This paper takes an overview of the development and implementation of Access to Information laws across Europe. It argues that laws are shaped (and re-shaped) by their creation, context and the resulting conflict. It begins by examining the link between the passage of the legislation and the differences in their implementation. While there are common features and trends in ATI laws, they differ by the type of political systems, legacies of open or secret cultures, and the strength of political support or opposition. The paper ends by looking at how contestation and conflict continue to shape Europe’s ATI laws. Regimes go through phases of ‘expansion’ or ‘dismantling’ over time and systems are now increasingly shaped by the wider ‘ecology’ of openness in which they are placed (Knill 2012: Kreimer 2017).
Keywords: Access to Information, Freedom of Information, Europe
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[image via Walter Keim]