Madrid, 28 January 2020 – Access Info Europe, together with seven international and Spanish civil society organisations, today called on the Spanish Government to accept recommendations on freedom of expression and information made by other UN member states during Spain’s review at the Human Rights Council.
The recommendations were made on 22 January 2020 as part of the regular Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, and reflect those presented by civil society in its report.
Priorities include urgent modification of the Penal Code and abolishing the Law on Citizens’ Security (the so-called “gag law” which restricts expression on the internet) to ensure the protection of the right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, and strengthening the Transparency Law.
During the UPR meetings in Geneva in December, concerns about restrictions on freedom of expression and information in Spain were raised by a Access Info, together with Platform in Defence of Freedom of Information (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,
Access Info highlighted that the right of access to information is an integral part of the right to freedom of expression, as enshrined in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and as well as Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Therefore, to be in line with international standards, we call the new government to recognise 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.
The agreement of the new government coalition includes important commitments on transparency, including the reform of the Transparency Law. Access Info urges the Spanish Government to:
- Recognize the Right of Access to Information as a fundamental right.
- Simplify the process of requesting information, eliminating the requirements for identifying the requester, such as a digital certificate.
- Provide the Transparency Council with more resources and give it sanctioning capacity in order to optimise its oversight role.
- Expand the scope of the Transparency Law so that it also applies to the Legislative and Judicial Branches.
- Reform Article 18 of the Transparency Law to eliminate limitation on requesting information considered to be “internal” or “auxiliary”.
- Increase the training of public officials in transparency to ensure the effective application of the access to information law.
For more information, please contact
Helen Darbishire, Executive Director | Access Info Europe
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Paula Domínguez, Communications Officer | Access Info Europe
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Marta Morcuende, Research Assistant | Access Info Europe
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