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ESA's Lack of Transparency Under Fire

The European Space Agency (ESA) has been criticized for its lack of transparency, despite the fact that it is funded by taxpayers in its member states. The organization is not subject to any Freedom of Information law, meaning that it can withhold information from the public at will.

This has been a source of frustration for journalists and other watchdogs, who argue that the public has a right to know how their money is being spent. In recent years, ESA has been accused of secrecy around its procurement processes and its plans for the future.

In 2021, for example, ESA was criticized for refusing to release information about its negotiations with the pharmaceutical company Pfizer over the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines. The organization eventually released some of the documents, but only after a lengthy legal battle.

ESA has defended its lack of transparency, arguing that it needs to protect sensitive information that could be used by its competitors. However, critics say that this is a smokescreen for hiding waste and mismanagement.

"The European Space Agency is a public body that is funded by taxpayers," said Martin Rosenbaum, a British freedom of information consultant. "It has a duty to be transparent and accountable to the public."

The ESA is not the only intergovernmental organization that is secretive. Many UN-funded bodies and other international organizations also lack effective freedom of information frameworks. This is a problem, because these organizations often make decisions that have a significant impact on people's lives.

There are a number of ways to address this problem. One option would be for intergovernmental organizations to voluntarily subject themselves to national freedom of information laws. Another option would be for the UN to adopt a global freedom of information standard that all member states would be required to implement.

Whatever the solution, it is clear that intergovernmental organizations need to be more transparent if they want to maintain the trust of the public.

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