Freedom of information - a human right?

At their meeting on 3-4 May 2005, the Council of Europe Ministers’ Deputies instructed the Steering Committee for Human Rights to prepare a legally binding instrument on access to official documents. From 2006 to 2008 The Group of Specialists on Access to Official Documents (Group), discussed a provisional text of the document. It was planned originally that a self-standing, convention will be opened for signature towards the end of 2007.

The text of the document was adopted in the final drafting session in February 2008. Since then, however, several members of the Group, several hundreds of NGOs and experts, along with 270 individuals, eight information commissioners and OECE information commissioner, have expressed their concern, and called for a stronger Convention.

This panel will bring together experts who were involved in the process of drafting the treaty. The discussants will analyze the content of the document; make projections about the implementation and the foreseeable impact on the national FOI systems. We hope to also consider the possibilities to improve the status quo.

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