Freedom of Information Indicator


This indicator measures a government’s commitment to enable or allow information to move freely in society. It is a composite index that includes a measure of press freedom; the status of national freedom of information laws; and a measure of internet filtering.

Relationship to Growth & Poverty Reduction

Governments play a role in information flows; they can restrict or facilitate information flows within countries or across borders. Many of the institutions (laws, regulations, codes of conduct) that governments design are created to manage the flow of information in an economy. 1 Countries with better information flows often have better quality governance and less corruption. 2 Higher transparency and access to information have been shown to increase investment inflows because they enhance an investor’s knowledge of the behaviors and operations of institutions in a target economy; help reduce uncertainty about future changes in policies and administrative practices; contribute data and perspectives on how best an investment project can be initiated and managed; and allow for the increased coordination between social and political actors that typifies successful economic development. 3 The right of access to information within government institutions also strengthens democratic accountability, promotes political participation of all, reduces governmental abuses, and leads to more effective allocation of natural resources. 4 Access to information also empowers marginalized groups and those living in poverty by giving them the ability to more fully participate in society and providing them with knowledge that can be used for economic gain. 5


  1. Freedom House Press Freedom Index, Questions regarding this indicator may be directed to or +1 (202) 296-5101.Freedom House’s methodology: Countries are given a total score from 0 (best) to 100 (worst) on the basis of a set of 23 methodology questions divided into three subcategories: legal environment, political environment, and economic environment. The degree to which each country permits the free flow of news and information determines the classification of its media as “Free,” “Partly Free,” or “Not Free.” Countries scoring 0 to 30 are regarded as having “Free” media; 31 to 60, “Partly Free” media; and 61 to 100, “Not Free” media. The ratings and reports included in Freedom of the Press cover events that took place between January 1 and December 31 of the previous year.
  2. Centre for Law and Democracy and Access Info’s Right to Information Index, Questions regarding this indicator may be directed to Toby Mendel at or +1 (902) 431-3688.Right to Information Methodology: In this dataset, a freedom of information law is rated based on 61 indicators. RTI includes any country with a freedom of information law on the books.
  3. Freedom House’s Freedom of the Net Key Internet Controls, Questions regarding this indicator may be directed to or +1 (202) 296-5101.Key Internet Controls Methodology: This checklist designates whether a government participates in any of 9 different types of internet control including blocking social media apps, blocking political/social/religious content, ICT shutdowns, manipulating online discussions, attacking bloggers, etc.

    Data Compilation Methodology: This indicator uses a country’s score on Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press index (Press) as the base. Countries’ base scores improve by four points if the Right to Information Index (RTI) has designated them as having a FOIA law on the books. Data from the Key Internet Controls (KiC) checklist is used to penalize some countries’ base scores. A country’s score is penalized by 1 point for every internet control method in place, for up to a total of a 9 point penalty.

On this index, lower is better. Overall index scores are calculated as follows:

Press − RTI + KiC = index score


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