Right to Information

Right to Information and Transparency

The resources on this Module explore the nature and extent of the right to information.The readings include standards on the right to access government held information, open court and open parliament.

7 items found, showing 11 - 7
Author: Lisa Chamberlain
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"Many human rights have a dual value in that their realisation is both an important end, and a means to enable the realisation of other rights. The effective implementation of these kinds of rights is thus particularly important for advancing rights-based democracy. However, in practice, the implementation of such rights is often problematic. The article examines access to information and protest as examples of such ‘enabling’ rights. Drawing on the experience of communities and civil society organisations, it identifies and discusses some striking similarities in the way in which the legislation promulgated to give effect to these two rights in South Africa is being implemented, and argues that the problematic implementation of legislation is having the effect of thwarting these rights, rather than promoting them. Further, it argues that the existence of such striking similarities may point to a more systemic problem of civil and political rights failing to enable the realisation of socio-economic rights."

Chamberlain, Lisa. “Assessing enabling rights: Striking similarities in troubling implementation of the rights to protest and access to information in South Africa” African Human Rights Law Journal 16, no. 2 (2016): 365-384.

Author: European Law (ERA), Dan Shefet
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This video was a part of the ERA’s Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Human Rights, convened in Brussels in March 2020. In this live-stream, Dan Shefet (Lawyer, Cabinet Shefet, Paris) presents and discusses the advantages of AI decision-making to the justice system. He further discusses the “accountability of private corporations for human rights violations and the challenges in enforcing judgments against them abroad.”

European Law (Dan Shefet at ERA’s conference on Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights). “Automated Online Activity and Freedom of Expression, Assembly and Religion”. 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KJzRqHGIE4&list=PLagJQ3U7CuoqLSMY74Om81l0JRzTi5X7h&index=29

Author: IACmHR
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In October 2000, following debates among different civil society organizations, and in support of the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights approved the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression. The Declaration constitutes a basic document for interpreting Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights. In light of the importance of these principles, the Commission also published an interpretation of the principles set forth in the Declaration.

OAS, IACmHR. Background and Interpretation of the Declaration of Principles. 108th regular period of sessions. 2-20 October 2000

Author: Susan Benesch
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“Private social media companies regulate much more speech than any government does, and their platforms are being used to bring about serious harm. Yet companies govern largely on their own, and in secret. To correct this, advocates have proposed that companies follow international human-rights law. That law–by far the world’s best-known rules for governing speech–could improve regulation itself, and would also allow for better transparency and oversight on behalf of billions of people who use social media. This paper argues that for this to work, the law must first be interpreted to clarify how (and whether) each of its provisions are suited to this new purpose. For example, the law provides that speech may be restricted to protect national security, as one of only five permissible bases for limiting speech. Governments, for which international law was written, may regulate on that basis, but not private companies which have no national security to protect. To fill some of the gap, the paper explains and interprets the most relevant provisions of international human-rights law–Articles 19 and 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which pertain to freedom of expression–for use by social media companies, in novel detail.”

Benesch, Susan. “But Facebook’s Not a Country: How to Interpret Human Rights Law for Social Media Companies.” Yale Journal on Regulation Online Bulletin 38 (2020): 86-111.

Author: Toby Mendel, Centre for Law and Democracy
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"For many  years  now, an apparent  conundrum  has lurked just  beneath the  surface among European jurisdictions.  In  the Common Law countries – namely  the United Kingdom and  Ireland – full court decisions, including  the names of  the parties, are generally accessible  to  the public.  In  the  rest of Europe, governed by  the civil law, however, such decisions are normally published only with the names of the parties redacted. The apparent rationale for the former is the idea of open justice, while in the latter group of countries the idea of personal data protection reigns supreme."

Toby Mendel, Court Decisions in Georgia: How to Negotiate the Minefield Between Access and Respect for Privacy, Centre for Law and Democracy, March 2017.

Author: Oxford Law Faculty
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“This webinar, organized by the Bonavero Institute, UNESCO, and the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford), discusses the challenges for freedom of expression, access to information, privacy and related rights posed by measures adopted by governments around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel is made up of Justice Edward Amoako Asante (President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice), Judge Darian Pavli (Judge at the European Court of Human Rights), Mr. Joan Barata (UNESCO expert; Center for Internet and Society and Cyber Policy Center, Stanford University) and Ms. Jennifer Robinson (prominent lawyer with expertise in media law, public law and international law) as speakers, and is chaired by Professor Kate O’ Regan (Director of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights).”

Oxford Law Faculty. “COVID-19 and Freedom of Expression”. 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHEAyjF9r1Q.

Author: School of Public Policy at Central European University, David Kaye
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“In this public talk hosted by the Center for Media, Data and Society at the CEU School of Public Policy, UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye discussed global threats to freedom of expression. He was introduced by Sejal Parmar, Assistant Professor at the CEU Department of Legal Studies. The agenda of the talk and themes discussed in his lecture and in the ensuing Q&A spanned the following: global threats to freedom of expression; how to promote protective measures to free speech, hate speech and access to information; protection of whistleblowers; role and liability of intermediaries and social media companies; surveillance; digital security; transparency; the Bernstein case, Apple v. FBI; code speech; different national security measures on freedom of expression, and the UN standard on the issue; Facebook posts as reasons for prosecution for incitement; Article 19; the right to be forgotten; content discrimination in relation to freedom of expression; Article 19 to promote government transparency and access to information; the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction Movement and its academic implications; academic freedom; how the Special Rapporteur prioritizes over requests and communications; and, contempt of court in relation to freedom of expression.”

School of Public Policy at Central European University, David Kaye. “David Kaye on the Global Challenges to Freedom of Expression”. 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mv5EqJMYXGQ.