Madrid, 4 July 2013 – Whilst in Spain the main parties have closed the debate and rejected the fundamental nature of the right of access to information, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has again ruled on the contrary, reaffirming that, “the right of access to information contained in public documents is a fundamental human right that must be applied at the national level according to general principles, such as the right of access to information”.
The ruling of the ECHR on the 25 June 2013 (“Youth Initiative for Human Rights vs the Republic of Serbia”), concerned the refusal of the Serbian intelligence agency to provide the NGO with certain information concerning electronic surveillance. The Court positioned itself in favour of the NGO Youth Initiative for Human Rights, confirming the binding decision already taken in favour of disclosure by the Serbian Information Commissioner on this very issue.
“Spain cannot continue to ignore the international jurisprudence in this area. It is time for change and therefore necessary to pass solid leglislation in line with what international human rights courts have already established”, affirms Helen Darbishire, Executive Director at Access Info Europe.
The Court not only recognises the right to information from public administrations as a fundamental right, but that it goes further in establishing the presumption that “all information in the hands of public administrations is public and can only be limited by a restricted system of exceptions”.
The ECHR is not the only institution, with other international organisations such as the Interamerican Court of Human Rights, the UN Committee on Human Rights, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, the OAS Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and the European Union also recognising the fundamental character of the right of access to information.
Access Info Europe calls upon Spanish political parties to reopen the debate so that the Spanish Transparency law recognises the right of access to information as a fundamental right.
You can read the whole ruling by clicking here.
For more information, please contact:
Victoria Anderica, Campaign Coordinator, Access Info Europe
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