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Homegrown transparency useful in Brussels

Norway has taken some of it's traditional transparency to Brussels. Officials at the Norwegian Representation with the EU publish daily lists about it's incoming and outgoing documents.

The set up and the lists are in Norwegian but as many the documents mentioned are in English and in some cases French the Norwegian post lists can come handy also to non-norwegian users.

This information and a detailed description on how to do it will be published in an upcoming Norwegian book about access to information for journalists to be published before the end of the year at the Publishing House of the Norwegian Institute for Journalism.

Alf Ole Ask, Brussels correspondent for Norwegian daily Aftenposten, in his chapter of the book writes about access to information when covering European affairs.

"Frequently I've heard particularly younger colleagues say: 'I've been through the postlists once. But I didn't find anything of interest. I gave up,'" writes Alf Ole Ask. And that pleases the experienced reporter. "The fewer who bother to take this little routine to follow the journals, the more an old document hunter like myself kan have in peace," he writes. "However it is not very good, as the principle of transparency withers, when it is not used."

Alf Ole Ask describes his daily 'trawl' of the list as his memory list. "It means, I get a lot, that I can not use. But every now and then there is a case waiting. And interestingly - very often these are cases, that the propaganda machinery of the Foreign Ministry for some reasons has had not interest in selling to journalists," he muses.

Brigitte Alfter & Staffan Dahllöf





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