National Transparency Campaigns

15 Jun 2017

Cyprus government flawed interpretation of European transparency standards

[UPDATE: Madrid, 11 December 2017 - On 25 April, the Cyptriot Government answered the letter sent by Access Info raising questions regarding to Cyprus Access to Information Law. You can find a copy of the letters here : ] Madrid, 15 June 2017 - Access Info Europe and six Cypriot civil society organisations [1] have raised concerns with the Cyprus government that the future draft access to information law would violate European standards if adopted in its current form. In particular, they warned the exceptions to transparency are seriously out of line with the Council of Europe Convention on Access

31 Mar 2017

Civil society warn Cyprus’ draft transparency law under threat if excessive exceptions persist

» This article is also available in Greek, here. Madrid, 31 March 2017 – Access Info Europe and 30 international and Cypriot civil society organisations have today urged the government of Cyprus to guarantee that exceptions to access in its draft transparency law meet international standards. The letter urges the Cypriot Justice Minister in charge of the law, Ionas Nicolaou, to reverse the unacceptable inclusion of five absolute exceptions [1] as well as ensure that information may only be refused if its disclosure would or would be likely to harm a protected interest, unless there is an overriding public interest

17 Feb 2017

Cypriot lawmakers challenged to ensure FOI is free and exceptions are limited

[UPDATE: Madrid, 1 March 2017 - On 28 February, Access Info Europe sent its comments to the text of the draft FOI law, to be debated at the Cypriot Parliament Legal Committee: ] Nicosia/Madrid, 17 February 2017 – Access Info Europe this week addressed an in-person hearing in the Cypriot Parliament and called for the draft FOI law to be amended to remove fees for making requests and to reduce time limits for responses, in particular cutting down the possible 60 days extension for complex requests. Speaking to the Cypriot Parliament’s Legal Committee on Thursday 16 February 2017, Andreas Pavlou,

10 Nov 2016

One step forward, two steps back: New Italian FOIA fails to improve adequate appeals mechanism

Madrid, 10 November 2016 - Access Info Europe has expressed serious concern that Italy’s newly-adopted “FOIA” still falls far behind international standards after an analysis of the quality of the law ranked Italy 54th out of 111 countries. The pro-transparency organisation criticised the decree, passed in May this year, specifically because it weakens the appeals system by abandoning Italy’s Information Commission as a national oversight body. “Italy’s new FOIA forces requesters to go through the infamously-slow Italian court system in order to challenge non-disclosure of information, making it difficult to hold public officials accountable and near-impossible for citizens to participate

3 Mar 2016

UK Government drops plans to restrict FOI

Madrid, 3 March 2016- Access Info Europe has welcomed the decision by the UK government to abandon its plan to undermine the UK FOI law through measures such as the introduction of fees for making requests or expanding the Cabinet veto on disclosure of information. This victory in defence of the public’s right to know was achieved after intense public debate about the proposals under consideration by the Commission on Freedom of Information and over 30,000 submissions to the public consultation. Access Info, which had condemned the proposals and participated in the public consultation, welcomed the announcement on 1 March

8 Feb 2016

Austria: Draft FOI law falls short of international standards

Access Info/IPI analysis welcomes progress, but urges reforms to better guarantee right to information Madrid/Vienna, 8 February 2016 – Austria’s draft freedom of information (FOI) law requires significant further reforms in order to meet international standards governing transparency and the right to information, Access Info Europe and the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) said today upon jointly releasing an analysis of the draft. The analysis, conducted by Access Info, welcomes Austria’s initiative to replace an outdated legal framework that “until now has severely restricted access to information held by Austrian public bodies”. Key weaknesses in the proposed FOI law (Informationsfreiheitsgesetz)

15 Dec 2015

Update: Slovenian parliament withdraws proposed charges for information requests

Madrid, 15 December 2015 – In the face of strong national and international reaction to the proposal to introduce charges for the time of public officials in answering information requests, Slovenian coalition parties today withdrew the problematic amendment to Article 24 of the new Freedom of Information Act from the legislative procedure. This decision was welcomed by Access Info Europe, the Association of Slovenian Journalists, Transparency International Slovenia, and the European Federation of Journalists, who in recent days had raised concerns about the proposed amendment (read the original story from 14 December). We are pleased that coalition parties heard and

14 Dec 2015

Slovenia plans to impose charges on freedom of information requests

Madrid, 14 December 2015 - The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) together with its affiliate, the Slovenian Journalists’ Association (DNS), Transparency International Slovenia and Access Info Europe, have today called on the Slovenian Parliament to reject a last-minute amendment that permits public officials to charge for their time in answering freedom of information requests, something that would be direct interference with the right of journalists and NGOs to access information. On Tuesday 15 December, the Slovenian Parliament will hold a second discussion on the controversial amendment to the Access to Public Information Act  that was presented at the very last minute by coalition parties SD, SMC and DeSUS. There

23 Nov 2015

Decision Making Transparency is an Essential Part of Open Government Access Info Europe tells UK FOI Commission

Madrid, 23 November 2015 – Access Info Europe has warned that any move by the UK government to amend the FOI law by expanding blanket exceptions to decision-making transparency or by extending a political veto over disclosure, would be an attack on international standards. These concerns were set out in a submission to the government-appointed FOI Commission, which has been criticised for being stacked with transparency sceptics. The Commission’s consultation document opened the possibility of extending the use of Cabinet vetoes to block disclosure of information, even after a judicial decision to do so. Access Info Europe called for the

21 Oct 2015

Access Info welcomes Cyprus’ commitment to strong FOI law

Madrid, 21 October 2015 - Access Info Europe has welcomed Cypriot Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou’s commitment to adopt a strong access to information (Freedom of Information) law that will be “one of the best in the European Union”. The pro-transparency organisation, headquartered in Madrid, urges the Cypriot government to act on this promise, noting that in order to bring the law into line with European and international standards, the government should recognise the fundamental nature of the right, including all public bodies in the law, reducing the number of exceptions, and removing other obstacles such as the requirement to provide