Madrid, 10 December 2019Access Info presents today at the pre-session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva its report on the violations of the Right of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression that take place in Spain. Joan Barata, expert on freedom of expression and member of the Platform in Defence of Freedom of Information (PDLI), presents the report to the Council today.

This report was sent to the Council in July 2019 and was prepared in collaboration with PDLI, the Federation of Journalists’ Unions (FeSP), the Criminal Policy Study Group (GEPC) and the Research Group on Legal Regulation and Digital Citizen Participation of the Complutense University of Madrid.

On 10 December, International Human Rights Day, we recall that in Spain numerous international standards on the right of access to information contained in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and General Comment No. 34 of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, as well as Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, have still not been met.

We demand that the Spanish Government:

  • Recognize the Right of Access to Information as a fundamental right, linking it to the Right to Freedom of Expression recognized in Article 20.1 of the Spanish Constitution, as demanded by numerous experts in the Spanish Constitution.
  • Simplify the process of requesting information, eliminating the requirements for identifying the requester, such as a digital certificate or self-signature.
  • Give sanctioning capacity to the Transparency Council and provide it with more resources in order to optimize its control capacity.
  • Expand the Right of Access to Information so that it also applies to the Legislative and Judicial Branches.
  • Reform Article 18 of the Transparency Law to eliminate the limitations established on the Right of Access to Information by considering a request for access to documents of an “internal” or “auxiliary” nature as grounds for inadmissibility.
  • Increase the training of public officials in transparency as an essential value of a democratic government and to ensure the effective application of the law.
In addition, this report also addresses the need for legislative reform in Spain so as not to restrict the Right to Freedom of Expression. Specifically, it calls for a reform of the so-called “Gag Law” and the current Penal Code to eliminate the sanctions established for those who attack the reputation of the Royal House and other public institutions, offend religious feelings, insult national symbols or criticise in the media the actions of members of the security forces, among others.

Current legislation has repeatedly led to the prosecution of journalists, tweeters or singers for performing satires, jokes or songs, severely restricting the Right to Freedom of Expression.

You can read the full report here.

For more information, please contact:
Marta Morcuende: marta(a) or call +34 913 656 558