Verhoeven, Amaryllis (2000) "The Right to Information: a Fundamental Right?". In: UNSPECIFIED, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
I am asked to talk about the fundamental right to information. Let me start by placing that right in the broader perspective of transparency. The issue of transparency has, during the last decade, been high on the European Union's political agenda. Triggering events were the difficulties surrounding the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty, which brought a lack of public support for the European integration project to the fore. Although transparency is often conflated with the right of access to official documents, transparency is a much broader notion covering a wide set of differing claims. Transparency embraces not only 'openness in government' but also includes concepts such a simplicity and comprehensibility. As a general matter, transparency is born out of a desire to enhance democracy. Democracy is, however, a notoriously vague concept; accordingly, arguments on why transparency is needed and what it entails, widely differ.
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