Freedom of Information / The Right to the Truth


United Nations
General Assembly, September 4, 2013
Sixty-eighth session Item 69 (b) of the provisional agenda*

Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms
Promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression 
Note by the Secretary-General

The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the General Assembly the report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 16/4. (* A/68/150).

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

By Frank La Rue

Summary

In the present report, the Special Rapporteur focuses on the right to access information. He describes how the right is established through international human rights law, emphasizing its interrelationships with the right to truth. Taking into account that framework, he discusses the permissible limitations to access to information, in particular the exceptions justified by national security concerns. He describes principles that may guide the design and implementation of laws on access to information and examines common obstacles noted in existing experience. He makes recommendations for the better translation of international human rights standards into national laws and practices that promote access to information.

Read more (PDF)


Avoiding the Principle of Public Access to Official Records

By Evabritta Wallberg

Summary

Inaugural lecture presented to the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences, Section for Other Sciences of Importance to the National Defence, on 8th December 2004 by Chief Archivist Evabritta Wallberg.

"Since 1766 Sweden has had a Freedom of the Press Act. It provides each and every one of us free access to all records of central and local government. That is the socalled ”Offentlighetsprincipen”. Exceptions from public access are allowed but only to protect a number of vital interests specified in the Freedom of the Press Act and in the Secrecy Act. This availability has been subject to criticism particularly during recent years. According to the critics this public access legislation leads to employees avoiding documentation of important and delicate decisions out of fear for what could come to people´s knowledge. The following possibilities are illegally made use of in order to withhold delicate information in official documents.

To classify
To destroy
Not to register
Not to document ...."

December 8, 2004

Read more (PDF)