Legal Formulations of a Human Right to Information: Defining a Global Consensus01 Jan 2016
There is a growing body of law across the globe that seeks to define a right to information. Any study of such laws quickly reveals a great diversity of definitions for both the type of information covered and the nature of the right. Access to various particular types of information is routinely granted in piecemeal fashion through all levels of government including national sub-constitutional laws, national constitutions, and regional and international treaties. In the hierarchy of individual rights, constitutionally granted rights are commonly perceived as the strongest and are most likely to be accepted as inviolable. Thus, the increasing number of constitutional provisions granting a right to information, while still technically granting the right as a matter of law, does at least suggest that such constitutional rights have a source and justification that goes beyond mere law. In the end, a mature statement of the right to information is more than a list of its current enumerations. Both effective advocacy and sound legal interpretation will benefit from starting with the full statement of the right to information - the human right - to the information that is needed to live self-actualized.