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)


9Dec 2010

The Right to Diplomatic Information

The Wikileaks “Cablegate” scandal has brought sudden and extensive transparency to the area of international diplomacy. It raises, amongst others, the question of whether those who published the information acted legally or ethically. There is, however, another way of looking at this question: did those who originally failed to make this information public act legally or ethically? The right of

2May 2010

Legal Leaks Toolkit

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media presents access to information toolkit for journalists Berlin, 3 May 2010 – To mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day, which has a special focus on the Right to Know, the OSCE, Access Info (Madrid), and Berlin-based n-ost Network for Reporting on Eastern Europe will present a toolkit for journalists on how to

25Jul 2009

“Legal Leaks”: Access to information and data security for journalists

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. These challenges are