From: <>
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Subject: Germany reports false to UN about Freedom of Information
Date: 29. oktober 2003 18:12

auf Deutsch:

The German government has promised a Freedom of Information Law to provide access to public documents since 1998 (in German: Informationsfreiheitsgesetz:

But only a draft has been presented so long. Therefore one should expect that the government is aware that Freedom of Information is missing.

But in its report to UN on ICCPR: CCPR/C/DEU/2002/5 of 4 December 2002 Germany claims in point 240 to comply with ICCPR Article 19 (2) and Freedom of Information. It is referred to of Article 5 of the Basic Law.

But this is wrong because the Article 5 of the Basic law (In German: Informationsfreiheit) states expressively: "from generally accessible sources", i. e. does not provide access to public documents. Therefore Freedom of Information is missing in Germany.

According to the Special Rapporteur clearly the right to access information held by public authorities is protected by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), as the following excerpt from his report, in 1999 (UN Doc. E/CN.4/1999/64, para. 12), illustrates:

"[T]he Special Rapporteur expresses again his view, and emphasizes, that everyone has the right to seek, receive and impart information and that this imposes a positive obligation on States to ensure access to information, particularly with regard to information held by Government in all types of storage and retrieval systems - including film, microfiche, electronic capacities, video and photographs - subject only to such restrictions as referred to in article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."

Will the UN understand that the report is incorrect? In session: the subject will be discussed.

The governments of Switzerland:, Serbia and Montenegro have sent draft FOI laws to parliament. Germany (in 12 of 16 lander) and Luxembourg are now competing to be the last in Europe regarding Freedom of Information.  


Walter Keim
Human Right violations in Germany:
"Swedish solution" for Freedom of Information:
Warum sind Patientenrechte defizitär in Deutschland? :
Who is responsible for the lack of freedom of information:

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