and the OECD Convention) (1) (2), but only to a necessary minimum. There is the Freedom of Information Law which was enacted in 1998 and came into force in 1999 (4). It allows every Israeli citizen or resident to obtain information that is in the possession of the Ministry of Defence or IDF and deals with everything related to the ministry’s activities and the issues under its responsibility. The information can be written, recorded, photographed or computerised. The Head of the Unit for Public Inquiry and Complaints serves, in addition to his position, as the Commissioner for the Implementation of the Freedom of Information Law in the Ministry of Defence (3). The legislation includes reference to how the publlic can access defence information (section 7), what information is and is not available (section 9) and how the public can appeal decisions (section 18) (4). However, the legislation makes no reference to an independent unit established to review decisions, although both the MoD and IDF have information commissioner’s offices within their respective institutions. The legislation is not also not fully implemented and information are often confidential due to security issues.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI. According to one interviewee, the government is in process of revising the classification system (1). However, we haven’t found any official statements about the process.

The public has access to information from the defence sector to some extent due to security reasons, but it is very limited. In accordance with the Freedom of Information Law. However, the Ministry of Defence does publish an annual report which includes information on past and future activities, including the budget and expenses, as well on the organisational strcuture, duties, authorities and contact details. The report also contains information on the implementation of the Act (1). A review of answered FOI requests submitted to the Ministry of Defence shows that succesful requests have been submitted regarding information on contractual engagements of the MOD, including with regard to procurement, construction and logistics; information regarding the defense budget, e.g. the MOD National Emergency Management Authority budget; and information regarding the schedule of the Defense Minister, MOD DG etc (2). However, the most recent requests that have been answered date back to March 2018 and the database does not contain any information on requests submitted since then, potentially pointing to a severe lack of implementation of the FOI law.

Access to information is regulated by Decree of the President of the Ministers n. 7 of 12 June 2009 and following changes [1]. The decree (art.4) defines what type of information is classified, how classified information is categorised and what legal framework applies, depending on the fact that information is classified for national interest or in compliance with international treaties or dispositions of international organisations that Italy belongs to. In law 124/2007 [2] there is a mention of the possibility to access information by the public and of the scrutiny power of the Parliamentary Committee for the Security of the Republic. On the former, whoever wants to access information no longer subject to state secrecy can request access to the President of the Council of Ministers. There is however no mention on how the public can appeal decisions related to classified informations. Regarding the scrutiny power of the Committee, should the President of the Council of Ministers deny public access to information, (s)he has to present a substantiated decision to the Committee, that can report to the Parliamentary Chambers should it consider the President’s decision unfounded. No further information is available on the presence of external appeal or review body.

This indicator not assigned a score in the GDI.

The type of information that can be subject of State secret is regulated by Decree of the President of the Ministers of 8 April 2008, n. 90 [1]. State secrecy is a prerogative of the President of the Council of Ministers, who may classify information following a request of the competent administration. In addition, articles 202, 204, 256, 270, 351 and 362 of the code on criminal procedure further regulates state secrecy [2].

State secrecy on information cannot exceed 30 years, according to art. 38 of law 124/2007 [1]. Nonetheless, there have been cases of extension of the state secrecy as in the case of Ustica massacre [2]. In order to access information no longer subject to state secrecy, those interested can astk the President of the Council of Ministers to access information. The President then has 30 days to guarantee or deny access. In the latter case, the President has to present a substantiated decision to the Parliamentary committee for the security of the Republic [3]. No further information is publicly available on the actual time needed to access information, thus it is not possible to assess the speed of the process. In some cases particularly relevant to the public opinion, access to declassified information has been made publicly open [4] [5].

The website of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) gives information on several items of legislation and implementing guidelines about information access. One of its webpages has practical information on how to request information, allows the public to search electronically on a Ministry site for documents to which it can apply for access and has a link to a document with guidelines for declassification. It also states that the public may appeal decisions by contacting the Minister of Defence and that the Minister will consult with a review body in the Cabinet Office before making a decision on the appeal. [1] The Cabinet Office is an agency that assists the Prime Minister and their Cabinet by providing “policy planning and comprehensive coordination on crucial and specific issues in the Cabinet,” and is thus a part of the executive. [2] The website of the Ministry of Defence refers to the Freedom of Information Law of 1999. [3] Whether a document is classified for national security reasons or not will be determined by the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets (see Q30B). The head of the agency determines which documents in their agency are to be designated secrets. Information belonging to the categories defence, foreign policy, counterintelligence and terrorism can be classified. [4] Each house of the Diet has a review panel with several MPs that assesses the justification for designating administrative documents as specially designated secrets and examines government decisions about providing such documents to Diet committees. [5] There is thus no independent, fully accessible review body, as the one in the Cabinet Office is internal to the government and not independent, and the ones in the Diet deal with applications by MPs and are not accessible to others.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI. The Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets has provided guidelines for classifying information. [1] One scholar writes that, “The new law is designed to provide the US and other partners with the confidence that intelligence passed to Japan will be secure, thus paving the way for Japan’s enhanced access to US intelligence networks and wider participation in international security operations with other partners.” [2] However, critics contend that the concepts that define what is to be treated as secret are vague. Topics related to defence, foreign policy, counterintelligence and terrorism can be designated as such, and the head of the agency that has the relevant information can decide whether or not it should be classified. According to an article in the Japan Times, the government reports to the supervisory boards for state secrets, set up in each house of the Diet, on why documents were designated secrets in December 2014, right after the law went into effect, were so vague that it was almost impossible for the members of the boards to determine specifically what the secrets were about. [3] More recently, others have pointed out that because the topics that are to be secret are broad, the amount of information that is classified is also large, and one article reported that there were 547 such topics by the end of June 2018. [4]

A MOD webpage provides clear information on how to apply for information access and has the forms that one must fill out to do so (see Q30A). Some newspapers have criticised the Ministry of Defence for taking too long to handle Freedom of Information requests. A ministry can extend the 30 day deadline within which they have to make a decision on such a request by another 30 days if they give grounds for it. The MOD frequently has to make use of this provision. [1] One reporter raised a case of the MOD spending two months to decide to declassify a document that had already been released. Sometimes the MOD’s decision on whether or not to release a document is that they will make a decision “in one year,” or in one reported case, “in four years.” Handling freedom of information requests is time consuming, and there seems to be a backlog in the MOD on such handling. [2]

Jordan was the first country in the region to pass an access to information law [1], which was endorsed in 2007 and measures were taken to develop procedures necessary to facilitate access to information [2]. However, the legislation does not apply to the defence sector in Jordan, as matters of defence are considered highly confidential, as demonstrated by the armed forces prohibition of publishing information or news about them [3]. The framing of the Jordanian freedom of information law generally makes it difficult to request information from governmental departments and entities, as people are required to demonstrate a ‘lawful interest’ and/or a ‘legitimate reason’, which is subject to interpretation [4,5]. There is no legislation or implementing guidelines that clearly stipulate access to information for the defence sector.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Although Jordan has an access to information law [1, 2], Article 13 of the law specifies exceptions to disclosure [3]. These exceptions include information about the country’s foreign relations, state secrets, correspondence between governmental entities and foreign countries and organisations. In addition to these exceptions, and the specified classified information, the information assembly responsible for implementing the law may classify previously unclassified information when they reject an information request [3]. This demonstrates that the classification of information, other than those stipulated in Article 13 of the law, is subject to the assembly’s interpretation, which indicates that there is not a legal framework for the classification of information to ensure adequate data protection [5,6]. Information about the defence sector is also considered classified under Jordan’s Protection of State Secrets and Documents Provisional Law No. 50 [4]. The law considers most of the defence sector’s activities and operations in the country as classified. Most matters related to defence are considered classified and because there is not a clear legal framework or system for the classification of information to ensure adequate data protection.

There are no legal provisions that allow the public access to information from the defence sector, and in fact access to information law in Jordan explicitly exempts defence information [1]. Provisional Law No. 50 on Jordan’s Protection of State Secrets and Documents also deems defence sector information to be classified and ‘secret’, rather than ordinary documents that can be shared with the public [2]. In 2016, the armed forces prohibited the publication of any of its news, under the pretext of national security [3]. In some cases, trying to access information about the defence sector could be considered a criminal act [4,5]. The public is rarely able to access information from the defence sector, if at all.

In law, according to the Access to Information Act No. 31 of 2016, every citizen has the right of access to information held by the state including from defence sector. [1] The Act also provides guidelines on the limits to these rights. Section 6 of the Act outlines limitations of information access, especially on matters that would jeorpardize national security. Such matters are listed on Section 6, sub-section (2) (1) as military strategy and covert operations.

Despite these clear guidelines, access to information from particularly from national security institutions remains limited. Other existing channels where citizens can access information from the defence sector include published audited-reports from Office of Auditor General (OAG), or from standing parliamentary committees such as Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Budget Appropriations Committee (BAC) and Defence and Foreign Relations Committee (DFRC). Departmental Committee are required by the Constitution (Under Article 118) and by Parliamentary Standing Orders to involve and ensure the public participates in parliamentary business and processes, and their views to be taken on board for instance before bills are presented to the House for debate. [2, 3]

Furthermore, with the exception of confidential or need for secrecy in certain cases such as national security issues, all committee hearings are required to be open to public observation and participation. [4] Parliamentary sessions are required by law to be broadcasted live (re-broadcasts with redactions in case of closed hearings) and open to the media where the public can access proceedings as well as sharing information via parliamentary websites. The public can use available tools to participate, such as making written submissions, giving expert opinion, issuing public petitions. Other channels for accessing information from defence sector include: Public Communications divisions in the Ministry of Defence (MOD). MOD states in its website that the ministry upholds the constitutional provision that allows for access to information as per Article 35 (1). [5]

This indicator is Not Scored in the GDI. The Access to Information Act No.31 of 2016 sets the guidlines on the rights to access to information, including limits to access information that may undermine national security. The limits are outlined under Section 6 subsection 2 (a) to (i) of the act and they specifically include military strategy, covert operations and information that is referred to as classified information in the Kenya Defence Forces Act. [1] Section 49 (3) of the Kenya Defence Forces Act describes classified information as any information on strategy, doctrine, capability, capacity and deployment, which if disclosed would jeopardize national security. [2]

Despite clear guidelines including what limits are there to sensitive and classified information under the Access to Information Act No. 31 of 2016, access to information particularly from national security institutions such as Ministry of Defence (MOD) remains limited and nearly inaccessible for National Intelligence Service. The public has mainly been relying on other channels such as published audited-reports from Office of Auditor General (OAG) or from standing parliamentary committees such as Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Budget Appropriations Committee (BAC) and Defence and Foreign Relations Committee (DFRC). However, while the public can access some information that is not openly accessible directly from MOD, these committees only deal with specific matters and public participation and access to information also remains low due to fewer channels of engagement. [1]

In general terms, the newly adopted Law No. 06/L-081 on Access to Public Documents guarantees the right of every person, without discrimination on any grounds, to access public documents produced, received, maintained or controlled by public institutions, as well as the right to re-use public sector documents [1]. The law stipulates that every individual has the right to access public documents, a right which is guaranteed by public institutions and which constitutes one of the foundations of democracy and transparency [2]. This law determines that the right to access public documents is universal and equal, so public institutions should not favour one person over others [2]. This law is also valid for the defence sector in Kosovo [3], following the implementation in 2009 of the Administrative Instruction on information release and communication with the media, for the Ministry of Defence and the Kosovo Security Forces [4]. This sub-legal act stipulates that the Public Relations Office of the Ministry of Defence is responsible for communicating on behalf of the Ministry. The Public Relations Office is in charge of developing and leading all communications and services for the Ministry, as well as providing advice, support and guidance on communication matters [5]. However, this document is limited to relations with the Ministry of Defence and the media. Currently, there is not confirmation that the Ministry would introduce another document to stipulate public access to information within the defence sector, apart from the Law No. 06/L-081 on Access to Public Documents.

Moreover, according to the government reviewer, the Ministry of Defense provides access to information from the defense sector, to the level where the aspect of national security [1] and personal data [6] is not violated. The requests addressed to the Ministry of Defense are reviewed and evaluated by the responsible authorities, taking into account the degree of sensitivity in relation to national security and the protection of personal data. Based on the relevant assessment, they are then processed according to the legislation, rules and administrative procedures in force. For this issue, the government reviewer considers that there is sufficient normative basis that regulates access to open information and classified information about the defense sector.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

There is a legal framework in place which determines the classification of information in Kosovo. According to the Law No.03/L-178 on Classification of Information and Security Clearances, information shall be classified into: public security; defence, military plans, weapons system, or operations; foreign relations and foreign government information, including confidential sources; intelligence and law enforcement activities, including intelligence methods and sources; systems, installations, infrastructures, projects, plans or protection services relating to security interests of the Republic of Kosovo [1]. Information may be classified at the levels of “Top Secret”, “Secret”, “Confidential” and “Restricted” [2]. An individual may have access to information classified as “Confidential”, “Secret” or “Top Secret” if that person has a valid security certificate, has a certified need-to-know for carrying out his/her official mission on duty, and has signed an approved statement of nondisclosure [3]. Currently, the Kosovo Intelligence Agency is the vetting authority responsible for conducting security clearance procedures for all public authorities in Kosovo and their contractors.

The general public as well as media and Civil Society Organisations are able to access information relating to defence institutions in Kosovo [1]. However, there may be delays in providing information to the public and specific stakeholders [2]. In addition, the information shared with the public may be superficial and significant data/information can be lacking [1, 2].

According to the government reviewer, the Ministry of Defense, based on the existing legislation, continuously processes all requests for access to public documents. Only in 2019, 12 demands for acces to public documents were adressed to the MOD [3] and all of them were processed timely and provided the demanded information was based on the provisions of the Law on access to public documents.

There is no legislation that says the public has the right to access any defence information, (1, 2, 3 and 4). The country does not have a clause about freedom of information, and the constitution, along with the laws that govern the security agencies, ignore this issue entirely.

This sub-indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI. There is no legal framework according to which information is classified and protected, officials and activists said (1, 2, 3 and 4). There is no law that grants the public the right to access Government information.

The only manner in which the public can access information from the defence sector is by pressuring lawmakers, who have the right to demand and receive any kind of information from the Government by virtue of article 99 of the constitution (1) and article 121 of the PIL (2), to demand the details they want from the security sector or the executive branch, but this is not an easy task since most lawmakers are pro-government. Assuming the public managed to apply enough pressure and Parliament demands information, the Emir can dissolve it according to article 107 of the constitution.

Most of the examples of MPs asking the Government, and the defence and security sector in particular, to give information and explain its decisions and events from the answer to question 3A apply here.

In August 2018, there was public and parliamentary uproar over the death of two students at the military academy, apparently due to harsh training exercises, prompting accusations of neglect from the public. MPs were forced to act and ask the military for information. Now the military is currently investigating the case, according to state news media, and even though it has lost some steam, it is expected to make headlines again soon if the military fails to produce answers or announces ones that are unsatisfactory to the public (3).

Public pressure is also what prompted MPs to ask for information about the 30 Caracal helicopters deal for over 1 billion USD (4), which was signed last year. The authorities are now also investigating the purchase of Eurofighter warplanes from Italy in 2015 (4), which also sparked similar public concerns over corruption, prompting parliamentary action.
Public pressure is also the driving force behind the MP’s (half-hearted) attempts to investigate the Interior Ministry buying gifts and holding elaborate ceremonies using public funds in February 2018, according to the prosecutors who are now investigating the matter (5).

Public anger is also what forced the MPs into pressuring the Government to address the protests in neighbouring Iraq over neglect that erupted in mid-2018 out of concern for Kuwait’s stability as the possibility of having to deal with a wave of refugees fleeing violence in Iraq appeared to grow (6).

But all of these investigations are still ongoing and the public does not have the full, verified story even though some of these events took place almost four years ago. The bits that come out do so in private parliamentary sessions, officials said (7 and 8).The press and social media speculate about what goes on in these sessions, but the Government is not forthcoming with the facts. One of the investigators working on defence cases told the TI that the military has not responded to most of their questions (3).

There are several laws which set the legal framework for accessing information from the defence sector: the Law on Freedom of Information, [1] and the Law on State secretn which provides details on categories of secrets. [2] The public can appeal regarding issues related to the state secret via the Prosecution Office. The Information Freedom Law classifies and explains different categories of information, including restricted access information related to NATO and the EU. The Law also describes how information can be accessed and appealed. [1]

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Information classified as an official secret is classified as particularly sensitive, secret, and confidential. Information related to the military, political, economic, scientific, technical, intelligence (counterintelligence) and operational activities of the State shall be recognised as especially sensitive information. All the information is classified in a very comprehensive way in article 3 of the Law on state secrets. [1] The institution responsible for its implementation is the Prosecution Office.

The most visible evidence that these laws are effective is the so-called Lato Lapsa case: a journalist tested the effectiveness of the Freedom of Information Law by suing state institutions, including the President’s office, which did not comply with the Law. In the majority of cases, Mr Lapsa has won. [1]

The Lebanese Government passed “The Right to access information law” in February 2017 to improve transparency in the country (1). Though the law is not specifically for the defence sector, it covers public institutions, municipalities and other main institutions linked to the state. It has also laid down the procedure to request access to information, the accessible information, and sensitive information that is restricted to the public due to national security reasons. It also identifies that the public can appeal for information, the allocation of a focal point, publication obligation, and the establishment of a National Anti-Corruption Commission (2).

This sub-indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI. According to a source, the LAF has an internal classification of information that can limit the people who can access information (1).

The Right to Access Information Law does not restrict requesting information from the Ministry of National Defence or LAF command. However, it restricts information related to state secret on defence and security matters. (1) According to Ghorbale Initiative’s report on the law, attempt to request basic information from the Ministry of Defence and the Supreme Defence Council were not answered (2). In the brief Lebanese Oil and Gas Initiative manual on the law, it stated that requests to authorities mentioned in the law had no response. However, it is due to the absence of a national anti-corruption authority. (3). To access information, citizens have to submit requests to the Directorate of Orientation at the LAF which should, in theory, get back to the person with an answer or with a rejection of the request (4).

There is legislation that stipulates access to information within the defence sector. The Law on the Right to Obtain Information from the State and Municipal Institutions and Agencies ensures the right of persons and creates favourable conditions for persons to obtain information from state institutions including from the Ministry of Defence. It foresees exceptions to the law such as information which is recognised as confidential for reasons of national or public security, national defence interests or other cases provided by law [1]. The Law on State Secrets and Official Secrets includes categorisation and marking of classified information: ‘Top Secret’, ‘Secret’, ‘Confidential’, ‘Restricted’ [2]. There is no information about the effectiveness of the Law, nor is there proof that every person who requested information was able to get it. Moreover, there is no internal body or equivalent to review access to this information. If a citizen does not get the information requested, s/he may file a complaint to the Ombudsmen Office – a national institution that analyses such cases and provides recommendations to public sector bodies [3].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

There is a legal framework for the classification of information to ensure adequate data protection. The Law on State Secrets and Official Secrets regulates ‘the basic principles of and procedure for classifying, storing, using, and declassifying information comprising a state or official secret, co-ordinating and controlling protection actions and set minimum requirements for separate fields of protection of classified information’. The Law also foresees the functions and competence of the Commission for Secrets Protection Coordination. The Commission coordinates the implementation of actions of the protection of classified information and decides on a recommendation for institutions ensuring the security of classified contracts, makes proposals regarding the improvement or repeal of this Law and other legal acts related to the protection of classified information [1]. The Law on Public Procurement also separately states what information shall be confidential in public procurement procedures [2].

The public is able to access most of the defence information available on the website of the Ministry of Defence. For example, one is able to find information about existing laws regulating different defence spheres as well as information regarding collaboration with, for instance, international actors or local NGOs. There is also basic information about the Ministry of Defence staff, their functions and information about procurement, corruption prevention programs, risk analysis, etc [1]. It is also possible to access the Ministry of Defence’s documents, or request copies of certain documents [2]. However, it is not clear how long it takes requested documents to be publicised, or how detailed the provided information is. TI Lithuania’s experience shows that the Ministry of Defence provides information as required by Law, and takes no longer than 20 days.

In Malaysia, the Official Secrets Act 1972 (Act 88) prohibits the dissemination of information classified as an official secret. [1] The OSA outlines that a Minister, a Menteri Besar or the Chief Minister of a State may appoint any public officer to classify any official document, information or material at their discretion and also outlines the declassification of any official secret. The OSA is the most highlighted legislation in regards to the legal framework concerning defence information. Although Malaysia generally does not subscribe to freedom of information, the states of Selangor and Penang have adopted the Freedom of Information Act. [2] [3] Nevertheless, freedom of information is practised through a government-run open data platform as a measure to improve governmental transparency. The General Circular No.1/2015 on Implementation of Open Data [4] was issued on September 30, 2015 and provides a guidance for public sector agencies in the implementation of open data based on the Ten Principles of the Open Data, including good governance and data sets preparation and publishing strategy. [5]

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Information is classified as outlined in the General Circular No.1/2015 on Implementation of Open Data and its use is regulated by the Terms and Regulations of Government Open Data. [1] The Official Secrets Act 1972 (Act 88) prohibits the dissemination of information classified as an official secret. [2]

Access to information can be obtained through the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF)’s official website [1] or the national open data website. [2] However, key information may be unavailable and kept classified under the OSA.

Mali does not have a comprehensive freedom of information framework.¹ ² The country does not have a Freedom of Information Act and the current government has not indicated any intention to introduce such a law or adopt a strategy relating to the freedom of information.² ³
As the Carter Center noted in a 2006 study, Mali does have some laws on the statute book that provide the public with the right to access information from government departments.⁴ These are the 1998 law that governs relations between government bodies and public service users (loi 98-012 « Régissant les relations entre l’Administration et les Usagers des Services Publics) and the related decree (Décret d’Application 03-580) from 2003.
Chapter IV of the law outlines the conditions under which public service users can obtain access to administrative documents, including reports, studies, statistics, directives, circulars etc.⁵ Yet, Article 13 makes it explicitly clear that matters relating to national defence are exempt from this provision.⁵ The law lists the domains in which information is classed as secret and marked by a stamp of confidentiality. National defence is at the very top of the list, followed by foreign policy, the security of the state and public safety, among others.⁵

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

There are numerous existing legal mechanisms for classifying information.
The 1998 law that governs relations between government bodies and public service users (loi 98-012 « Régissant les relations entre l’Administration et les Usagers des Services Publics) and the related decree (Décret d’Application 03-580) from 2003 contain legal provisions for the classification of information.¹
Article 11 prohibits the divulgation or publication of information defined as secret or covered by intellectual property rights. Furthermore, article 13 lists the domains in which information is classed as secret and marked by a stamp of confidentiality. These include:
– National defence
– Foreign policy
– The security of the state and public safety
– The deliberations of the government
– Judicial or customs investigations into breaches of the law
– Information gathering exercises by the judiciary unless the relevant body gives authorisation
– Matters relating to individuals’ private lives or business affairs
– The protection of commercial and industrial property
– Matters relating to the national currency and public funds
– Medical documents
– Individual documents of state employees.¹
The Penal Code² also facilitates the secrecy and confidentiality of defence issues by providing for the classification of information on the grounds of protecting national security. It notes that the below should be deemed national defence secrets:
1. “Military, diplomatic or economic information which by its nature must be known only by the qualified individuals should, in the interest of national defence, be kept secret with regard to any other person.
2. The objects, materials, writings, drawings, plans, maps, photographs or other reproductions, and any other documents whatsoever, which by their nature should be known only by people qualified to handle them or hold them and must be kept secret with regard to any other person, may lead to the discovery of information belonging to one of the categories referred to in the preceding paragraph;
3. Military information of any kind not made public by the government and not included in the lists above, including publication, dissemination, disclosure or reproduction has been prohibited by law or by a decree of the Council of Ministers;
4. Information on whether the measures taken to identify and arrest the perpetrators and people complicit in crimes or crimes against state security”.²

The country’s laws allow for the classification of all defence-related information1,2 (see Q30B). Combined with the deference shown by other public institutions towards the military (see Q16 & Q17), it is rarely possible to extract information about the armed forces from the MDAC.
The lack of a comprehensive Freedom of Information Act affords the public a weak legal platform when seeking to obtain information from state authorities. Freedom House specifically cites the military as a major barrier to obtaining information: “… laws are replete with extensive and vague exceptions, and journalists have faced obstacles when attempting to obtain information about the military in particular”.³
The editor of a national newspaper in Bamako told the assessor that the government will sometimes comply with requests for information, but only when it concerns information that will not embarrass it.⁴ Otherwise it is virtually impossible to obtain any information from the defence authorities because of their readiness to invoke the ‘secret défense’.⁴ The state is still experiencing a major crisis of confidence in the wake of what happened in 2012 and its ongoing inability to prevent attacks across large parts of Malian territory.⁴ Hence government officials tend to overstrain the defence secret argument to prevent the public from accessing information related to the defence sector, without having to provide more justification.
A senior security governance specialist added that “it is very difficult to obtain real hard data. You might manage to locate the person ostensibly responsible and supposedly ‘in-the-know’ about a particular topic, but even then they often won’t have a clue where to find the information because of major holes in accurate record-keeping”.⁵

There are regulations and guidelines for the request for information, which is applicable to the defence sector. This stipulates, among others: the way in which the public can access the information (either through the National Platform, in the office or offices designated for it, via email, postal mail, courier, telegraph, verbally, or any means approved by the National System); [1] the information that is public (all public information generated, obtained, acquired, transformed, or in possession of the obligated subjects); [2] the classification of information (that which compromises national security, public safety, or national defense, for example, is reserved; and confidential information that contains personal data concerning an identified or identifiable person); [3] the way in which decisions can be appealed (directly or by electronic means, to the corresponding guarantor body or to the Transparency Unit that has heard of the request); [4] and that there is an appeal or review body (guarantor bodies, the National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data and the Federal Judicial Branch). [5]

Although the regulations indicate the way in which information decisions must be subject to internal controls, legislators and specialists on the subject demand the need to review the reserved data that SEDENA has in order to respond to requests for information. [6] [7] [8]

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

There is a framework to classify reserved informationas that information whose publication compromises national security, public security, or national defence. [1] This information may maintain this classification for 5 years, and may be extended for another 5 years, as long as the causes are justified. [2]

Likewise, confidential information is considered to be that which contains personal data concerning an identified or identifiable person. This is not subject to temporality and can only be accessed by the public servants with the authority to do so. [3]

According to the General Law on Transparency and Access to information, there exists a legal obligation for SEDENA to provide detailed information and make it public. However, “national security” is often used as an excuse for SEDENA to limit the information made available. Any citizen can request information, but it is often incomplete, vague and not specific. SEDENA is one of the Mexican public entities that most frequently use “national security” as an excuse to withhold information and that their attempts to do so are very frequent. [1] [2] [3] In fact, SEDENA only adequatly responded to 9 out of 117 requestests for information from Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (Inai). [4]

There is legislation and implementing guidelines that clearly stipulate: 1. How the public can access defence information; 2. What information is and is not available; 3. How those decisions are reviewed internally by the defence sector; 4. How classified information is categorised; 5. How the public can appeal those decisions. [1]

However, exceptions to the law are not in compliance with international standards. [2] Additionally, there is no active, and independent external appeal or review body to review access to information decisions: the existing institution is influenced by political structures and the executive. [3]

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The Government operates a system of classification of information under the Law on Data Secrecy to ensure that information is adequately protected. [1]

The Law was amended on several occasions and newly proposed changes (including measures for data protection) are currently being publicly debated. [2] Proposed but delayed reforms relate to the improvement of the management of secret data in different forms, which confirms that the current legal framework is not adequate in that respect. [2]

The Ministry provides general information about its work and procedures, but NGOs lack the capacity to properly monitor the work of the Ministry and submit more sensitive requests. [1] The Ministry frequently provides no responses to submitted requests, especially related to its finances, and some documents are claimed to be secret without proper justification. [2][3]

Art. 27 of the Constitution states that citizens «have the right to access information held by the public administration, elected institutions and bodies charged with a public service mission» but this right is limited “in order to ensure the protection of all elements regarding national defence, as well as internal and external State security” [assessor’s own translation] (1)

Over the past few years, announcements have been made and actions taken by the Moroccan authorities regarding the development of citizen access to public information, such as the creation of an e-data platform about different sectors of government and state activity. However, the defence sector was exempt from this initiative (2).

Moreover, the press has reported that this access to information is currently under threat (3).

There are therefore currently no legislation or implementation guidelines that clearly elaborate on access to information for the defence sector. Instead, access to information related to national defence has been excluded from platforms which are openly accessible to citizens through the law 31-13 regarding access to information. Based on the above, it can be concluded that all information relating to defence is automatically restricted.

This sub-indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Despite announcements in 2015 by the Government, no development has been made since 2013 relating to the accessibility of defence information. No evidence was found regarding the regulating mechanisms for classifying information on the grounds of protecting national security (1).

Evidence was found in the 2013 Code of Public Procurement Contracts surrounding the legal provisions of the classification of information on the grounds of protecting national security. This evidence stems only from a few articles, namely:
– Article 86: Procurement contracts benefiting the Armed Forces can be processed without prior publicity or calls for tenders.
– Article 129: Architectural consultancy projects benefiting the Armed Forces can be processed without prior publicity or calls for tenders.
– Article 171: The National Defence Administration is exempt from the following restrictions: budget restraints (Article 6), publicising of offers (Articles 17, 36, 46, 63, 104 and 121), publication of the estimated programme, market achievement reports and a number of other documents (Article 147), use of electronic exchange procedures for documents and reverse electronic bids (articles 148, 149 and 151), market audits and controls (Article 165), control over military equipment, weaponry and ammunition procurement contracts (Article 156).

Art. 27 of the Constitution states that citizens «have the right to access information held by the public administration, elected institutions and bodies charged with a public service mission» but this right is limited “in order to ensure the protection of all elements regarding national defence, as well as internal and external State security” [assessor’s own translation] (1)

Over the past few years, announcements have been made and actions taken by the Moroccan authorities regarding the development of citizen access to public information, such as the creation of an e-data platform about different sectors of government and state activity. However, the defence sector was exempt from this initiative (2).

Moreover, the press has reported that this access to information is currently under threat (3).

There are therefore currently no legislation or implementation guidelines that clearly stipulate access to information for the defence sector, which means that in practice the public is not legally or technically able to access information about the defence sector.

There is the Media Law, which was enacted in 2014 [1]. According to Article 6(a), the media is entitled to request news and information which are accessible to the public, except for statements, photographs and records whose security is classified under the law or directives of a certain authority or respective organisation [2]. The media has the right to access information from the defence sector but the disclosure of requested information is decided upon by the military, according to Article 6 of the Media Law [2]. The Burma Official Secrets Act prohibits the public from accessing government information. According to the Burma Official Secrets Act, all government materials, whether a sketch, plan, model, article, note, document or information itself or the substance, are classified and defence materials are highly classified. Citizens who attain and control government information shall be punished by 2 years’ imprisonment under the Act [3]. During a press conference with the media council, General Tun Tun Nyi from the Tatmadaw True News team said that a website and address were given to the media council and the respective official will answer the interview questions of the registered press [4]. The Tatmadaw True News team is currently the main official source of information about Myanmar’s military [1].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI. According to Article 6(a) of the Media Law, the media is entitled to request news and information which are accessible to the public, except for statements, photographs and records whose security is classified under the law or directives of a certain authority or respective organisation [1]. However, information relating to military matters is highly classified and access to this information is prohibited without the permission of the military, according to the Burma Official Secrets Act [2]. During a press conference with the media council, Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun from Tatmadaw True News team said that the Tatmadaw will not be able to publish news that is inappropriate to release [3]. According to the Burma Official Secrets Act, all government materials, whether a sketch, plan, model, article, note, document, or information itself or the substance, are classified and defence materials are highly classified. So there are no specific provisions for the classification of information. The media can access information that the government thinks should be accessed by the media.

The general public is rarely able to access information from the defence sector. For example, people are unlawfully arrested and detained by the military in Rakhine State and the family members, MPs and CSOs request information about the victims. But the military usually ignores those requests [1]. Sometimes, family members only receive information after the victims have died [2]. So, requesting information on military matters is unimaginable. The military’s True News information team holds press conferences monthly and each media outlet can ask three questions within a limited time frame. The True News information team sometimes refuses to answer questions that they do not wish to answer [3]. Two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were arrested and sentenced to seven years in prison under the Burma Official Secrets Act because they had been working on an investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys by security forces and Buddhist civilians in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State during an army crackdown that began in August 2017 [4]. All government properties are regarded as secret under the Burma Official Secrets Act and there is no defined mechanism for citizens to request and access government information. In an interview, an individual at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that he couldn’t access any information or documents in the National Archive without the consent of the director of the office in 2019 because all government properties are restricted as national secrets [5].

The Dutch Public Access to Government Information Act provides a legal framework under which the public can access information from the defence sector [1]. Online advice elaborates on Article 3 of the Act, detailing how the public can submit Freedom of Information requests [2]. The criteria for available information is stated, namely that the information must be recorded somewhere (documents, photos, etc.), must be in the possession of the government organisation and must concern information about a (future) policy of the organisation [2]. Article 10 of the Act stipulates exceptions under which requests will be denied, such as privacy or endangering national security, or if the request pertains to an ongoing criminal investigation [1]. The exceptions listed show the categories under which information can be deemed classified and therefore inaccessible to the general public. The right to appeal is outlined in Articles 15a and 15b of the Act, while Article 1.5 offers those who request information three ways to object to the decision: a) object to the administrative body that made the decision, b) lodge an administrative appeal with another body which did not make the decision or c) appeal to a court judge [1].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

In January 2019, the Baseline Information Security Government (BIO) became the basic standard framework for information security at all levels of government [1]. The BIO is based on the international standard for information security. Further action to safeguard information is currently underway [2].

Freedom of information requests are usually fulfilled within a few months, unless the information is classified. Disclosed documents are published online through the government archive [1,2,3]. However, the process is known to be inefficient and time-consuming. In 2020, investigative reporters chronicled their difficulties with the Freedom of Information system, which are still ongoing almost two years after the original requests were made for documents pertaining to the Dutch government’s relationship with Shell [4]. The information received when the journalists submitted a freedom of information request about the handling of their freedom of information requests highlighted some inefficiencies, delays and somewhat problematic procedures [4,5,6].

The Official Information Act governs access to information from the government sector, including Defence [1]. The act clearly sets out how the public can gain access to information [2]; what information is and is not accessible [3]; how the public can appeal decisions [4]; and the independent body which reviews the decisions [5]. Decisions may be investigated and reviewed by the Ombudsmen [6]. The act does not, however, provide an explanation on the categorisation of classified information [see Q30B]. According to the New Zealand Information Security Manual, 1.1.12., “the requirements for classification of Government documents and information are based on the Cabinet Committee Minute EXG (00) M 20/7 and CAB (00) M42/4G(4). The Protective Security Requirements (PSR)INFOSEC2 require agencies to use the NZ Government Security Classification System and the NZISM for the classification, protective marking and handling of information assets” [7].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Classification of information is explained through the Government’s Protective Security Requirements [1, 2]. A more comprehensive overview of information security is also provided by the GCSB’s New Zealand Information Security Manual [3]. However, these are not legal frameworks. It may be argued that information requested by the public could be given a higher security classification if deemed sensitive, thereby preventing its release by an OIA request. However, the security classification of information by itself does not provide reason to withhold it, and information can only be withheld if disclosure would prejudice the interests specified in the legislation [4]. As such, the withholding of information is not determined by classification but by content and impact. Additionally, if one were to contest the decision, the Ombudsman would have to be provided with an appropriate, and justifiable, explanation by the withholding Government department or body.

The Public Service Commission publishes statistics on Official Information Act requests completed by agencies biannually, including the percentage completed within the legislated time frame and number of complaints to the Ombudsman [1]. Based on the Assessor’s experience, the Government’s response time has been adequate. In the process of conducting this assessment, delays have been communicated and signed for by an appropriate official with reasons why a request is delayed and the options open for redress, if so inclined [2]. That complaints to the Ombudsman relating to the Defence Force number only 10 out of a total of 551 (1.8 per cent) for the period January-June 2020, would support such an assertion [3]. Moreover, there were no complaints filed against the NZDF or MoD during the period July-December 2020. A similar pattern is present for the Intelligence Agencies, whereby the NZSIS and GCSB aim to complete all information requests within the legislated time frame. However the two Agencies did have three complaints submitted to the Ombudsman for the period July-December 2020 [4].

It is important to note that the necessary health and safety restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic did cause some OIA response time delays. Prior to New Zealand entering Alert Level 4, the agencies were on track to have 100 per cent of requests completed within the legislated time frame [5]. Nonetheless, the 2020 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders noted that an unspecified number of journalists have demanded changes to the Official Information Act because, in their view, it allows Government to delay processing requests, and sometimes even charges the journalists for collating the information [6]. Given that no charge has been imposed for this assessment by any Government body, such requests would likely be extremely detailed and specific, or even “fishing” in nature (a point raised by a 2012 Law Commission Report) [7]. Moreover, if these actions were as common as popularly believed one would expect to see the issue raised with the Ombudsman in greater numbers which they are not. Due to the extremely small number of NZDF and MoD complaints received by the Ombudsman, the evidence shows that effectiveness is not an issue for the defence sector. However, ineffectiveness relating to the accessing of information for other sectors does appear to be an issue, based upon the number of OIA complaints received. Sections of the Act do need revision in order to make the legislation more workable and enhance its overall effectiveness.

There is legislation that stipulates access to information for the defence sector. As defined by the 2011 Ordonnance, administrative documents are separated into “communicable” and “noncommunicable”, which implies various levels of state secrecy. Officials are required to provide the legal grounds for denial of a request which must be notified in writing; requesters are able to appeal (2).
However, the Order lacks explicit provisions for:
– Method for classifying administrative documents;
– Existence of an active, independent, external review body (although citizens can appeal to the “médiateur de la République”, as per Articles 27–31).
For a score of 4, Niger would need legislation and implementing guidelines regulating citizens’ access to defence information, including the type of documents that are accessible, how public access decisions are made, a method for classifying documents, recourse for citizens to appeal a decision and the existence of an “active, accessible, independent, external appeal or review body” to audit such decisions. A score of 2 suggests that there is legislation and implementing guidelines that stipulate access to information for the defence sector (which is the case in Niger) but does not contain all the elements needed for a score of 4 (precise method for classifying administrative documents and existence of an external review body). While articles 12-14 establish some framework for classifying information, these could be developed further. 

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

As defined by the 2011 Ordonnance, administrative documents are separated into “communicable” and “noncommunicable”, which implies various levels of state secrecy. The law establishes procedures for accessing them and paying related costs. Officials are required to provide the legal grounds for denial of a request which must be notified in written form; individuals making the request are able to appeal’ (1).
For a score of 4, the government would need to operate within a clear legal framework allowing it to classify documents, articles 12-14 of the 2011 Ordonnance do not provide for a detailed and clearly formulated framework. A score of 2 is therefore more suitable for this sub-indicator.

Following desk research, it appears that information which is not classified as confidential is accessible to the public. This information is used in several reports by international organisations. However, Niger has a minimal capacity in terms of infrastructural constraints that may result in delays to access (1). See examples below from the Small Arms Survey (2017):
“Some agencies record these transfers, while others do not. And seized weapons may change custody several times, resulting in the duplication of records. All of these shortcomings should be considered in future efforts to create a national database.”
“While the police keep track of local firearms seizures and armed robberies, the collation of data at the national level is limited. The police provided no data on weapons seizures for this study.”
“The gendarmerie collects data from its regional units (called légions), which it aggregates in a thorough annual report. The dataset is the most comprehensive in the country and allows for some analysis of trends over time.”

There is no classification of confidential information. However, the freedom of information act does apply to the defence sector, but compliance with the requirement of the legislation is poor. Section 1(2) of the Official Secret Act says that “a public officer who fails to comply with any instructions given to him on behalf of the government as to the safeguarding of any classified matter which by virtue of his office is obtained by him or under his control is guilty of an offence” (1). There is insufficient clarity of how the Official Secrets Act is consistent with the Freedom of Information Act which identifies the classes of documents or information which a member of the public can request from an agency or government department. Many government communication documents are not classified, even if their exposure can lead to the compromise of national security. The Official Secrets Act is unclear, and this contributes to the reluctance of public officials to release information under the Freedom of Information Act even where the type of information is disclosed under the Act (2).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Freedom of information applies to the defence sector. However, in practice compliance is not satisfactory. Despite the passage of Freedom of Information (FOI) Act by the National Assembly six years ago, Nigerian security institutions are still hoarding information relating to procurement process (1), (2). Section 37 of the Constitution and Section 3 (c) of the FOI Act list different categories of information the public can access (1). It is clear from the laws that the public is entitled to information relating to the receipt or expenditure of public or other funds of the institution. The right to request information from any public institution includes the military. However, despite these wide-ranging duty on public institutions they rarely respond to freedom of information Act requests. Under Sections 2(7) & (6) a person entitled to the right of access conferred by this act shall have the right to institute proceedings in the court to compel any public institution to comply with the provisions of this section (3), (4).

The defence sector rarely complies with requests for information from the Freedom of Information Act (1), (2).

The legal framework for accessing information within the defence sector is outlined in the Law on Free Access to Public Information [1] and in the Law on Classified Infоrmation [2]. Article 4 of the Law on Public Information stipulates that every legal entity in the country possesses the right to freely access public information. This right can be requested orally, in written or in an electronic form, according to Article 12-1 of the Law on Public Information [2]. Rejections of these requests are based on the confidentiality of the information (which can be either a classified, private or commercial, according to Article 6) [2]. In order to ensure free access to information, the holder of public information is obliged to appoint one or more officials whose role is to implement the sufficient procedures to enable free access to information (Article 8) [2]. The procedure to appeal is outlined in Article 28 [2]. The appeal can be made within 15 days of receiving the decision from the holder of information and should be submitted to the Commission for Protection of the Right to Free Access to Public Information (CPRFAPI). This is an independent, external body which decides on appeal applications [3]. On its website, the Ministry of Defence outlines the rights of free access to public information and provides full details on the procedure of requesting information, as well as providing contact details and other useful legal information [4].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI. The Law on Classified Information regulates the classification of information to determined the conditions, criteria and measures under which information can be classified [1]. This laws also determines the process of protecting this classified information (Article 1) and ensures its lawful use, preventing of any type of illegal access to such information (Article 2). The Law also stipulates the need for a Directorate for Security of Classified Information (Article 62).

Oral and written requests to information are answered within 10 to 30 days, in accordance with Articles 13 and 21 of the Law on Free Access to Information [1]. Classified Information is released based on the level of confidentiality and “need to know basis” specified in the Law on Classified Information, Articles 11 and 22) [2].
The annual reports of the Ministry of Defence access to public information for the period 2016-2019 provide the following data:
– 142 queries in total,
– 124 positive decisions on access to information,
– 3 queries forwarded to other institutions (holders of infor mation),
– 12 requests rejected due to classification of documents,
– 14 compliants in total, of which 13 were endorsed and 1 rejected,
– 0 appeals to courts [3] [4].

The Norwegian Freedom of Information Act provides for a general right of access to information [1]. It also allows for classification of information on the grounds of national security interests or the defence of the country and denies access to confidential information. The classification system is provided by the Security Law, which specifies that classification must ensure that information is marked with the appropriate security level [2]. The Security Act of 2019 states that the Norwegian National Security Authority applies classification, authorises other entities to handle classified information and provides regulations on classification. The National Security Authority is under the supervision of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security. Section 32 of the Freedom of Information Act affirms the possibility to appeal a refusal to access information. Refusals to make information available (including where defence issues are involved) can be appealed to the Parliamentary Ombudsman for Public Administration. The Ombudsman can express his opinion on matters that fall within his mandate, but he does not have the authority to adopt binding decisions or to reverse decisions made by the administration. If the administrative agency does not provide a reply within 5 working days of receiving the request, this shall be regarded as a refusal which may be appealed.

This indicator is not scored in the GDI. |The Security Act stipulates that classification must ensure that information is marked with the appropriate security level (top secret, secret, confidential, restricted). Security classification should not happen to a greater extent than is strictly necessary, and information should not be given a higher security level than is necessary. Security classification should not be in effect for longer than is strictly necessary, with a maximum of 30 years, after which the information should be declassified [1].

Data collected by the Open Government Partnership shows that Norway’s commitment to making information accessible is high. Norway scores especially high on quality and timeliness with regard to the right to information [1]. Section 32 of the Freedom of Information Act affirms the possibility to appeal a refusal to access information [2]. If the administrative agency does not provide a reply within 5 working days of receiving the request, this shall be regarded as a refusal which may be appealed. Refusals to make information available can be appealed to the Parliamentary Ombudsman for Public Administration. In 2019 there were a total of 25 appeals on issues concerning the defence sector to the Parliamentary Ombudsman for Public Administration; 19 were rejected and, of the 6 that were examined, only 1 ended up with criticism [3].

According to multiple sources, there is no legal framework or policy that provides individuals, institutions or NGOs access to information on defence issues in Oman. It is not permitted and in many cases is criminalized (1), (2). The Omanuna eGovernment portal, published guidelines on Oman’s vision on open data on national statistics, budgetary information, geographical data, laws and regulations, and data about education and transport (3). However, no explicit reference is made to information access on the defence sector on either the Omanuna or Ministry of Defence websites (4), (5). The Ministry of Information is legally empowered to restrict information access to the public (6). According to Freedom House, information on local issues is severely restricted, and the Government’s Internet Service Manual has the power to restrict publicly available information (6).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

There is no legal framework that manages the classification of defence data, which is exempted from the data protection Royal Decree of 2015 (1). According to Omanuna guidelines, government data containing personal or classified information, like issues of national security cannot be published (2), (3). No information was found regarding how the Omani government ensures that sensitive information is protected (4), or setting forth classification of information related to defence and security issues (5).
Sayyid Badr bin Saud bin Harib al Busaidi, the minister responsible for Defence Affairs, links eGovernance to the modernisation of the ministry while “taking into account the confidentiality of military information and its security” (6). This is the only information regarding defence and access to information on the ministry’s website. There is a legal framework classifying information to ensure data protection; however, no further information is available, and the legal framework does not seem to apply to defence.

The public in Oman cannot have access to any military, defence or security data. It is not permitted and any individual who tries to ask for such information is subject to criminal charges (5). Publicly available information from the defence sector is severely limited (1). Media outlets rarely report on the defence sector translating into a gap in public awareness (2,3). Despite Omanuna guidelines and recent attempts by the Omani government to open data to public, classifications on sensitive data restrict information about the defence sector (4). For example no information is available on defence expenditure as discussed in sub-indicator 14A-C.

There is no legislation or guidelines that provide the public, journalists or CSOs access to information, in general, and security/military sector information in particular (1). According to AMAN, there is a proposed “Freedom to access information” law. However, it is not ratified yet, by either the legislature or the executive (2). This law has been proposed for years, and according to multiple sources involved in the drafting of the law, the security establishment will be largely exempt from giving information to the public if this law is ratified in future (3).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

There is no legal framework for the classification of information to ensure adequate data protection (1). According to several journalists, information can be obtained using personal connections or through leaks (1), (2), (3).

According to Aman reports, the public is rarely able to access information from the security sector, if at all (1). Journalists and CSOs also have difficulties in accessing information (2). According to the Law of Publishing and Printing (1995), journalists are prevented from publishing secrets and sensitive information (3).

The proposed Freedom of Information (FOI) Act aims to mandate the disclosure of public documents. The bill outlines the exceptions for public disclosure and the procedures for accessing public documents [1]. While the proposed bill is still pending in Congress, the President signed Executive Order (EO) No. 2 in 2016 mandating full public disclosure of all offices under the executive branch including but not limited to the national government and all its offices, departments, bureaus, office, and instrumentalities including government-owned and -controlled corporations, state universities and colleges [2]. This EO operationalises Section 7, Article III of the 1987 Constitution on the right of the people to access information on matters of public concern [3]. As an implementation guideline, the Defence Department prepared a FOI detailing how the public can access information, what information is and is not available, how classified information is categorised, how to appeal if denied information and the external unit responsible for reviewing access decisions [4, 5, 6, 7].

This indicator is not scored in the GDI. Through the Inventory of Exceptions to Executive Order No. 2, 2016, the government operates a system of classification of information under a legal framework [1]. Publicly accessble information includes offical records, public records and documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions or decisions, as well as to government research data used as a basis for policy development [2]. In addition, under Section 17 Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, public officials including military personnel (from the rank of colonel/naval to captain) are required to submit a sworn Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), of which the general public can request a copy [3] .

Some information on defence such as summaries of financials can be accessed online but key details are missing. These can be requested through the FOI but, based on the Defence Department’s report on FOI, most requests are denied, information is not maintained, or information comes under the exceptions list. Further, responses to requests are frequently delayed. As per Executive Order, FOI requests must be answered within 15-20 working days, but in many cases it takes more than a month for requests to be answered [1, 2]. Meanwhile, the Office of the Ombudsman has issued a new guideline that, limiting public access to SALNs, amounts to a violation of a constitutional right [3].

Access to information on the defence sector is granted in general through the Access to Public Information Act of 2001. [1] It contains rules on:
1) Access channels (e.g. website and request),
2) What information is available (all except 4 protected categories, as privacy and classified information),
3) Rules on internal documentation of negative decisions,
4) How the public can appeal those decisions (to the superior body and the court),
5) External, independent appeal body (administrative court).
Duties and internal MoD procedures which concern the sharing of public information are described in two ministry orders [2, 3].
Rules on how classified information is categorised are described in the Act on Protection of Classified Information [4].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The Protection of Classified Information Act of 2010 outlines the cases in which public information can be classified. The “top secret” clause is given to information that may pose a threat to the security of Poland, its citizens or its allies as well as cases when it may lead to the identification and endangering of the Polish security, military, or intelligence service and police officers. The “secret” clause is assigned to the information that might weaken Poland’s international standing and relations with other countries, disrupt its defence policy or the work of the judicial and police systems. The “confidential” clause is assigned to the information that might endanger the foreign or financial policy of Poland or disrupt the proceedings of the administration. The law establishes the procedures regulating the evaluation of the classification clause and the process accompanying the security clearance evaluation [1, 2]. There are descriptive definitions of the different levels of classified information in the act, and as a result, in practice, some level of discretion occurs.

Information requested by citizens, the media, and civil society is provided, but there may be unjustifiable delays. There are many some instances where information is unduly refused or redacted for national security purposes. For example, Panoptykon and ePanstwo – Polish non-governmental organizations – must obtain information in court proceedings from the Military Counter-Intelligence Service and the Public Security Agency [1, 2].
On the other hand however, number of decision refusing access to public information represents 2% of total number of requests, and number of refusing decisions appealed to court represents 0,5% of total request number.

Access to information is regulated by the Access to Information Act [1] which is monitored by the Commission on Access to Administrative Information (CAAI). The CAAI serves as the appeal body, and there is evidence of activity [2]. However, the CAAI has no enforcement capacity, and its rulings are non-binding. The act clearly states how third parties can access defence information [3] and when to defer to the State Secrecy Act [4] but does not define what information is and is not available. Classification of information is regulated under separate legislation.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

There is a clear regime on the classification of information [1], which is based on the Internal Security Act [2] and managed by the National Security Office [3]. State secrecy is the object of a separate but connected regime [4], and is overseen by the Entity for Oversight over State Secrets [5], which has published a single publicly available report [6] where it reports severe difficulties. CAAI rulings show that defence-related organisations sometimes abuse their claim to state secrecy to prevent access to information [7, 8], but these are not enough in number to claim systemic abuse.

There is evidence provided by the CAAI in its annual reports [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] that defence-related institutions provide access to information by third parties upon receiving notice of CAAI rulings recommending information disclosure. FOI requests denied by defence institutions that are not appealed to the CAAI are not recorded, and the quality of the information provided after CAAI rulings is undetermined.

There is no legislation or guidelines that clearly stipulate the need for access to information on the defence sector. Information on the defence sector is not publicly available and it is not permissible to release it if requested. [1,2] It has been established that information about defence in Qatar is scarce. The Hukoomi website (Qatar e-government) does not have any information on the legislations and guidelines regarding the access of information on the defence and security sectors [3]. The only document available in Arabic is Decree No. 31 (2006), which is the Military Service Act. According to Law No. 11 (2016) referring to the State’s Audit Bureau, defence and security sectors are not expected to comply with its regulations [4].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The Government of Qatar does not have any official documents or legislation that clearly describe the system of classification of information [1,2]. Since there is no legal framework that allows access to information on the defence and security sectors, there is no framework for the classification of information. Most information about defence is considered classified. This information includes the defence and security budgets, commercial enterprises, operations, and purchases. Most data about defence that is accessible, is through the media rather than official sources or documents.

The public is rarely able to access information on the defence sector. The Qatari Government does not provide any information about the defence sector, as it is considered to be confidential [1,2]. Defence information is not shared between government departments, with the State Audit Bureau, the Administrative Control and Transparency Authority and the Advisory Council being denied access to such material [3,4]. The only way for the public to access defence data is through non-Qatari media platforms, who occasionally announce arms deals or Qatari business investments abroad. These reports, however, lack detail.

The federal law ‘On Providing Access to Information About the Work of State Agencies’ outlines the public’s right to access information from state agencies and promotes basic principles of openness and transparency in state structures [1]. Article 5 of this law states that classified information includes information that constitutes a state secret and information that is classified in accordance with federal laws [1]. The federal law ‘On State Secrets’ explains how classified information is categorised [2].

There is a collection of laws that formalise the procedure for appealing defence decisions [3].

There is legislation and guidelines regarding public access to defence-related information, but it does not involve all mentioned elements. Article 6 of the federal law ‘On Providing Access to Information About the Work of State Agencies’ describes how the public can access defence-related information [1]. Article 5 defines classified information that shall not be available to the public and how information is selected for disclosure [1]. The federal law ‘On State Secrets’ explains how classified information is categorised [2]. The official MoD website provides links to a collection of laws that formalise the procedure for appealing defence decisions [3]. There is no information indicating which external appeal or review bodies can review decisions on access to information.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The federal law ‘On State Secrets’ [1] and the government decree ‘On the Rules for Assigning Different Degrees of Secrecy to the Information’ [2] outline the procedure for classifying information. The government decree ‘On the Rules for Organising Control Over State Secrecy Protection’ [3] describes regular control measures and reporting procedures for the governmental agencies appointed to control state secrets.

Nevertheless, there have been several cases where the label of ‘state secret’ was assigned to information that federal laws expressly protected from being classified [4,5].

The Minister of Defence Decree No. 555 ‘On Measures to Realise Federal Law No. 59: “On Reviewing Citizens Appeals”‘ [1] outlines major channels, timelines and requirements for responding on citizens appeals. In practice, however, the official MoD response only includes general wording, citations of federal laws and references to other state institutions for further inquiries [2]. The low level of accessibility and lack of transparency regarding official resources is well acknowledged. Presidential Decree No. 150 ‘On the Working Group for Preparing Proposals for the Formation of an “Open Government” system’ promotes and demands the creation of transparent and accessible websites for state institutions [3]. The 2024 plan for an ‘Open Government’ system specifies the elimination of corruption as one of the most important results of the system [4]. Most of the governmental institutions, including the MoD, therefore operate online offices and hotlines.

Saudi law, in general, does not provide for public access to government information (1). There is nothing in the Basic Law of Saudi Arabia, nor any royal decree, or any comparable legal guidelines, that stipulates access to information in the defence sector (2). There is no evidence of a legal and formal method for the public to request information about the defence sector, which has traditionally been characterised by a high level of secrecy. The Saudi government does not have any legislation, resembling a Freedom of Information Act, that would require it to disclose certain data to the general public upon request. According to our sources, trying to access information, especially military information could be considered a crime; and therefore, nobody has tried or tries to access this information (3), (4).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

There is no evidence to suggest that the Saudi government has a legal framework to classify information with regards to the defence sector. However, our sources confirmed that the existence of military and royal decrees prevent sharing or disclosing any type of information regarding military or armed activities including financial expenditures, among others (1), (2). Given the aforementioned high level of confidentiality relating to the internal workings of Saudi government departments and branches, and particularly that of the defence and foreign affairs sector, it is virtually impossible to ascertain from the public domain whether such a framework exists. If it does exist, it is not made public.

On November 21, 2018, a meeting agenda of the Majlis al-Shura referenced two reports by the Committee on Security Affairs relating to “a draft agreement between the Government of Saudi Arabia and the French Government for the exchange and protection of classified and protected information”; and “a draft agreement between the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Government of the Russian Federation on the mutual protection of classified information.” These references indicate that classification of information in the defence sector is on the government’s agenda, though this does not point to the existence of an existing legal framework in that regard (3).
According to a Gulf affairs expert, “it is unlikely that a legal framework for the classification of information will in place in Saudi Arabia for at least five years if not much longer” (4).

According to our resources, there are no known or published examples of a member of the public requesting information from the defence sector and being denied, it is highly unlikely that such a request would be granted (1). A researcher who has been trying to access this information and been denied access more than five times, and at the end, he was questioned by Saudi security about the purpose of his requests (2). The majority of the information that is made publicly available relating to the defence sector is the general information found on the MoD’s website; and Royal Decrees and announcements relating to issues such as new appointments or resignations and another restructuring within the sector. The MoD website does have several Eforms through which it can be contacted; however, these mainly pertain to suggestions or concerns (3). According to Steffen Hertog, there is “unlikely to be a mechanism” allowing the public to access information from the defence sector (4). According to a Gulf scholar who focuses on the political economy of the GCC, “There is no detailed information available, to my knowledge, of the defence budget at all in Saudi Arabia. General fiscal budget reporting is relatively new. One cannot find, for example, any public information on defence expenditure related to the conflict in Yemen. There is not itemized accounting within defence reporting” (5).

The Law on Free Access to Information Public Importance (LFAIPI) regulates free access to information in possession of public authorities. This law stipulates that public interest to get information is always justified unless a government institution can prove the opposite [1]. Nonetheless, the LFAIPI leaves several exemptions from providing free access to information of public importance, including situations when this would “seriously endanger defence of the country, national security or public safety, or international relations” [1]. Data classification is further regulated in the Data Secrecy Act [2]. The Law on Defence further refers to the MoD to apply the Data Secrecy Act [3]. Two government-adopted regulations and one MoD’s rulebook precise criteria for data classification [4, 5, 6]. However, the regulation setting criteria for a higher level of secrecy classification was adopted before the acting law and does not follow the terminologically within it [4]. The recent amendment to the Law on Defence (adopted in May 2018) introduces a list of categories of data which it defines as secret data on defence [7]. This raises concerns because it opens a possibility that large quantities of data a priory get a blanket classification. In June 2018, the commissioner for information of public importance and personal data protection (hereafter the commissioner) submitted a motion to the Constitutional Court of Serbia to ascertain the constitutionality of this legislative provision [8]. The Law has on Free Access to Information Public Importance established the institution of the commissioner as an independent oversight mechanism. The commissioner monitors implementation of the LFAIPI and acts as an appeal body [9]. The Data Secrecy Act endows the commissioner with the right to access data of all levels of classification, with a caveat that for reviewing specific type data additional security clearance would be required [10]. In practice, the commissioner has needed security clearance for accessing data with a higher level of classification and security clearance was issued for periods shorter than a commissioner’s mandate [11]. After the current commissioner’s security clearance expired in 2018, the security background check was delayed and the commissioner has been left without the clearance for several months, which has fundamentally hampered his work [12].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The Data Secrecy Act has four levels of classification: 1) restricted; 2) confidential; 3) secret; 4) top-secret [1]. Classification criteria are also defined in government-adopted classifications and the MoD’s internal regulation.

The MoD has named an employee responsible for responding to requests for access to information of public importance, following the legislative requirements [1]. In 2017, 29 complaints were filed to the commissioner against the MoD for not having responded to the request for access to information of public importance. This means that in 17% of cases when the information was requested from the MoD, the party that submitted the request went on to complain to the commissioner [2]. In eight cases, the MoD refused to provide the requested information, even after the commissioner’s instruction to do so [3]. The analysis of the commissioner’s reports suggests that the MoD is less likely to provide information on politically sensitive issues, foremost Serbian Armed Forces operations in armed conflicts of the 1990s [2, 3]. In 2017, a major issue was also controversy about the discrepancy between the value of the minister’s property and his declared income [4]. In 2017, the commissioner received 9 complaints against institutions other than MoD (Administration for Prevention of Money Laundering, Anti-Corruption Agency) for having failed to submit information about the minister’s property [2].
The MoD also has a Public Relations Department and regularly publishes news items and social media posts about the MoD and SAF activities. A poll of 24 Serbian journalists covering defence and security-related topics in May-June 2018 showed that 22 journalists had approached MoD with a request for some information in the previous three years, out of which 9 had received a complete answer and 11 had received some of the requested information [18]. Nine out of these 20 journalists said that the MoD had responded on the same day, 4 received response within one week, while 7 had waited longer than a week. One journalist stated it sometimes took several months of regular phone calls to the MoD to get an answer, while another one shared that the MoD had replied only after five months and a complaint to the commissioner. [5] Additionally, the average mark given by the surveyed journalists to the completeness of the information provided at the MoD’s website was 2.88/5 (the lowest possible score was 0). [5] The poll was conducted online by Belgrade Centre for Security Policy in the period May 31, 2018 – June 5, 2018. The participants were preselected based on their track record of covering defence and security related topics and asked to fill out an online poll, which itself was anonymous. The results are available upon request.

There is no formal provision for public access to information in the government or defence sector, such as a Freedom of Information Act [1].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

There is evidence that robust mechanisms for classifying information exist and are implemented effectively given the presence of well-established legislation such as the Official Secrets Act and the Protection of Secrecy Act although the relevant regulations have not been disclosed to the public [1, 2]. These laws have shown they have far-reaching effects, with information perceived to be innocuous by individuals nevertheless ruled to be state secrets [3]

This indicator has been marked Not Applicable, as there is no formal provision for public access to information in the government or defence sector like as a Freedom of Information Act [1].

The Protection of State Information Act of 1982 [1] and the Minimum Information Security Standards (MISS) [2] provide the legal framework and policy guidelines for the production, handling, classification and storage of sensitive information. Whether a document should be classified, and the level of grading, is determined largely by the author of the document and the head of the institution from which the document originates. Similarly, the MISS stipulates that document authors and heads of institutions from which the document originates may choose to declassify a document.

It is worth noting that the Promotion of Access to Information (PAIA) Act of 2002 [3] and Section 32 of the Constitution [4] allow for individuals to apply for access to classified information, but that “pubic bodies may refuse access to information if the disclosure poses a reasonable threat to the defence or security of the country.” Chapter 4 of the PAIA make special provision for the classification or redaction of information deemed to constitute a defence or security threat.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The Minimum Information Security Standards (MISS) is a cabinet-approved policy guideline document which outlines the process for classification of information (which receive designations of “Restricted”, “Confidential”, “Secret” or “Top Secret”) [1].

A significant number of performance indicators in the Department of Defence Annual Performance Plan 2018 are marked as “Information Classified”, which the report defines as “classified information that has not been published for the consumption of the public but managed through the appropriate mandated internal and external oversight institutions. However, projections and subsequent reports will be available for audit purposes” [1]. The omission of this information detracts from the transparency of the report. Annual reports are similarly treated by department censors, with transparency observers raising some concerns over financial and performance censorship detracting from the democratic transparency of the Defence Force [2].
Members of the public are entitled to apply for specific information or material through a PAIA request, but if deemed too sensitive, this request may be denied. Time-scales in delivering said material through the PAIA process is unreliable. [3]

The Official Information Disclosure Act grants the public access to information for the defence sector. Article 10 of the Act includes the details of an information request procedure. Article 11 also explains how the decision to disclose information is made. After reviewing the legislation and relevant guidelines, there is evidence that an external appeal or review body reviewing access to information decisions exists in South Korea. While the Information Disclosure Council is responsible for approving information requests, two thirds of the members of the Council can be defence officers. In addition, the public has limited access to defence information due to national security concerns. Article 9 of the Official Information Disclosure Act states information regarding highly sensitive national security and national defence matters can be kept secret. [1]
A detailed list of what kind of information is not released to the public is posted on the MND’s website. [2] However, the descriptions and rules are still ambiguous.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI. The South Korean government discloses defence-related information based on the Military Secret Protection Act. Article 2 of the Act divides military secrets into 3 different categories as follows, depending on the degree of impact on the national security in the case of disclosure: Top Secret, Secret, and Confidential. The Enforcement Decree of the Military Secret Protection Act explains the criteria for military secrets, but it is ambiguous as to what information should be protected. Article 3 of the Enforcement Decree of the Act states that Top Secret is a military secret which is obviously deemed likely to pose a fatal threat to national security if leaked. [1] Due to the ambiguity of the clarification, the extent to which military information should be disclosed among lawmakers is controversial. During the National Defence Committee’s meeting at the National Assembly in October 2018, a lawmaker disclosed information on North Korea issues because he believed that it was not confidential. However, other members disagreed with the information disclosure due to national security concerns. [2]

Although the public can access information through the information request system prescribed by the Official Information Disclosure Act, details are not fully disclosed. For instance, the Ministry of National Defence publishes the mid-term national defence plan, which contains potential defence purchases, via the government website, but it only includes limited information without providing the full detail of each purchase. [1] Interviews with defence journalists reveal that even the media experience difficulties in accessing information about the defence sector. They said that information requests are often declined by the Ministry of National Defence or the military due to national security concerns. Instead, they were able to access information through National Assembly members at the National Defence Committee. [2] [3]

The SPLA Act and the NSS Act do not outline how the public, media, or academia can access defence or security-related information. [1] [2] This is also precisely why there is a dearth of literature on the defence and security sector. [3]

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

There is no legislation governing the classification of official government documents nor any outlining the archiving of such documents.

There are no processes that have been outlined by government on how to access such information, as outlined in 30A. The public rarely has data on the security and defence sector.

Transparency Law 19/2013 states that the information elements of active advertising have been grouped into six subjects: organisation and public employment; high ranks; statistical planning; regulations and other provisions; contracts, agreements, subsidies; and economic and budgetary information. Although there is an explicit limit to the right of access based on defence (Article 14.1.b), access to defence information by the public; information that is readily available; categorisation of classified information; or complaint processes are all included in Law 19/2013 [1].

This indicator Not Scored in the GDI.

Organic Law 3/2018, of 5 December, on Protection of Personal Data and guarantee of digital rights puts in place the mandate of the protection of people in relation to the processing of personal data, considered a fundamental right protected by Article 18.4 of the Spanish Constitution; and the Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and the Council regarding the protection of citizens with regard to the processing of their personal data and the free circulation of these data. All is included in the 3/2018 Law on data protection [1].

The Transparency Portal (transparency.gob.es) limits the ability to access defence information (Art. 14.1.b, Law 19/2013) as in other aspects related to security, economy, and international relations. The Statistical Bulletin of the Transparency Portal of the General State Administration of August 2020 states that delays and missing information is common. 3.3% of consultations were denied or with partial information due to limitations through Article 14.1, and 21% were not admitted under Article 18 [1].

Sudan’s Access to Information Act of 2015 mandates each governmental and non-governmental institution in the country to assign an ‘information coordinator’ to respond to requests submitted to the High Commission for Information, which the Act also required be established [1]. However, a report prepared for Transparency International in 2017 concludes that the law ‘was only outlined during a parliamentary hearing’ and that personal records, information on national security, foreign policy, criminal procedures and select other categories of information are exempted from mandates to release information [2]. The function is not independent of the head of state’s management and fees and penalties may apply to people who request certain types of classified information [2]. In other words, individuals and organisations that are interested in leveraging the law to access information may be discouraged from doing so by the uncertain prospects of negative consequences. A report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reads: ‘the law has been harshly criticised by media experts and journalists as it puts more restrictions on the accessibility of information, includes long and erratic procedures to get information, and use against political opponents and journalists’ [1].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI. Former President Bashir did not share much information about either revenues generated or resources spent on security and defence, even with the Ministries of Finance and Defence [1,2]. Given the tremendous latitude that paramilitary forces had to extract rents and pillage from communities in Sudan and to accumulate and spend resources outside of Sudan (for example, serving as mercenaries in other countries [3], selling gold to thereby raise the funds to buy military supplies [4], etc.), it is highly unlikely that even Bashir had information on all of the activities, including sales and purchases, carried out by Sudan’s various armed forces. In a sense, information is totally compartmentalised without anyone having visibility into all of the compartments, and there is very little will among information-holders to share information. Because of the highly dispersed operational modalities and the environment of competition, distrust and suspicion among Sudan’s armed actors, a consistent and coherent system of information classification across all of these nearly independently operating entities would likely be unimplementable at this time, even if the transitional government had a desire to standardise and formalise information management and protection.

The Ministry of Defence website is currently not in operation [1]. Therefore, information is not easily available on demand, but is sometimes circulated by media reports that draw attention to pronouncements by the Minister of Defence, the Sovereignty Council or other ministries that interact with security sector activities. Sudan’s Access to Information Act of 2015 mandates each governmental and non-governmental institution in the country to assign an ‘information coordinator’ to respond to requests submitted to the High Commission for Information, which the Act also required be established [2]. However, a report prepared for Transparency International in 2017 noted that information on national security, foreign policy, criminal procedures and select other categories of information are exempted from mandates to release information [3]. The function is not independent of the head of state’s management and fees and penalties may apply to people who request certain types of classified information [3]. A report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reads: ‘the law has been harshly criticised by media experts and journalists as it puts more restrictions on the accessibility of information, includes long and erratic procedures to get information, and use against political opponents and journalists’ [2]. It is worth noting that the International Budget Partnership’s 2017 Open Budget Survey for Sudan scored Sudan’s transparency 2 out of 100 [4]. The regime had little interest in sharing information about security and defence, and little incentive to do so, and the new transitional government has only just (in October 2020) gained agreement from some of the rogue forces in Darfur to come to peace; time will tell whether the peripheral actors will actually be willing to share information about their organisation and activities with the Sovereignty Council, ministries and one another. Building that trust will be a prerequisite to giving the public access to that information as well.

The Public Access Law [1] and Law on Freedom of the Press [2] together stipulate how the public can access information pertaining to the defence sector, what information is and is not available, how classified information is categorised, and how the public can appeal denied information requests to a court. Beyond the court system, however, no active, accessible, independent, and external body exists to review access to information decisions.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI. The legal framework of the Public Access Law [1] also clearly dictates the conditions for secrecy, and the government’s ability to operate a system of classification of information on the grounds of protecting national security.

The public is able to access information from the defence sector regularly, in detail, and within a reasonable timeline since all such official documents are covered by the Public Access Law [1] as well as the Law on Freedom of the Press [2]. The law does not mention a specific maximum waiting time but state that information requests must be handled ‘as soon as possible’.

Access to information is regulated in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [1] and the Ordinance on the Protection of Federal Information (Informationsschutzverordnung, ISchV) [2]. In principle “[a]ny person has the right to inspect official documents and to obtain information about the content of official documents” by accessing does documents in situ or by requesting a copy unless it has been published already (Article 6, FOIA). There is a list of exceptions one of them being if that information compromises the security of the confederation. The ISchV defines three levels of classifications: SECRET, CONFIDENTIAL and INTERNAL (Section 2, Article 4). The FOIA has provisions on mediation (article 14) and appeals (Article 16). While the former has to be addressed to the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner, the latter can be addressed to a court that will also have access to information classified as SECRET (Article 16, FOIA). The federal data protection and information commissioner has access to classified documents for mediation, if necessary (Article 20.1 FOIA). The commissioner, although part of the Federal Administration is independent (Article 26.3 of the Federal Act on Data Protection) [3].

This indicator is not scored in the GDI. |The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) establishes access as default principle for governmental information (Article 6) [1]. The classification system is limited to three levels of classification and gives criteria for each of the three categories in Articles 5, 6 and 7 of the Ordinance on the Protection of Federal Information (ISchV) [2]. The ordinance also specifies modalities of who has access to classified documents, the review of classification, and the treatment of classified documents (e.g. in case of erroneous classification). Each ministry has to designate an Information Protection Commissioner, and the ordinance establishes an interministerial coordination body [2].

The Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) publishes online detailed budget information and planning in its submissions to the Federal Assembly (Armeebotschaften and Botschaft Rahmenkredit) [1]. It does also publish some general statistics on its website [2]. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) guarantees access to information including for the defence sector as default (Article 6, FOIA), and establishes procedures to request such information and appeal in case of denial (Articles 14 and 16, FOIA) [3]. Financial information is published with the annual budget [4], and there are internal [5] as well as external audit reports available online [6]. In principle, thanks to the FOIA most information is public. Major procurements going through the parliamentary process are justified in detailed public documents by the government. However, because the budget is not published in full detail and information often has to be requested, it is not available by default (and the parliament itself is exempt from the FOIA). Requests are typically free (Article 17 BÖG) and have to be processed within 20 days (Article 12 BÖG) [7].

There exists legislation and implementing guidelines that clearly stipulate access to information concerning the defence sector; this is under the Freedom of Government Information Law and the Classified National Security Information Protection Act [1, 2].

However, the administrative authorities within the hierarchy of the MND or the NSB, and the “Administrative Procedure Law”, provide high degrees of and executive powers for: 1) how the public can access defence information; 2) what information is and is not available; 3) how classified information is categorised; 4) how the public can appeal those decisions; and 5) that there is an active, accessible, independent, external appeal or review body to review access to information decisions [3].

Interactions among the Freedom of Government Information Law, Classified National Security Information Protection Act and the Administrative Procedure Law decide what defence and security information can be accessed.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The government operates a system of classification of information under a clear legal framework to ensure that information is adequately protected.

Classified information is organised into three categories: Top Secret, Secret, and Confidential. The Executive Branches have absolute power and authority over how information is categorised and how decisions are reached; i.e. the President, the Premier, the Minister of National Defence, the Director-General of the National Security Bureau, and the Secretary-General of the National Security Council [1].

Information will be considered for classification if it concerns the following [1, 2]:
(1) military plans, weapons, or operations;
(2) foreign government information relating to national defence, politics and the economy;
(3) intelligence activities, sources or methods;
(4) technologies, equipment, or facilities for safeguarding the government’s telecommunications and information;
(5) foreign relations or foreign activities of the Republic of China or mainland affairs;
(6) scientific, technological, or economic matters relating to national security;
(7) other categories of information which are related to national security and which require protection against unauthorised disclosures.

The public is able to access unclassified information concerning national security, national defence and the military directly from government archives or documents which are regularly required by law [1, 2].
The Inspector General’s Office publishes the statistics of national defence information application requested by civilians. There were 1,831 requests for national defence information in the first 3 seasons of 2020. Among them, 1,510 cases were approved; 140 cases were partially approved; and 181 cases were rejected. An applicant who has an objection to the decision made by the government agency may seek for administrative relief as provided by law.[4]
Classified information is restricted from the public. The fact that Taiwan does not have security clearance systems for personnel makes applications to access certain information tedious and awkward. Whilst the Executive Branches have absolute power and authority over how classified information is categorised and how decisions are made, security clearance systems for personnel are yet to be established in Taiwan [1, 2].

The Access to Information Act 2016 governs access to information from the public service. [1] However, Section 6(3)(a) specifically allows information to be withheld when it relates to “military doctrine, strategy, capacity, capability, or deployment”, effectively allowing most if not all information to be withheld. The Act outines how the public can access public information in general and provides that they can appeal decisions directly to the government minister. Nevertheless, given the amount of defence information that is ruled out by this act, it is unclear how applicable these processes are.

This indicator is not scored in the GDI. The government operates a system of classification of information under a clear legal framework to ensure that information is adequately protected as there are Laws and regulations that guide ways to disclose and to obtain classified information and, according to Protection of information Act 84 of 1982, state the prohibition of certain acts in relation to prohibited places. [1] Any person who approaches, inspects, passes over, is in the neighborhood of the Republic, shall be guilt of an offence and liable on conviction to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 20 years. It is also prohibited to obtain and disclose certain information to any Foreign state or to any agent or to any employee or inhabitant of any organisation, Party, institution, body, officer, member or active supporter of any hostile organisation; obtain or receive any secret, official code or password or any document, model, article or information used , kept, made or obtained in any prohibited circumstances, or prepares, complies, makes or obtains or receives any document, model, article or information related to any prohibited place or to armament or the defence of the Republic, any military matter, any security matter related to the prevention or combatting terrorism, or any other matter or article, which he knows or reasonably should know may directly or indirectly be used by any foreign state or any hostile organisation, and which for consideration of security or other interest of the Republic, should not be disclosed to any foreign state or any hostile organisation, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to the penalty. Also, National Security Act, 1970 Section 5(2) protects classified information: any person who communicates any classified matter or causes the leakage of such classified matter to any person other than a person to whom he is authorised to communicate it or to whom it is, in the interests of the United Republic, his duty to communicate it to, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twenty years. [2] In a prosecution for a contravention of subsection (1), it shall be no defence for the accused person to prove that when he communicated the matter he did not know and could not reasonably have known that it was classified matter. In the constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania Section 18 on Freedom of expression (a) Every person ¬ has a freedom of opinion and expression of his ideas; (b) has a right to seek, receive and/or disseminate information regardless of national boundaries; (c) has the freedom to communicate and freedom with protection from interference from his communication; and (d) has a right to be informed at all times of various important events of life and activities of the people and also of issues of importance to the society. [3] Therefore the Public has the right to be informed in a correct manner according to rules and regulation of the country.

The Access to Information Act 2016 exempts most defence related information from being disclosed to the public. [1] It is not known whether there are delays and how responsive defence institutions are to requests, given how little information can be requested under the 2016 Act.

According to the Official Information Act 1997, Section 15, the Ministry of Defence is allowed to issue an order prohibiting the disclosure of official information that would jeopardise national security, international relations or national economic or financial security. Nonetheless, this legislation does not provide details on information classification, and neither does the defence-specific guidance on this issue [1]. Even though the Act was largely adopted due to public dissatisfaction with the political climate and distortion of information, the law does not provide detailed guidance on the procedures and necessary steps taken by requesters to demand access to information [2].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI. According to the Official Information Act 1997, Section 11, the official information provided by all state agencies must already be classified and ready for distribution without requiring new classification [1]. Moreover, according to the Rule on Maintenance of Official Secrets (2001, Section 16 and Section 19), the head of each state agency has the duty to determine any information as classified, together with its degree of classification, based on the following criteria: importance of its matters, sources of information, manners of use, number of persons to be notified, impact of disclosure and responsible state agency or authority [2].

Even though the Official Information Act 1997 was largely adopted due to public demand for the right to state information, the law prohibits the disclosure of official information that would jeopardise national security, international relations or national economic or financial security [1]. Since the 2014 military coup, and even after the general election in 2019, the internet has been and remains severely restricted in Thailand. This is partly due to the reforms implemented by the military junta in the regulatory bodies overseeing information and media, which reduced their independence, transparency and accountability [2]. For example, after the military coup of 2014 and since the new anti-corruption law was passed in 2018, the original individual files of the military-appointed National Legislative Assembly (NLA) have been no longer available via the ‘Asset Declaration’ menu button used by researchers to collect data. There are also new restrictions on accessing NACC data, including redactions, restricted summaries of ongoing cases and restrictions on reporting until a case is concluded [3].

The right of access to information is guaranteed by the constitution which provides that the state shall guarantee the right to information and the right to access of information (1). There is legislation regulating the right for accessing information. This legislation guarantees the right to access information for the defence sector. The organic law n° 2016-22, dated 24 March 2016, related to access to information, allows citizens the right to access the administrative documents of public entities (2). Access to some parts of the budget of the Ministry of Defence can be denied if the administration judges that it harms public security or national defence (3). Appeal procedures of such decisions are mentioned in the law and the citizens can appeal before the authority of access to information and the Administrative Court. The Ministry of Defence has a section in its website dedicated to the access of administrative documents which specifies the persons in charge of exercising of this right, as well as the procedure and forms needed to exercise this right (4).

This indicator is not scored.

Law n°88-95, dated 2 August 1988, on archives, stipulates that exemptions to the obligation of the transfer of documents to the National Archive may be made by decree for reasons related to security (Article 13). (1) Furthermore, documents concerning national security cannot be communicated before sixty years have passed. The list of these documents relating to the national security must be established by decree. This being said, after a review of legislation relating to the defence and security sector, such decrees could not be found. No other publicly available sources provided more details on this matter. There is no evidence about the effectiveness of these mechanisms.

No statistics were found about how the Ministry of Defence handles requests for access to information (1). When reviewing decisions of the authority of access to information, a decision directing the Minister of Defence to release documents that did not pose a threat to national security has been found (2). According to our sources, information may be provided when asked for, but with some delays and exceptions (3).

Law No. 4982 on the Right to Obtain Information [1] lays down the guidelines and procedures for individuals to exercise their right to obtain information in accordance with the principles of equality, neutrality and openness, which are the fundamentals of democratic and transparent administration. This law is applicable to the activities of public institutions and organisations, as well as professional organisations that have the capacity of a public institution. According to this law, anybody in Turkey can submit written requests for information via a system called CIMER [2] and the Government should respond within 30 days. However, Article 16 of the law emphasises that any document ‘that can damage the security, foreign relations, national defence or national security of the State, or involves confidential information, documents or secrets of the State, is beyond the scope of the right to obtain information’. Interviewee 3 suggests that Article 16 of this law keeps all defence/security-related issues away from monitoring by civil society [3].

In practice, any question/request for information about defence/security submitted to the CIMER system, which is run directly by the Presidency’s Directorate of Communications, currently operating as a de-facto propaganda agency, is automatically rejected on the grounds that it violates Article 16 of Law No. 4982. It should also be noted that there is no independent, external appeal or review body that reviews decisions on access to information made by the CIMER system. Interviewees 5 and 6 confirmed that they know many people whose CIMER requests for defence/security information have been rejected [4,5].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

The main regulation governing the levels of confidentiality used in the public service in Turkey is the Privacy Grade Documents of 1964, which were enacted by the Council of Ministers Resolution and not published in the Official Gazette due to their ‘SERVICE SPECIFIC’ confidentiality level. Neither the Principles dated 1964 nor the other regulations redefining security classifications include adequate, objective criteria for differentiating between different security classification definitions. For this reason, it is considered necessary to manage the security classification definitions used in the delivery of public service in Turkey within a single regulation, which will enable the differentiation between different security classification definitions based on objective criteria [1]. However, as explained above, according to Article 16 of the Law on the Right to Obtain Information, any information about the defence/security of the State is beyond the reach of the people.

Interviewee 5 also emphasised that the Ministry of Defence and the General Staff are inclined to to put ‘Secret’ on documents, reports and other textual materials, even if they have ‘For Internal Use Only’ level security clearance. Because almost all information about defence/security is secret, there is no need to operate a clear system of information classification [2].

Unfortunately, State actors such as the Presidency, the Ministry of Defence, the Chief of General Staff and the Ministry of Finance are not keen to provide any information about defence/security issues on open sources for public access, thanks to Article 16 of Law No. 4982. Investigative journalists, experts and scholars and defence industry firms can provide information. For example, the 2019 Defence Industry Performance Report published by the Defence and Aerospace Industry Manufacturers Association (SASAD) [1] is available on online sources. Interviewee 3 suggested that almost all information about the financial activities of the defence/security sector have a minimum secrecy level of ‘Close to Public Eye’, meaning that it is not legal to take the documents out of the military facilities [2].

The entry point for any information is through the army/ministry of defence spokesperson [1], who will then make reference to the officer in charge of the information one needs. The Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs (MoDVA) and army websites [2] also contain some information. If one can not access what he or she wants, there is also the Access to Information Act (2005) [3]. This law is an offshoot of Article 41 (1) of the Constitution, which provides for the right of every citizen of access to information in the possession of the State or any other organ or agency of the State. The article provides for exceptions where the release of the information can be denied if it will prejudice the security or sovereignty of the state or interfere with the right to the privacy of any other person. The primary purpose of the Access to Information Act is: “to empower the public to effectively scrutinise and participate in government decisions that affect them”. It is supposed to promote an efficient, effective, transparent and accountable government by providing the public with timely, accessible and accurate information in the confines of the government agencies [4]. Section 32 of the Access to Informatin Act (2005) [5] talks about defence, security and international relations. Subsection (1) states that an information officer may refuse a request for access to a record of the body if its disclosure (a) is likely to prejudice the defence, security or sovereignty of Uganda; (b) subject to subsection (3), is likely to prejudice the international relations of Uganda; or (c) would reveal information supplied in confidence by or on behalf of another State or an international organisation. Sections 37 to 42 [6] of the Access to Information Act (2005) provides for the procedures of appeals should one want to appeal.

This indicator Not Scored in the GDI. The Access to Information Act(2005) [1] provides for the classes of information that can be obtainable from the government agencies; the procedure to be followed in accessing information sought, and any other matters incidental or related thereto.

Section 16 of the Access to Information Act [1] is about the decision on request and notice of information. Subsection (1) of the act states that the information officer to whom an access request is made or transferred shall, subject to Section 17, as soon as reasonably possible, be in any event, within twenty-one days after the request is received (a) determine in accordance with this act, whether to grant the request; and (b) notify the person requesting the access of the decision and, if the person stated as required by section 11 (2)(b), that he or she wishes to be informed of the decision in any other manner, inform him or her in that manner if it is reasonably possible. Furthermore, subsection (2) adds that where the request for access is granted, the notice under subsection (1)(b) shall state– (a) the fee, if any, to be paid upon access. While these provisions are in place, it is not a guarantee that information on secret items will be given, and the time it takes varies according to the nature of information one is seeking.

The Law on State Secrets regulates the existing state secrets framework [1]. The law provides procedures for information classification, types of information to be classified and not to be classified (specific information to be classified is provided by the Security Service of Ukraine Order [2]), how those decisions are made internally, how classified information is categorized, how the public can appeal those decisions. Meanwhile, there is no external independent appeal or review body to review access to inform decisions.
Principles of access to official documents are granted by the following regulatory legal acts:
• The Constitution of Ukraine.
• The Law “On information” of 2011 as amended (at that, all provisions on access to public information were removed from the Law. Such decision (adoption of two laws) was caused by the necessity of accommodation of political positions of different factions of the parliament and became, in fact, the result of a political compromise).
• The Law of Ukraine “On Public Appeals” of 1996 as amended (the last amendment is dated 2016) [3].
• The Law of Ukraine “On Access to Public Information” of 2011 as amended (the last amendment is dated 2015) [4].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

Decisions on the classification of information are made by special public officials called “state experts on secrets” [1]. The state experts on secrets participate in the development of criteria for determining the damage that can be inflicted on the national security of Ukraine in case of disclosure of classified information and decides on reasons for classification of information. Those reasons are not made public [1]. The information on the List of Classified Information approved by the SSU Order is not always specific and disaggregated [2], which creates possibilities for discrete decisions on whether a piece of particular information is indeed subject to classification or not. Thus the system of classification does not seem to function under a clear legal framework.
In accordance with the procedure established by the Law “On Secrets of State” the following information is classified as secret of state in the defence sector:
– on content of strategic and operational plans and other documents of tactical control, preparation and realization of military actions, strategic and mobilization deployment, as well as the other most important factors which describe organization, number, disposition, combat and mobilization readiness, combat and other military trainings, armament and materiel support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military units;
– on directions of development of certain armament, military and special equipment, its quantity, tactical and technical characteristics, production organization and manufacturing techniques, scientific, research and developmental works related to development of new samples of armament, military and special equipment or its modernization, as well as the other works which are planned or executed for benefit of defence of the state;
– on disposition, characteristics of control points, content of measures of national, regional and, if necessary, municipal and district level on getting national system of civil protection of population and territories ready to fulfilment of the tasks during the special period and organization of communication (alerting) system in the special period, capacities of populated localities, regions and certain objects in terms of evacuation, population deconcentration and provision of its living; provision of manufacturing activities of the national economic entities in the war-time;
– on a geodesic, gravimetric, cartographic and hydrometeorological data and characteristics being of importance for the defence of the state.

The public can access information as well, as the defence and security institutions tend to provide the information requested. According to interviews with two individuals that have experience in sending out requests for information, state authorities generally respond promptly although there are cases of delays as well as sometimes they experience receiving responses that do not provide the information requested or get refusals altogether [1]. Another example is a study of the Financial and Economic Analysis Office in the VRU, which is based on the information provided by the MoD [2]. However, there is also experience of receiving responses from the Security Service of Ukraine for information requests with the de-facto refusal to provide information only because of a mistake in the formulation which did not affect the content of the request [3]. However, one employee of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine stated that some documents are not declassified on time (like the State Defence Order of Ukraine), and their classification deadline has been repeatedly prolonged [4]. This is an example of the public not having adequate access to information.
According to a 2016 Annual Report by the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights [5], refusals to provide information, which is public according to the law, were systematic despite the direct prohibition to restrict access to it (Article 6 of the Law). This information concerned:
– Declarations on property, revenues, expenses and financial liabilities of public officials;
– Salaries of public officials paid from the state or local budgets;
– Information on the disposal of the state or public property (disposition of land plots, buildings, movable assets etc.).
Furthermore, custodians of information denied in requests satisfaction due to:
– Receipt of request through e-mail, although such right of the requestor is set by the law;
– Absence of a signature in a request received by e-mail, although the Law doesn’t set such requirement for electronic request;
– Absence of a letter of attorney for representation of interests of a legal entity, although the requestor isn’t obliged to attach such letter of attorney to request according to the law;
– Mentioning of personal data of public officials, for example, their signatures, which is downright illegal;
– Posting of the requested information on the website, although rejections for such reasons are forbidden by express law;
– Failure to reimburse expenses for copying the documents by the requestor who wasn’t provided with information on the sum and payment details;
– Filing of the requested information by another subject although the Law directly states that all information that is in possession of the subject of authority is public and such ground for request dissatisfaction isn’t envisaged;
– Failure to mention the objective of requested information reception, although the Law directly states that the requestor has a right not to specify the objective of the information requested;
– The fact, that the Law envisages provision of information and not copies of the documents, although the Law stipulates the right of the person to receive information in any form;
– Entering requested information in a departmental list of information with restricted access, although there isn’t a reason for the refusal to satisfy a request in any provision of the Law;
– The fact, that the Law doesn’t reach information on activities of the state and public enterprises and agencies.
The courts, also support the nondisclosure of information for the reasons mentioned above when considering disputes on such issues.
Lastly, according to the Law “On State Secret”, the level of secrecy of any top-secret documents cannot exceed ten years, for secret – five years [6]. However, the Law does not explain how these should be counted and how a reduction of the secrecy level is implemented in the MoD which is often encountered in practice (from top-secret – to secret, from secret – to non-secret). Therefore, a top-secret State Defence Order from 2017 would only be publically available in 2032. There is evidence that some exclusions in terms of direct secret level changes from top-secret to non-secret have taken place, but they depended on state experts on secret decisions [3]. This practice provides evidence that the State Defence Order of Ukraine was never declassified, while the term of secrecy was prolonged [7]. This is an example of overclassification, as well as key information not available to the public.

There are no mechanisms or implementing guidelines that clearly stipulate access to information for the defence sector. It has previously been established that accessing information about the defence is extremely difficult and that there is a total lack of transparency in relation the defence sector in the country, and there is not an official way to access information about the defence. Information on the defence sector is highly confidential and attempts to get such information may subject the researcher or the journalist to persecution and imprisonment (1), (2), (3), (4).

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI.

It has been established that there is no clear legal framework stipulating access to information for the defence sector. It has also become clear that there is also no legal framework for the classification of information to ensure adequate data protection. Most information about the defence sector is considered classified, and they are treated as state secrets. This information includes the defence and security budgets, commercial enterprises, operations and purchases (1), (2), (3), (4). Internet-based research in both Arabic and English revealed that the UAE does not have any framework for the classification of official information, and internet searches mostly come up with results dealing with the UAE’s restrictions over the right to privacy and individual data protection and our interviews support this conclusion (5), (6).

This sub-indicator is not scored.

The public is rarely able to access information from the defence sector, if at all. Desk-based research showed that the UAE government does not provide any information about the defence sector, and all information related to the defence sector is considered confidential, and they are treated as state secrets.

The UK Ministry of Defence operates a publication scheme which makes information available to the public about how it operates and how it spends its budget [1]. Members of the public can also make requests for information under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act [2]. The publication scheme specifies how the public can access defence information, what information is and is not available and how the public can appeal those decisions [1]. The Information Rights Compliance team conducts independent review on the way the access to information request was handled [1]. The Government Security Classifications Policy stipulates how classified information is categorised [3].

The FOIA 2000 provides a right of access to information but also includes absolute exemptions for the security services and national security (s23 and s24) and a public interest test exemption for defence (s26) [2]. Requesters who are refused information can appeal first to the MOD, then to the Information Commissioner’s Office – the independent regulator of information rights – and then to the Information Tribunal. Although the process is slow, it is free. The FOIA 2000 is also the legislation which mandates authorities to create publication schemes [4].

This indicator is Not Scored in the GDI. The Government operates a system of classification of information under a clear legal framework to ensure that information is adequately protected. The Government Security Classification Policy specifies that information assets may be classified into three types: OFFICIAL, SECRET and TOP SECRET. Each attracts a baseline set of security controls providing appropriate protection against typical threats. Additionally, ICT systems and services may require enhanced controls to manage the associated risks to aggregated data or to manage integrity and availability concerns [1].

An overview of the Transparency and Freedom of Information releases of the MoD suggests that the public is able to access information within a resonable timeline [1]. For example, one request about air safety statistics that was submitted on the 18th of June received a response on the 15th of July, less than a month after it was submitted, and the response is reasonably detailed in terms of providing the information that was requested [2]. FOI responses are regularly released by the MoD on a weekly basis and generally contain detailed information [1]. It is worth noting, however, that there is a general trend across UK government of fewer disclosures and worsening compliance under FOI [3]. From July to September 2020, 9 of the main government departments failed to meet the timeliness target (20 days) for responding to requests – these include the MoD [4].

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) states that any person has the right to request access to federal agency information, however, there are nine exemptions, which include classified information for national defence or foreign policy [1]. The FOIA also includes the right to request access to classified records under the Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) [2].

The DOD FOIA Handbook details how to file a FOIA request and how to appeal a denial of a request. The handbook follows DoD Directive 5400.07 [3]. Each service has its own Requester Service Centre which responds to FOIA requests for their own records [4].

The classification system is regulated by executive orders, which are updated periodically by the sitting president. The current classification system (as of early 2021, is regulated by Executive Order 13526, which was signed by President Obama [5]. The Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO) is the oversight body for the Government security classification system [6]. In particular, this body is responsible for overseeing Executive Order 13526 on National Security Information [7]. It provides information on the different levels of classification [8]. The ‘Mandatory Declassification Review’ (MDR) is the mechanism through which an individual can request declassification and the release of classified information, and the request for MDR can be submitted via the ISOO [9].

There is no information available on how these decisions are reviewed internally by the DoD Requester Service Centres.

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI. Executive Order 13526 sets out the classification standards that are followed by all government agencies [1]. This is incorporated by the DoD through DoD Manual 5200.01 on Classification and Declassification, which provides guidelines on designation of classification and dissemnation of information [2]. The manual is publicly available.

The 2017 ISOO annual report stated that the national security classification system is unsustainable, with an excess of classification, which impedes the proper sharing of information, and too little declassification, which undermines the trust of the public [3]. The 2019 annual report outlined that the the government’s ability to protect and share classified national security information presents serious challenges to national security [4]. The reports, alongside the 2018 report [5], detail concerns that the government does not invest in the necessary technology to support information mangement and security. The Public Interest Declassification Board claimed that there is bipartisan recognition that the Government classifies too much information and keeps it classified for too long [6]. Overclassification has been recognised as a critical issue facing the DoD, and concerns about classification increased during the Trump administration [7,8,9].

In 2019, Congress required the DoD to prepare a report on how it will meet its obligations to declassify a backlog of classified records [10].

The DoD FOIA Handbook states that an initial determination to release or deny a request should be made within 20 working days of receiving the request [1]. According to the DoD FOIA Officer Report in 2019, the DoD received 54,000 requests and 89% of those requests were processed in under 100 days [2]. In 2020, 50,006 requests were received by the DoD, of which 12,429 were granted in full and 16,980 were partially granted/partially denied; meaning 58.8% of FOIA requests were fully or totally granted [3]. As noted in 30A, there are nine exemptions under which a FOIA request can be rejected, which are designed to protect sensitive information while keeping large portions available to the public on request. There is strong evidence, however, that one of these exemptions is used with high frequency and at times, for example, during the investigation into presidential involvement in Ukraine in 2019, it is misused for political gain [4].

According to Steven Aftergood, Director of the Government Secrecy Project, the classification system has not changed but the application of those rules has changed, largely to restrict categories of information that had been previously been publicly available [5]. For example, in August 2017, President Trump announced that the DoD would no longer publish the number of troops in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, a figure that was previously published every quarter [6,7].

There is no specific regulation regarding access to defence sector information, and there are no public access information systems containing information relating to this sector. Access to information is a issue that has been criticised by various civil organisations, since the Venezuelan state has not passed laws allowing or facilitating access to Information [1]. While the Venezuelan constitution establishes the option to request information about the public administration through petition rights as a right [2], this only refers to administrative information and is not designed to facilitate public access to detailed management information. Moreover, most of these requests tend to be denied by the state and the judiciary [1].

This indicator is not assigned a score in the GDI. Public administration information available in different data systems is mainly regulated by the Infogovernance Law [1], which establishes computer security and protection systems for all public information. However, this law provides no specific classifications for the defence sector beyond stating that information is not considered to be of a public nature when it compromises the security and defence of the nation.

Bearing in mind that there are no public information systems with information on defence and security [2], the regulation does apply to other systems – leaving questions of protection of information open to the state’s interpretation of importance for maintaining sovereignty and national security. Although the improvement of transparency in public administration is established as one of the principles of the law, no concrete actions are laid out for the defence sector, nor are any mechanisms created to facilitate access to information.

Social organisations have criticised the lack of regulation on classified information. Although the constitution states that the executive may withhold certain classified information concerning the security of the nation, this must be done in accordance with the law [3]. No such law has been created through the country’s legislation [4].

There are no public systems for the publication of information on the defence sector and the existing system is part of the internal functioning of the Ministry of the People’s Power for Defence (MPPD), only accessible by authorised personnel [1]. Likewise, there is no law regulating confidential information. According to civil society organisations, while there is a law allowing public access to information and mechanisms available for requesting information from the public administration, petitions are constantly denied in court [2].

There are general constitutional provisions on access to information that gives citizens the right to obtain public information [1]. There are no specific provisions pertaining to access to information aggregated specifically for the defence sector. There is also the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) which gives public office bearers powers to withhold certain information from the public for a period of up to 90 days from the day of the request [2]. However, there is a process of repealing the act which is already in motion; it will be replaced by three separate acts which have already been gazetted [3]. Though analysts and media practitioners have already concluded that the proposed replacement acts will not change the situation regarding obtaining public information, let alone one that relates to the defence sector [4].

This indicator is not scored in the GDI.

The Official Secrets Act is the general piece of legislation that guides the classification of information. The act puts categories to information that cannot be shared with unauthorised individuals, and this includes security-related information, and there are heavy penalties for breaching the Official Secrets Act [1]. This greatly limits the extent to which information about security and defence can be reported by the media or civic groups [2]. In addition, the rules and procedures of how information is deemed classified are themselves classified.

The public is rarely able to access information on finances and expenditures from the defence sector, if at all [1]. However, journalists can make enquiries through the Public Relations Department in the Ministry of Defence, and they can respond, but they do not provide financial documents even if they are requested [2]. They usually say the documents are sensitive. Responses from the PR department can be given within 24 hours to sometimes within a week, and sometimes they do not respond at all, depending on how politically sensitive the requests are [2].

Country Sort by Country 30a. Legal framework Sort By Subindicator 30b. Classification of information Sort By Subindicator 30c. Effectiveness Sort By Subindicator
Albania 100 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Algeria 0 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Angola 50 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Argentina 50 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Armenia 25 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Australia 100 / 100 NS 25 / 100
Azerbaijan 25 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Bahrain 0 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Bangladesh 0 / 100 NS NEI
Belgium 100 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Bosnia and Herzegovina 50 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Botswana 25 / 100 NS 25 / 100
Brazil 100 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Burkina Faso 25 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Cameroon 0 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Canada 100 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Chile 100 / 100 NS 50 / 100
China 0 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Colombia 50 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Cote d'Ivoire 50 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Denmark 100 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Egypt 0 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Estonia 75 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Finland 100 / 100 NS 50 / 100
France 50 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Germany 50 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Ghana 25 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Greece 25 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Hungary 50 / 100 NS 0 / 100
India 75 / 100 NS 75 / 100
Indonesia 50 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Iran 50 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Iraq 0 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Israel 75 / 100 NS 25 / 100
Italy 50 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Japan 75 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Jordan 0 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Kenya 50 / 100 NS 25 / 100
Kosovo 25 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Kuwait 0 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Latvia 100 / 100 NS 75 / 100
Lebanon 50 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Lithuania 75 / 100 NS 75 / 100
Malaysia 50 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Mali 0 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Mexico 50 / 100 NS 25 / 100
Montenegro 50 / 100 NS 25 / 100
Morocco 0 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Myanmar 25 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Netherlands 100 / 100 NS 50 / 100
New Zealand 75 / 100 NS 75 / 100
Niger 50 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Nigeria 25 / 100 NS 0 / 100
North Macedonia 100 / 100 NS 75 / 100
Norway 100 / 100 NS 100 / 100
Oman 0 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Palestine 0 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Philippines 75 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Poland 100 / 100 NS 75 / 100
Portugal 50 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Qatar 0 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Russia 50 / 100 NS 25 / 100
Saudi Arabia 0 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Serbia 25 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Singapore 0 / 100 NS NA
South Africa 50 / 100 NS 50 / 100
South Korea 50 / 100 NS 50 / 100
South Sudan 0 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Spain 100 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Sudan 25 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Sweden 75 / 100 NS 100 / 100
Switzerland 100 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Taiwan 100 / 100 NS 75 / 100
Tanzania 25 / 100 NS 25 / 100
Thailand 50 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Tunisia 100 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Turkey 25 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Uganda 100 / 100 NS 50 / 100
Ukraine 50 / 100 NS 50 / 100
United Arab Emirates 0 / 100 NS 0 / 100
United Kingdom 100 / 100 NS 75 / 100
United States 75 / 100 NS 75 / 100
Venezuela 0 / 100 NS 0 / 100
Zimbabwe 0 / 100 NS 0 / 100

With thanks for support from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs who have contributed to the Government Defence Integrity Index.

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