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 19, the Campaign for Freedom of Information, the 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 Volgenant, Prof. Dr. Dirk Voorhoof and Prof. Dr. Roger Mann for their valuable input.
Call for Consultants: Update of Training Materials on Freedom of Expression in South and Southeast Asia
Purpose of the consultancy contract This is a call for consultants to review and update eleven existing training modules on freedom of expression in South and Southeast Asia. Background Media Defence’s vision is a world where journalists no longer face legal challenges that threaten their ability to report freely and independently on issues of public […]
Media Defence et l’Impact Lab pour l’Etat de droit de Stanford Law School saisissent la Cour de justice de la CEDEAO contre les coupures d’internet ordonnées par l’Etat sénégalais
Le recours au nom d’AfricTivistes et de deux journalistes sénégalais vise à obtenir des mesures provisoires pour empêcher de nouvelles coupures d’Internet READ IN ENGLISH Dakar, le 13 février 2024 – Media Defence et le Rule of Law Impact Lab de la Stanford Law School ont déposé un recours devant la Cour de justice […]
Media Defence and SLS’s Rule of Law Impact Lab File Case Before ECOWAS Court Challenging Senegal Internet Shutdowns
Filing on behalf of AfricTivistes and Two Senegalese Journalists Seeks Interim Measures to Prevent Internet Shutdowns. READ IN FRENCH Dakar, February 13, 2024 – Media Defence and the Rule of Law Impact Lab at Stanford Law School have filed a lawsuit before the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West […]