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 Internet shutdowns are harmful as they not only restrict the ability of civil society to engage in political participation and government oversight, but also restrict market access and cost economies billions of dollars each year. 6
- Reports without Borders’ (RSF) World Press Freedom Index, https://rsf.org/en/ranking/2020. Questions regarding this indicator may be directed to email@example.com or +33 1 44 83 84 65
World Press Freedom Index methodology: RSF compiles its data by pooling experts’ responses to 117 questions related to the political context, legal framework, economic situation, sociocultural context, and safety environment that face journalists in a country. This qualitative analysis is combined with quantitative data on abuses and acts of violence against journalists during the period evaluated.
- Centre for Law and Democracy and Access Info’s Right to Information Index, http://www.rti-rating.org/. Questions regarding this indicator may be directed to Toby Mendel at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
- Access Now’s #KeepItOn Shutdown Tracker Optimization Project, https://www.accessnow.org/keepiton/. Questions regarding this indicator may be directed to email@example.com or +1 (888) 414-0100.
Access Now Methodology: Countries are assigned one point for every day of internet or social media shutdown/throttling up to 9 days. Shutdowns listed as ongoing are assumed to last until the end of the year. Shutdowns that last less than one day are counted as one day. Shutdowns with no end date are assumed to only last one day. If no duration is listed, but a start and end date are listed, a duration is calculated. Non-government shutdowns and non-government throttlings are excluded.
MCC FOI Score = (Press) + (FOIA in place) − (Access Now)
This indicator uses a country’s score on RSF’s World Press Freedom Index (Press) as the base. In FY23, MCC uses RSF’s 2022 World Press Freedom Index, which covers events in 2021. A country’s base score may improve based on data from the Global Right to Information Rating. In FY23, MCC uses Centre for Law and Democracy / Access Info Europe’s Global Right to Information Rating (RTI) from 2021. A country’s score is improved by 4 points if they have a Freedom of Information law enacted. Data from Access Now is used to penalize some countries’ base scores. A country’s score is penalized 1 point for each day in the last calendar year (2020) of internet or social media shutdown/throttling, for a total penalty of up to 9 points. For FY23, MCC uses Access Now data from the 2021 #KeepItOn Shutdown Tracker Optimization Project report.
Note regarding construction of missing data: Prior to FY23, MCC utilized old data from Freedom House on Freedom of the Press to construct data for countries that were missing data from RSF. Starting in FY23, MCC will no longer use this methodology as RSF’s methodology has changed and it is no longer comparable to the old Freedom House data. Countries that are missing RSF data will be considered missing and therefore fail this indicator.