Access Info: Strategy 2009 – 2010 This paper sets out the strategy underpinning Access Info Europe’s activities during 2009-2010 in order to fulfil its mission of promoting and protecting the right of access to information in Europe and contributing to recognition and enjoyment of this right globally. Access Info Europe AIE _84186d3c-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Access Info Europe is a human rights organisation dedicated to promoting and protecting the right of access to information in Europe as a tool for defending civil liberties and human rights, for facilitating public participation in decision-making, and for holding governments accountable. Our vision is that: Everyone in Europe has the right to know what their elected representatives are doing with the power entrusted to them, and how the public’s money is being spent; Everyone can access the information they need in order to protect other rights, to expose violations of human rights, to participate in government decision-making and to hold governments accountable. _84187502-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Access Info's mission is that the right of access to information be enshrined in law and deliver greater transparency in practice. _841876e2-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Right to Know Advancing the Right to Know _8418776e-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 1 Goal: This activity area aims to achieve improved and equal access to information held by governments for all European citizens by promoting common standards on access to information across Europe and by improving the quality of and compliance with legislation at the national and supranational level. Specific work strategy: Initiating, leading and joining advocacy campaigns Needs addressed: Citizens around Europe do not enjoy equal levels of access to information held by public authorities. The very minimum standards in the new Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents are not fully incorporated into the legal framework of all European countries, nor in the access regimes of intergovernmental and supranational organisations such as the European Union, Council of Europe, OSCE and NATO. Some countries are still without specific laws on access to information and others are lagging behind current international standards. Politicians and public authorities are not always aware of the latest developments on the right internationally and of the comparative best standards. Results we aim to achieve: Countries without full access to information laws adopt legislation that, at the very least, meets common minimum standards. National and supranational rules on access to information are reformed to bring them into line with international standards. Countries sign, ratify and implement the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents. Increased compliance with existing access to information legislation at the national and supranational level. Increased awareness among politicians and public officials of the importance of the right of access to information and how it should function in democratic societies. Ratification Readiness: Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents Promoting ratification and implementation. _841877fa-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Current Project 1.1 Council of Europe National Access to Information Groups In partnership with national access to information groups. d0df3d9f-49a7-43e8-8106-7cde4808b02c Transparency European Transparency for Participation and Accountability. _841878a4-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Current Project 1.2 Corporate Europe Observatory Statewatch Part of project in partnership with Corporate Europe Observatory (Brussels) and Statewatch. e3f2087e-a341-4eaf-9ca6-cae989485fcd Coalición Pro Acceso The campaign for a law on access to information. _84187930-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Current Project 1.3 Spain Spanish NGOs International Budget Partnership In partnership with 30 leading Spanish NGOs and assisted by volunteers in Spain. Work with International Budget Partnership to analyse budget transparency in Spain. 3bcaf082-c111-4515-80da-8be17cbd52a0 Aid Transparency Promoting greater transparency of international aid flows. _841879d0-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Current Project 1.4 6bda8942-403d-44f1-8299-65a3b82335a5 The Right to Information: Researching and Reforming Transparency Participation, Accountability and Reconciliation. _84187a5c-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Project Pending Funding 1.1 Cyprus e2763b29-c4f4-4110-a5ea-4a6db29ff1bf Human Rights and Civil Liberties Using the right to know for human rights and civil liberties _84187ade-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 2 Goal: The second strategic activity area aims to help people to defend their fundamental human rights and civil liberties using the right of access to information. Needs addressed: Civil society organisations are finding it hard to get information needed to protect fundamental human rights. The right of access to information is not being used to its full potential by civil society organisations and individuals to defend other fundamental human rights. Many civil society organisations do not have a thorough knowledge of how the right of access to information works in practice or lack strategies for integrating it into their research and advocacy work. Journalists need training and support in incorporating the filing of requests into investigative and daily reporting work. There is a need for sharing of information on levels of government transparency between CSOs working in different countries around Europe. There is a particular need in specific areas to convert calls for transparency into targeted campaigns to promote the right of access to information in order to make a greater volume of relevant information held by Governments available to citizens. These areas include government counter-terrorism measures and international aid funding. There is a need for a help desk which can provide advice and support to members of the public, CSOs and public officials on the right of access to information. Specific work strategy: cooperating with and supporting civil society organisations, journalists and groups of citizens. Results we aim to achieve: Civil society organisations in Europe have a deeper knowledge of the right of access to information and how it can be used in their work to have a greater impact, even when information requests are not answered. As a result there is an increase in filing of requests and civil society groups join the campaign for greater proactive publication of information in specific sectors and generally. European journalists are aware of the right of access to information and of its use as a tactical tool for their daily work. There is an increased use of cross-border filing of information requests in investigations into areas of common interest between different countries all across Europe. Access Info gathers, analyses, and publishes comparative data about levels of transparency in Europe which can in turn be used in advocacy campaigns. Greater transparency in specific sectors which touch upon essential issues of European citizen´s interest both through increased proactive publication of information and higher rates of response to requests for information. Civil society organisations, journalists, members of the public can access independent advice about the right of access to information and, where necessary, be put in touch with lawyers who can help on a particular case. “Legal Leaks” Access to information and data security for journalists: toolkits, training and legal support. _84187b6a-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Current Project 2.1 Journalists n-ost In partnership with n-ost and regional/national partners. 9584ec2d-71a8-4505-9f14-2cc10282b317 Litigation Cases at the national and European level in defence of access to information. _84187c0a-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Current Project 2.2 Pro Bono Lawyers Supported by pro bono lawyers in Madrid, Brussels and Amsterdam. 576d7c51-4517-4de4-b8a1-7db5071273de Toolkits Guidance for the general public, journalists, and specialised NGOs on how to file request and how to appeal against refusals or administrative silence. _84187c96-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Current Project 2.3 General Public Journalists Specialised NGOs 6aab3c1b-d7d4-4269-acf8-261cb02d0f56 Access Info Help Desk Assistance for requestors who are unsure how to proceed with filing a request or who are considering appealing a refusal to provide information. _84187d2c-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Current Project 2.4 Information Requestors 890ed155-e776-492f-b7b7-7389c4edbc4c “Turn on the Light” Promoting transparency of information needed for the fight against corruption in the Western Balkans. _84187dd6-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Project Pending Funding 2.1 Western Balkans MANS Montenegro Transparency International In partnership with MANS, Montenegro and Transparency International chapters in W. Balkans. 958b1446-d76d-48f2-9933-aafe6f255fe7 Access for Rights: Access to information as a tool for civil liberties and human rights protection. In partnership with Statewatch. _84187e6c-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Project Pending Funding 2.2 Statewatch 7f81b922-5e82-431f-80fc-71b6e242c634 Thinking Info! Advancing the frontiers of the right to information _84187f0c-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 3 Goal: Access Info’s third strategic activity area aims to contribute to advancing the definition of the right at the European level and internationally in order that more information falls within the reach of the right to know and can be accessed by the public. Needs addressed: 1. Some areas of public activity which impact directly on the daily lives of people are still not fully accountable because the right of access to information does not apply to the relevant institutions or because the information they hold is classified or subject to broadly interpreted exceptions. 2. People still need access to information of relevance in their daily lives but which lies outside the reach of national access to information laws. This includes information about the totality of public activity and spending of public funds, including information about public services which have been outsourced to private bodies, information from parliaments and the courts. 3. There is a need for the right of access to information to apply to inter-governmental and supranational bodies if they are to become fully accountable and open to public participation in decision-making. 4. There is a need to ensure that all information held by public bodies, including information held in databases, is in principle accessible by the public. 5. The application of exceptions to the right of access to information is often over-broad, excluding access to information which should be in the public domain. 6. There is therefore a need for further investigation, collection of best practices, know how exchange between experts, and standard-setting to address these grey areas. 7. The public needs to have direct access to relevant and timely information from public bodies without the burden of filing information requests and the delays caused by waiting for answers. There is therefore a need to advocate for and achieve increased levels of proactive publication. Specific work strategies: research and policy development, leading and engaging in regional and international debate on the right of access to information. Results we aim to achieve: Improved definition of the nature, scope and functioning of the right of access to information. Expansion of the scope of the right to other bodies and sectors. Advancement of common standards and principles on access to information. In addition to the projects listed ... project in this activity area are sometimes short-term or micro-projects in which we react to a particular threat or opportunity, making statements, undertaking legal analysis, and other campaign actions in defence of the right to know. We will also respond to opportunities for standard-setting by engaging with other experts in development of a set of standards or issuing a statement in response to a particularly regressive or progressive move by a government. For all these issues, Access Info aims not only to propose standards ourselves but to engage with policy makers, political leaders, civil society, academics and the media and to stimulate debate. Our policy and position papers and our website will be designed to broaden discussion about the nature and scope of the right of access to information. Thinking Info! Access Info team members publish occasional policy papers, and keep a watching brief on issues which, although not formally part of project activities, may become so in the future. _84187fc0-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Current Project/Activity 3.1 Access Info Team Members We join ongoing debates about the frontiers of the right to know and contribute our perspective, expertise and analysis. 81ff445b-08bb-4b90-bc3f-17b58b8ad622 Access Info Principles Access Info Principles on the Right of Access to Information. _8418807e-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Current Project/Activity 3.2 4f2312ae-3763-4db3-b5bd-410744a2fdc4 Proactive Publication Principles Principles on proactive publication of information held by public authorities. _84188132-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Current Project/Activity 3.3 Public Authorities 6a8adc30-a742-408c-a854-04a04f48423c Principles on Classified Information Standard setting on classification of documents – research and analysis of good practice. _84188240-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Current Project/Activity 3.4 Working with Justice Initiative. 22ceb616-47e3-4591-a6cb-af72b8f3c11f Open Government Data Formats Research map out and evaluate the current state if initiatives to promote use by governments of open formats for storing and disclosing information. _84188312-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Current Project/Activity 3.5 OSI Information Program Oslo University e-Governance Academy Working with OSI Information Program, researchers from Oslo University, e-Governance academy. 248d2304-c312-4d50-a3cb-2e355d109815 Principles for an Open and Accountable NATO Principles designed to open up the transatlantic security body to the public. _841883da-89b1-11e1-acaf-dc3171d0e070 Current Project/Activity 3.6 NATO NATO Watch Working in liaison with NATO Watch. 9c7be18e-4945-4bcd-b546-6999550a2c6a 2009-10-09 2012-04-18 Owen Ambur Submit error.