A Model Freedom of Information Law

The right to information is guaranteed in international law, including as part of the guarantee of freedom of expression in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Many countries around the world are now giving legal effect to the right, both by enshrining access to information in their constitutions and by adopting laws which give practical effect to the right, providing concrete processes for its exercise.

In this context, the term ‘model’ is not used to suggest that all countries should take this as a fixed template for their own legislation. Every country has different informational needs and different structures, and laws must be adapted accordingly. Rather, the term ‘model’ is used to signify that it is through a law incorporating the types of provisions set out here that maximum effect is given to practical disclosure of information, in accordance with the best standards on the right to know.