Hungary, Poland and Austria experience pressure on democratic space and have no right to ask or disastrously poor access to information rules. To keep citizens informed, combat fake news about the EU, counter hateful discourse and fight corruption, we need to ensure that citizens in can easily ask for information from the EU. Our tools will guide citizens, journalists and activists when requesting information from State and EU bodies, our own requests will help inform national political debates.
Austria, Poland, Hungary, Spain
Access to information held by government bodies and EU institutions is a prerequisite for citizens, civil society groups, academia and experts to understand, scrutinize and contribute to debates and decisions made by governments on national and EU levels.
Citizens, journalists, activists and researchers will more actively use their right to information, request documents from EU institutions and use them to shape public debates. EU institutions and Member States open up as a result of growing public pressure for transparency.
We want to reduce the (perceived) barrier to requesting information from State and EU institutions by
1) providing easily understandable guides, including detailed info on how to follow-up and appeal (as openly licensed documents & YouTube-videos) – so such citizen guides are currently available;
2) Add (Hungarian/Polish?) translations to the request platform AskTheEU.org;
3) File ATI requests to check and inform national debates and push for transparency from the EU, especially the Council.
Meaningful democratic participation is only possible if citizens can get first-hand access to information held by State bodies. Transparency is not only a powerful tool to reduce the risks of corruption and abuse of power, it can also help to counter emotionalized debates with facts and data.
We will share our access to information (ATI) guides with journalists and civil society groups, offer workshops, and advertise our outputs (using Google Ad Grants) to ensure citizens can find and use them. We will engage authorities, file ATI requests and, if denied, appeal.