A citizen’s ability to have access to information about his government and its actions is described as one of most important to the functioning of a democratic society by both contemporary and historical writers, including drafters of 18th century constitutions underpinned by Enlightenment theories of popular sovereignty. An informed citizenry that can participate in governing was perceived as ‘the very foundation for all those freedoms’ guaranteed by ‘the First Amendment’ of the United States Constitution and, by extension. ‘[T]he right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication thereon, is the only effective guardian of every other right’ is how James Madison, U.S. president and author of the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution in which the First Amendment is contained, described its pivotal role. In this article, the author examines EU access to information laws and where the balance of the public interest lies.
European Public Law