Empowering Journalism2021-08-30T12:18:13+02:00



Why is the right of access to information important for journalism?

Journalists play a central role in initiating and stimulating public debates, but face constant challenges in accessing information from public bodies, particularly when that information relates to sensitive issues such as corruption, organised crime, environmental contamination, or relationships with business and lobby groups. The right of access to information and access to information laws have become a crucial tool in this context. They guarantee journalists access to information held by public bodies for their stories and investigations, enabling them to exercise their role as public watchdogs in our democracies.

A Guide for Journalists on How to Access Information

The Legal Leaks Toolkit, developed by Access Info Europe and n-ost, helps journalists access information using Access to Information laws. The Toolkit is available in a generic international version and can be adapted to the legal framework of any country. The existing national versions, translated into local languages, are available below. You can also read more below about our training programme and about how to contact
the Legal Leaks Help Desk.

Why do media experts think access to information is important?

Journalists, activists, and media experts speak about the importance of access to information in their daily work. Watch all interviews here!

That little detail in the relationship between journalists and sources, that little one, is so important that could change the way in which we tell stories.
Juan Luis Sánchez, Deputy Director of eldiario.es

It is extremely important that there is this mechanism that you can use as a journalist to say “Hang on a minute, you need to give us this, because we have a right to know”.
Ana Petruševa, Managing Editor, Balkan Insight, BIRN Country Director Macedonia
It’s a great way to get stories, it’s a great way to fin out what governments in particular are doing, it’s a great way to find out where money goes, it’s a great way to prove accountability.
Gavin Sheridan, Investigative Journalist and FOI Expert

The right of access to information is very important for the journalists’ work; it’s important for everyday work, but it’s even more important for investigations.
Alexander Kashumov, Head of the Legal Team; Access to Information Programme Bulgaria
Journalism is about investigation, it’s about asking questions; but it’s about documents as well, as a proof for questions, as a proof for answers
Christian Mihr, Executive Director of Reporters Without Borders Germany

Basically, I need access to information to do my job as someone who is supposed to ensure the accountability of politicians, of public officials.
Marcus Hametner, Co-Founder, Forum Informationsfreiheit Austria

Cover photo: European Parliament via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


6Jun 2014

Legal Leaks Challenge: Write Your Access To Information Story

Madrid, 24 July 2014 – As part of the Legal Leaks trainings which has taken place during the month of June in five different countries in the Balkans – Kosovo, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia -, Access Info Europe and UNESCO, in partnership with the EU Commission, has organised a challenge for journalists taking part in these courses.

2Jun 2014

Legal Leaks trainings: enhancing media accountability in the Balkans

Madrid, 2 June 2014 – UNESCO and Access Info Europe will be carrying out a series of Legal Leaks trainings during the following month of June in five different Balkans countries, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo. The Legal Leaks trainings are meant to empower journalists to use their national freedom of information laws as a regular

28Oct 2013

Introducing the ‘Legal Leaks’ toolkit

Journalists play a central role in initiating and stimulating public debates but face constant challenges in accessing information from public bodies, particularly when that information relates to issues such as corruption and organised crime, violations of human rights, controversial international relations, environmental contamination, relationships with business and lobby groups, and the more sensitive aspects of EU integration. Legal Leaks helps

23Sep 2013

Data Journalism Handbook

Madrid, 23 September 2013 - The Data Journalism Handbook, a free, openly licensed reference book showing journalists how to use data to improve the news has been translated into French, Spanish and Russian. Organised by Open Knowledge Foundation along with the European Journalism Centre, the Handbook explains not only about what data journalism is, but also how to get it,

13Oct 2011

Access Info Europe holds joint seminar on Data Journalism in Madrid.

Madrid, 13 October 2011 - You are invited to participate in the second Data Journalism meeting on 20 October at 17 hrs at Medialab Prado, Madrid. The high level speakers are of Xaquín González Veira (The New York Times), Annamarie Cumiskey (Bureau of Investigative Journalism), Mar Cabra (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists - ICIJ) and David Cabo (Pro Bono Publico).