The British Freedom of Information Act was passed in 2000 after nearly three decades of advocacy for it. It comes into force on New Year&rquo;s Day.

The German Parliament is now debating a German equivalent, and the newsmagazine Der Spiegel is reporting that the snappyly-titled Informationsfreiheitsgesetz may be law by mid-2005.

But Die Welt is less optimistic, noting that the bill in its present form “barely has a chance” because only the SPD and Green partiamentary groups are supporting the bill, whereas the Government is siding with the CDU and FDP opposition in objecting to it.