Media Defence Logo

CLOSE

Media Defence Intervenes in Key A2I Case

Media Defence Intervenes in Key A2I Case

The Media Legal Defence Initiative has coordinated a coalition of organisations and submitted filed written comments with the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, urging the Court to clarify its position on the right of access to information under the European Convention.

MLDI has intervened alongside Article 19the Campaign for Freedom of Informationthe Access to Information Programme, and the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union in a case that is set to clarify the obligations that are on public bodies to provide access to information.

The case was brought following the refusal of two police departments to provide an NGO, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, with the names of public defenders retained by their departments and the number of their respective appointments. The Hungarian courts refused to compel the police departments to provide the information, holding that the names of the public defenders were not public information and their activity was private in nature.

MLDI’s written comments give an overview of the principles underlying Article 10 of the European Convention, as well as recent case law from the Court, to make the argument that access to information is to be recognised as part and parcel of the right to freedom of expression. This argument is bolstered by international, regional and comparative law that demonstrates an emerging international consensus on access to information. The written comments also highlight the vital importance of access to official information for the purposes of investigative journalism, and any other social watchdog activity, and urge the court to find that there is an obligation on public bodies to provide information of public interest.

The Grand Chamber’s decision in this case will be pivotal for future access to information cases, including the case of Kennedy and The Times v. United Kingdom in which we have also acted as interveners.

MLDI’s intervention can be read here. MLDI would like to thank Richard Clayton QC and Christopher Knight for drafting the intervention, and Otto VolgenantProf. Dr. Dirk Voorhoof and Prof. Dr. Roger Mann for their valuable input.

Recent News

Call for Consultants: Independent Evaluation of ‘Empowering Women in Digital Rights Advocacy’ project

The consultancy We are looking to engage an experienced evaluation consultant to carry out an interim and final evaluation of one of our projects. The project, called Empowering Women in Digital Rights Advocacy (EWDRA), is based in sub-Saharan Africa and began late last year. In addition, the consultant will conduct independent research with an intersectional […]

Read

Spying in the digital age: The use of spyware against journalists

Spyware and freedom of expression Encryption is a valuable tool for freedom of expression online. It allows journalists, lawyers, human rights activists, and citizens to communicate securely. In recent years however, journalists around the world have experienced increasing digital surveillance, despite encryption becoming more accessible. In particular, investigative journalists uncovering corruption, abuse of power, and […]

Read

We’re recruiting: Grants Officer

Role Summary The Grants Officer plays a key role at Media Defence, administering the grants that we make to partner organisations, helping assess grant applications, and helping with communications via social media and other channels. As Grants Officer, you will also manage and administer our financial grants and non-financial support to journalists facing legal action, […]

Read