I am not aware of norway having some kind of FOIA law. I would think that you have to go search and find stuff for yourself online, search tool provided by the government. I guess they simply solicited the departments and ministries directly.
It does, and I would bet it dates back at least from when Norway was still part of the kingdom of Sweden, home of the world's first FOIA statute.
They have a nice online site with a catalog full of documents with promising titles, and an interface for ordering.
That's the theory.
But in practice...
My experience with that system was humbling.
I request from a certain govt. department 8 or 9 different documents related to a topic in which I have a keen interest. The language is sufficiently close to ones I'm familiar with so that I could still decipher it with some effort.
Only a couple of the stuff which I actually requested made it to me, but it was in fact irrelevant cover letters I could have dispensed with.
Some other "wrong" stuff was sent, without any direct connection with what I asked, but with a "positive" decision. Probably because it made the authority look better.
Strangely, a real gem of a document connected to my query was sent, but which I had never ordered, together with a negative decision stating it couldn't be released.
The online catalog did show that all the documents I was interested in were releasable without restriction. I'd have to see whether the classification changed.
I pointed out to the authority the mess the made in the handling my request, and demanded a fully reasoned decision, in view of making an appeal with the national Ombudsman's office, but after almost a year and several reminders, I finally got a reply meekly asking me whether I was still interested.
So much for that hallowed Scandinavian transparency.
I have experience with FOIA under 8 different statutes, if I count correctly, and nearly as many countries, has been rather mixed up to now. You must be patient, determined, and show that you're ready to take them to court.
Some techniques are:
- Excessive and arbitrary search and reproduction fees
- A deliberately literal and narrow interpretation of your request
- Acute passive-aggressive behaviour
- Incomprehensible delays
- Just plain stupid, clueless, answers.
My best experiences were in obtaining previously released information. Big deal.
FOI most certainly costs a minute fraction of what states spend to know everything about you. Yet in places like GB, the politicks are talking about "abuse" and are floating ideas abut restricting FOIA access by slapping high fees.