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FOI and Government Records Management Reforms under Obama Administration

  • The Korean Journal of Archival Studies
  • 2013, (35), pp.3-40
  • Publisher : Korean Society Of Archival Studies
  • Research Area : Interdisciplinary Studies > Library and Information Science

이상민 1

1한국국가기록연구원

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Establishment and expansion of a FOI regime is a fundamental basis for modern democracy. Informed decisions and supports by the people are critical to establishment of democratic institutions and policies. The best tool to make informed decisions and to ensure accountability is the FOI. For effective FOI, good records management is necessary requirement. This paper observes and analyses the development of the FOI in the U.S., the Open Government policy, and the government records management reforms under Obama Administration to search viable solutions for Korean FOI and public records management reforms. Major revisions and advancement of the FOIA in the United States are examined, especially the revision of the FOIA as the OPEN Government Act of 2007. The FOIA revision enhanced greatly the freedom of information in the U.S. including the establishment of an independent FOI ombudsman by the Congress. The paper also discusses the Presidential memoranda on the Open Government and the FOI by President Obama, the following directives, Presidential memorandum on government records management and the Government Records Management Directive. Major contents of the directives, plans, and achievement are summarized and analysed. Finally, this paper compares the government records management reforms under former President Roh Mu Hyun with the Obama’s reform drive. The comparison found that major difference in the “top-down” government records reforms are the difference in democratic institutions such as weak congressional politics, strong bureaucratic obstacles, and relatively weak social and professional supports for the reforms in Korea, while these reforms were similar in terms that they were driven by insightful political leaders. Independent FOI ombudsman and national records administration are necessary for such democratic reforms.

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