EU HR Court Recognizes Limited Right to Information

10 November 2016

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that there is a right to information under Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

“It’s not a full recognition of a right for all people all the time,” wrote David Banisar of Article 19, “but in those cases where disclosure has been imposed by judicial order (not this case) or when access to information is instrumental for the individuals exercise of his or her right to freedom of expression.”

This is based on 4 criteria, Banisar said:

1) purpose  – whether is it to enable that persons right to receive and impart information;

2) the nature of the information  – if there is a public interest in it;

3) the requester’s role – especially for the media, but also NGOs, academics, and bloggers and “popular users of social media”; and

4) whether the information ready and available by the body.

The court decision says that “there has been a perceptible evolution in favour of the recognition, under certain conditions, of a right to information as an inherent element of the freedom to receive and impart information enshrined in Article10 of the Convention” and said it was time for “a clarification of the Leander principles.”

See write-up in Inforrm’s Blog. Also an explanation by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee.

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