Madrid, 12 December 2016 – Over 50 of Spain’s top constitutional experts, lawyers, and academics have called upon the Spanish government to recognise access to information as a fundamental right in line with international jurisprudence which links the right to information to freedom of expression.
The experts insist that there is no need for a constitutional reform as the Spanish Constitution already establishes the right to information (Article 20.1.d) and freedom of expression (20.1.a).
In the letter, released to coincide with the second anniversary of the entry into force of Spain’s Transparency Law (10 December 2014), the signatories recognised the progress towards transparency so far, but warned about the limitations connected with not recognising the fundamental nature of the right, a right essential for fighting corruption and ensuring participation in public debate.
Pro-transparency organisations, including Access Info Europe, Civio, Openkratio or the Platform for defence of freedom of information (PDLI), have welcomed the statement and expressed their support.
“As the experts confirm, the right of access to information is already recognised as a fundamental human right by more than 70 countries and by the United Nations, as well as by the European Court of Human Rights,” stated Alba Gutiérrez, Campaigner at Access Info.
“PDLI has defended that the right of access to information is inseparable from the right recognised in article 20 of our Constitution. Every remaining difficulty to obtain transparency of public institutions is an obstacle to the effective enjoyment of this right,” expressed Virginia Pérez Alonso, President of PDLI.
The civil society organisations reiterated that recognising the right of access to information as a fundamental right has clear consequences in practice due to its deterrent and preventative effect on corruption. Likewise, the right has a direct impact on essential democratic rights and principles such as participating in decision-making processes, the right to free and independent press, and accountability of public institutions.
For more information, please contact:
Alba Gutiérrez | Access Info Europe
Send an e-mail or call +34 913 656 558