The Right to Know is a timely and compelling
consideration of a vital question: What information should
governments and other powerful organizations disclose? Excessive
secrecy corrodes democracy, facilitates corruption, and undermines
good public policymaking, but keeping a lid on military strategies,
personal data, and trade secrets is crucial to the protection of
the public interest.
Over the past several years, transparency has swept the world.
India and South Africa have adopted groundbreaking national freedom
of information laws. China is on the verge of promulgating new
openness regulations that build on the successful experiments of
such major municipalities as Shanghai. From Asia to Africa to
Europe to Latin America, countries are struggling to overcome
entrenched secrecy and establish effective disclosure policies.
More than seventy now have or are developing major disclosure
policies or laws. But most of the world's nearly 200 nations do not
have coherent disclosure laws; implementation of existing rules
often proves difficult; and there is no consensus about what
disclosure standards should apply to the increasingly powerful
As governments and corporations battle with citizens and one
another over the growing demand to submit their secrets to public
scrutiny, they need new insights into whether, how, and when
greater openness can serve the public interest, and how to bring
about beneficial forms of greater disclosure. The Right to
Know distills the lessons of many nations' often bitter
experience and provides careful analysis of transparency's impact
on governance, business regulation, environmental protection, and
national security. Its powerful lessons make it a critical
companion for policymakers, executives, and activists, as well as
students and scholars seeking a better understanding of how to make
information policy serve the public interest.
Subjects: Business, Political Science, Law
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