By Morgan Watkins | July 13th, 2011
Editorial argues against lax ethics disclosure rules under new governor
Under the new rules, Haslam and his aides must provide information about their sources of income, but not about the financial worth of that income or their investments.
The editorial raised an important point: that disclosures of both income sources and amounts allow the public to get a better picture of who their officials are.
Knowing where officials’ money comes from and their past business interests, as well as how much money they are making, can provide important clues as to how they will lead in public office.
Tennessee residents only have half the picture right now due to Haslam’s new ethics requirements. They can see the source but not the amount, but they have the right to know both.
The Tennessean has called for Haslam to rescind his January executive order relaxing disclosure requirements, which would show the people of Tennessee that their right to know is respected in the governor’s office.
FOI in Pakistan: Editorial calls for enactment of FOI law in Punjab
The provincial government of Punjab in Pakistan has a draft bill that would give its citizens greater access to data about their officials and the quality of the public duties they perform – if it’s ever implemented.
The Punjab Freedom of Information Act 2010 has not been enacted into law yet. The government has put it to the provincial assembly for approval – a move that Zahid Abdullah, an employee for the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives, argued in an editorial is indicative of the government’s desire to postpone the act’s adoption.
Provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah has said his government is waiting for a federal information law to be passed so the provincial bill can complement the spirit of the national legislation, according to the editorial.
Abdullah countered this argument with the insistence that because the right to information is now included as a constitutional right for Pakistani citizens, Punjab should become a role model for other provinces by passing a freedom of information law that reflects this right.
He also called for the draft bill to extend the ability to access government information to all Pakistani citizens. It currently authorizes such access only for Punjab residents.
For more information on the fight to get Punjab’s FOI bill enacted, peruse some of the recent press releases on the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives website.
– Morgan Watkins
Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email (email@example.com) or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26).