Freedom of Expression

Press Release 113/04


Washington, D.C., December 7, 2004. The three international defenders and promoters of Freedom of Expression approved yesterday a joint declaration on access to information.

This year, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Mr. Ambeyi Ligabo; the Representative on Freedom of the Media of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Mr. Miklos Haraszti; and the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Organization of American States (OAS), Mr Eduardo Bertoni, with the assistance of ARTICLE 19 - Global Campaign for Free Expression, issued the joint statement that adds up to former declarations issued by these offices since 1999.

The Declaration determines the fundamental importance of access to information and applauds the increasing number of countries that have been adopting laws that recognise a right to access information. However, it condemns the attempts by some governments to “limit access to information either by refusing to adopt access to information laws or by adopting laws which fail to conform to international standards in this area”. In addition, it establishes that access to information is a citizen’s rights and that the procedures for accessing information should be simple, rapid and free or low-cost.

Moreover, the Declaration affirms that “Public authorities and their staff bear sole responsibility for protecting the confidentiality of legitimately secret information under their control. Other individuals, including journalists and civil society representatives, should never be subject to liability for publishing or further disseminating this information, regardless of whether or not it has been leaked to them, unless they committed fraud or another crime to obtain the information.”

To see Joint Declaration, pleack click the "2004" link below.

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