Media4Democracy has released a practical guide to assist European Union (EU) Delegations’ actions that will help to strengthen access to information (ATI) as a fundamental right and as vital to promoting participatory democracy, good governance, freedom of expression and other fundamental rights
Titled, Supporting Access to Information – A Practical Guide for EU Delegations, it provides policy and practical guidance for EU Delegations on improving implementation of existing laws, mobilising and supporting civil society to defend and advocate for these rights and supporting media actors in using access to information in their efforts to fight corruption and hold government to account.
It gives hands-on examples for EU Delegations to study and to emulate, as well as give relevant policy guidance, including a review of the EU’s own recent history and regulations in this area. It builds off the guidance in the EU Human Rights Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Offline that describe actions the EU Delegations and Member States can take to support access to information.
The Practical Guide prepared by Technical Assistance Facility of Media4Democracy and managed by the Directorate General International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) provides non-mandatory technical guidance to EU Delegations.
It shows how support for the principle of public access to information and the practical implementation of access to information laws reinforce the EU’s work around the world in promoting participatory democracy, good governance, freedom of expression and other fundamental rights, and human development overall.
It notes, among other things, regional agreements and instruments relevant to the practical application of access to information principles which are invaluable references, both for the policy guidance they provide to EU Delegations and as potential models for such regulations and systems in other regions where the EU supports progress in this area.
EU Delegations are at the frontline of promoting human rights issues and can have substantial impact on strengthening governments’ commitments to access to information. Information access has particular relevance within the new 2030 Development Agenda, notably with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 16.10 which calls for ensuring public access to information and protection of fundamental freedoms.
Media4Democracy is an EU-funded technical assistance programme dedicated to assisting EU Delegations in implementing the EU Human Rights Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Offline. Its mission is to enhance the capacity of EU Delegations to work creatively on freedom of expression (FoE) within the available frameworks, and to build on best available practice.
The Practical guide is available online and can be downloaded from https://media4democracy.eu/wp-content/uploads/Access-To-Info-Practical-Guide-for-EU-Delegations_Final.pdf