About Access Info Europe

Access Info Europe is a human rights organisation established in Madrid in 2006 and dedicated to promoting and protecting the right of access to information.

Access Info runs a range of projects designed to leverage the right to information in order to increase participation and accountability, to defend human rights, and to advance democracy.

Activities include a mix of research and monitoring, standard-setting, law reform campaigns, and strategic litigation. Access Info also provides support and training for civil society and journalists. We have contributed to developing civil society activism on transparency in Europe, building a network of national organisations dedicated to securing increased transparency in practice.

In order to secure greater transparency of public decision making, we focus on a range of thematic areas including human rights (extraordinary rendition, policing of protests, detention and control of migrants), spending of public funds, company registers, media ownership transparency, and environmental issues. Control of lobbying is another strategic priority, which we do through campaigns for stronger standards and new laws, as well as by obtaining information on lobbying activities.

As well as our successful national campaigns at the national level, transparency of the European Union is a priority. Access Info Europe has won a case against the Council of the EU at the European Court of Justice, has successfully fought against attempts to weaken the EU’s transparency rules, and regularly helps journalists and civil society organisations obtain EU documents. The AsktheEU.org platform encourages the public to request information about how the EU works.

We run the RTI Rating, which measures the strength of access to information laws and is widely used as an advocacy tool.

Our support to journalists includes the Legal Leaks Toolkit – available in an international and 13 national language versions – has been used by journalists across Europe.

Access Info Europe is also actively engaged in the Open Government Partnership and its director Helen Darbishire is a member of the OGP Steering Committee.

Our Mission and Our Goal

Access Info’s mission, as established by our statutes, is to promote and protect the right of access to information in Europe as a tool for defending human rights, for promoting public participation in decision making, and for holding governments and other public and private bodies accountable. Hence, as set out in this strategy, we promote both the right to information in and of itself, and we defend and advance the right for its democratic value. The Access Info Europe team also deploys its expertise to contribute to advancing the right of access to information in law and practice globally.

Access Info’s goal is that there be a strong right of access to information. What this means is a right that not only exists on paper, in international standards, constitutions, and laws, but also that the right can be exercised in practice so that people can obtain the information they need for defending human rights, for participation in decision making, and for holding power to account.

Statutes 20 December 2018 in English ; Statutes 20 December 2018 in Spanish

Our Vision

Access Info’s vision is that there is full recognition of the public’s right to information as a fundamental human right by all relevant national and international bodies.

Our vision is that the right of access to information is enshrined in a strong legal framework that includes user-friendly mechanisms for requesting information, limited exceptions, the obligation to create records, rules mandating comprehensive proactive publication of documents and data, and empowered and effective oversight bodies.

Our vision is that there exists in Europe an empowered and informed citizenry – including, in particular, civil society organisations, human rights defenders, and investigative journalists – that makes use of the right and is able to obtain information, with a focus on information needed for participation in and accountability of decision making. It is essential that those who exercise the right of access to information are also free to make the use of it, and that they have the capacity and know-how to engage in evidence-based advocacy.

Access Info Strategy 2018-2021

Access Info runs projects which are in line with its mission and according to a strategy which is periodically revised and approved by the Executive Board and International Advisory Board.

The current Strategy is for the period 2018 to 2021. The Access Info Strategy sets out our theory of change, and analyses the European and global context in which we work.

Access Info Europe Strategy 2018-2021

Cover photo: Paul Gagnon via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)