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TAKE ACTION! DEFEND EUROPEANS' RIGHT TO ACCESS INFORMATION

Europeans, take note: everyone has a right to information about how government is operating - to know how the government is spending your taxes and exercising the power that you give them at each election.

The Council of Europe, Europe's leading human rights body, is drafting the world's first international treaty on this right. Call on your government to make this treaty be as strong as possible and to recognise a full right of access to information. Act now - because on 12 November, the Council is meeting to consider adopting the treaty, which rights groups say in its current form "sets overly low standards."

In October, the council's Parliamentary Assembly raised serious concerns about the draft, having listened to more than 250 civil society organisations, information commissioners from around Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Representative on Freedom of the Media. They said the draft treaty gives a right of access to information to only a narrow range of public bodies and has an unclear definition of the information to which the right applies. Not to change the current draft would allow "some public bodies to continue operating in the shadows," said the Parliamentary Assembly.

Access Info Europe, the Open Society Justice Initiative and ARTICLE 19 are asking you to call on your government and elected official to redraft the treaty to take in these considerations. Also, visit Access Info Europe's Recognise My Right website to sign a petition to Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt (Sweden is currently chair of the Council of Europe).

This is a last opportunity to urge the governments of Europe not to adopt a treaty, so sign the petition now: http://www.recognisemyright.info/

For more on the problems with the draft convention, see: http://www.access-info.org

(5 November 2008)

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