The Global Right to Information Update:
The right to information movement is well positioned to fight for better commitments on corporate transparency and open data.
Madrid, 8 July 2013 – The largest analysis of the worldwide movement for access to information, The Global Right to Information Update was published today by the Freedom of Information Advocates Network.
The publication looks at how the movement for the right to information has brought issues of transparency and open government to the forefront of political and economic debate – as reflected in recent weeks in open data commitments made by the G8 – and maps out the challenges lying ahead.
The authors, human rights advocates from seven continents, report on the threat to progress made so far posed by the financial crisis, particularly in Europe where civil society has difficulty securing funding for its work. The authors also cite regressions in freedom of expression rights in at least four countries in Europe, namely, Azerbaijan, Hungary, Russia and Turkey.
Lydia Medland from Access Info who was a writer and the lead editor of the study said, "The report reflects the truly global nature of this movement, which has secured over 95 access to information laws and recognition of a human right of access to information."
Fundamental right of access to information strengthened by ECHR ruling
Madrid, 27 June 2013 - Access Info Europe welcomes the recent decision by the European Court of Human Rights which further strengthens the right of access to information held by public bodies.
A summary of the ruling
The ECHR ruled on the case between 'Youth Initiative for Human Rights vs. the Republic of Serbia' about the refusal of the Serbian intelligence agency to provide the NGO with certain information concerning electronic surveillance, despite a final and binding decision in favour of disclosure by the Serbian Information Commissioner in 2005.
Legal basis identified for mandatory EU lobby register
Brussels, 17 June 2013 - An independent legal analysis launched today in Brussels has revealed that the EU institutions have a legal basis on which to act to make the Transparency Register mandatory. The study, launched at the beginning of the Register's review process, was commissioned by ALTER EU and the Austrian Arbeiterkammer to counter the Commission's arguments that the EU has no competence to make the register binding on lobbyists.
European Court of Justice ruling entrenches EU secrecy in international relations
Madrid, 7 June 2013 - Access Info Europe notes with regret today's ruling by the General Court of the European Court of Justice which upholds the European Commission's refusal to make public documents about the EU-India Free Trade Agreement requested by the lobby watchdog Corporate Europe Observatory.
The central question in the case Corporate Europe Observatory v European Commission revolves around whether or not dissemination of minutes of meetings and email correspondence would harm the EU's international relations. The Court's ruling is particularly regrettable given that these documents had been shared with representatives of the European and Indian business communities for consultation. Germany joined the case in support of the European Commission.
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