Log in

Register



News

Should the right to re-use of information be a fundamental right?

 

 We know that the access to information is a fundamental right, guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. We also know that the right to re-use the information coming from public sector bodies has been dealt by the PSI Directive and that in most member states there is a clear separation between the access legal system and the re-use legal system.


However now, with the incoming new PSI Directive renamed as “Open Data and Public Sector Information Directive” does it make sense to keep a clear distinction between the two rights?


The universally accepted definition of Open Data provided by the Open Definition, sounds:

Open means anyone can freely access, use, modify, and share for any purpose (subject, at most, to requirements that preserve provenance and openness).”

As you may notice, in the definition the concepts of access and re-use are merged. Instead, in the legal framework of several member states and also in the current PSI Directive there is a relationship of propaedeuticity between the two rights. In other words you cannot re-use information if you do not have access to it.

However, why not consider the right of re-use as embedded into the right of access? Accepting this, there would be a number of benefits, one of them is the fact that the right of re-use would acquire the status of fundamental right.

 

The right of access in the constitutions of the member states

A constitution contains the basic principles and rules of a country. It specifies how a country should be governed and what rights citizens have. 

Having the access right in the constitution is important for the its recognition as a fundamental human right. In this regard, it is interesting to find out in which member states it is included in the constitution.

The table below summarizes the results of an analysis on the constitutional provisions laid down by the member states. The large majority of the countries has the access right included into the constitution.

 

Right of access in the Constitution

Country

Is right of access to information in the Constitution?

Date of first introduction

Note

 

Austria
No
-
Current Austria's Constitution requires public bodies to observe official secrecy.

 

Belgium
Yes
2012
Article 32 of the Constitution of Belgium

 

Bulgaria
Yes
1991
Article 41 of the Constitution of Bulgaria

 

Croatia
Yes
2010
Article 38 of the Constitution of Croatia

 

Cyprus
Yes
1960
1985

 

Czech Republick
Yes
1991
Article 17 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms (separate document from the constitution but with the same legal standing)

 

Denmark
No
-
 

 

Estonia
Yes
1992

 

Finland
Yes
1999
Section 12 of the Constitution of Finland

 

France
Yes
1958
Articles 7 and 34 of the French Constitution

 

Germany
Yes
2012

 

Greece
Yes
2001
Article 5A interpretative clause of the Greek Constitution

 

Hungary
Yes
2011
Article VI (2) of the Fundamental Law of Hungary

 

Ireland
No
-
 

 

Italy
Yes
1947
Indirectly through arts. 21 and 97 of the Italian Constitution

 

Latvia
Yes
1998
Articles 100 of Latvian Constitution

 

Lithuania
Yes
1992

 

Luxembourg
No
-
Country without RTI
law

 

Malta
Yes
1998
Article 41 of Constitution of Malta

Netherlands
Yes
2002
Article 110 of the Dutch Constitution

 

Poland
Yes
1997

 

Portugal
Yes
1989

 

Romania
Yes
1991
Article 31 of the Constitution of Romania

 

Slovakia
Yes
1992
Article 26 (5) and 45 of the Constitution of Slovakia

 

Slovenia
Yes
2006
Article 39 (2) of the Constitution of Slovenia

 

Spain
Yes
1978
Articles 20 and 105 of the col-md-ish Constitution

 

Sweden
Yes
1949
1974

 

United Kingdom
No
-
The country does not have a codified constitution

 

 Conclusion

A merging of the rights of access and re-use of information following the “Open Data” definition could guarantee the acceptance of the re-use right as a fundamental right. By the way, this is what the new name of the PSI Directive seems to suggest.

About

A transparent and publicly accessible database of requests for the re-use of public sector information (PSI).

Funded by the European Union

Keep in Touch

 
 

NEWSLETTER

 
© 2018 PSI Monitor

Quick search