Deutsch auf Deutsch:

Will the German Federal States support an "area of freedom, security and justice" with a "guarantee for the principles of democracy and respect for human rights", according to Com 2002/0247 which EU is building up with the help of the Fundamental Rights Agency (COM(2005)280)?

Walter Keim, Email:
Torshaugv. 2 C
N-7020 Trondheim, 31. July 2005 [added 20. Sep. 2005]

To [Committees of Petitions,] Parliaments and Governments in federal states (Bundesländer) in Germany
Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia  

Copy: EU Commission, EU Parliament, EU Council, Council of Europe, OSCE, OECD, PACE and UN

Realization of Freedom of Information in German Local States   


Freedom of Information also called access to public documents is an essential aspect of transparency which is itself an essential part of democracy. This citizens right is found in more then 65 states all over the world, many of which consider it as a basic right based on their constitution.

Germany is in 12 of 16 states up to now the only major country in EU, Europe, OSCE, OECD and developed civilized countries without Freedom of Information. Therefore 70 % of the population in Germany lack Freedom of Information in communities, counties and federal states.

I would like to emphasize that the right to information is part of the right to freedom of expression, which is confirmed by international human rights treaties, specifically by the International Pact of Civil and Political Rights (article 19), and the Universal Declaration of Human rights (article 19), all of them ratified by Germany and incorporated into German law. German states violate this pact.

All over Europe access to public documents was adopted on the basis of recommendation 81 (19) of CoE of the year 1981. On Balkan only Montenegro is missing. Will German states fall back the last Balkan state? Will European standards of citizen rights have a chance in German states?

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU gives Freedom of Information in Article 42, access to documents in Article 41 (2), the right to complain in Article 43 (Ombudsman) and the right to fair answers within reasonable time in Article 41 (1).

UN, OSCE and AOS confirm in their Joint Declaration of 6. December 2004, that Access to Information is a human right:

The right to access information held by public authorities is a fundamental human right which should be given effect at the national level through comprehensive legislation (for example Freedom of Information Acts) based on the principle of maximum disclosure, establishing a presumption that all information is accessible subject only to a narrow system of exceptions.

In Germany a Freedom of Information law has been promised since 1998. The coalition parties have 2004 proposed a law for federal agencies. The federal parliament Bundestag has adopted this law 3. June 2005. The Senate (Bundesrat) approved the FOI law 8. July 2005.

All over Europe e. g. in Nordrhein-Westfalen (2001 with votes of all parties also CDU), Turkey (2003), Switzerland (2004) and Serbia (2004) all parties contributed to laws which have been approved without votes against Freedom of Information.

I appeal to the parliaments and governments of the German federal states (lander) to realize the citizen and human right of Freedom of Information in Germany, as one of the last major countries in Europe and the civilized world. Germany will at local state level follow the international development in civilized states and avoid falling back bananas republics being last of all.


Walter Keim
Freedom of Information with principle of maximum disclosure:
Who invites the Human Rights Commissioner?: 
Will OSCE promote Freedom of Information? :

Copy: German press council, OHCHR-UNOG G/SO 215/51 GERM ES, EU Commission, EU Parliament, EU Council, Council of Europe, OSCE, OECD, PACE and UN


Answers: Hamburg  (29. March 2006), Bremen (11. May 2006), Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (27. June 2006) and Saarland (2. July 2006) adopted FOI laws. 2007 Thuringa adopts FOI. Altogether 9 of 16 states enacted FOI laws.

In 2007 the governments in Saxony-Anhalt suggested a FOI law to parliaments. The government of Rhineland-Palatinate is working on a FOI-law.

Negative answers from parliaments in: Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony (opposition positive), Hesse, Bavaria, Lower Saxony. 7 federal states (lander) continue to violate the human right of access to public documents.




[Freedom of Information]     [Petitions]     [FOI as Constitutional Right]      [Constitutional complaint]      [Administrative court case]     [Human rights]    [Homepage]  


Informationsfreiheitgesetze in Deutschland

Informationsfreiheitgesetze in Europa

Informationsfreiheit in Europa