In a victory for transparent government, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni has announced that government dealings with private groups will now be made public.
The decision follows a number of cases, such as the building of express lanes on the Tel Aviv highway and the discovery of offshore natural gas, in which the state has passed control of public resources over to private for-profit companies.
“When the state transfers resources into private hands,” Livni said, “the communication needs to be transparent and open for public scrutiny…the relationship needs to be transparent, accessible, and open to the public.”
This breakthrough is the result of a concerted campaign by NIF grantee the Movement for Freedom of Information. Alona Winograd, the organization’s director, said in response: “This takes a step forward in the quest to ensure freedom of information in Israel. It allows the public to monitor cases where the government has decided to privatize. It ensures that the government has an obligation to report to its citizens. This will lead to better behavior, and to strengthening the public’s faith in the government.”
The Movement for Freedom of Information attempts to create an environment in which the right to seek and receive information becomes an integral aspect of civil society. It works to implement the Freedom of Information Law by submitting Freedom of Information requests to public officials, both in the executive agencies and in the Knesset.