“The Grand Chamber’s view of the relevant principles in relation to Article 10 was as follows
“The Court continues to consider that “the right to freedom to receive information basically prohibits a Government from restricting a person from receiving information that others wish or may be willing to impart to him.” Moreover, “the right to receive information cannot be construed as imposing on a State positive obligations to collect and disseminate information of its own motion”. The Court further considers that Article 10 does not confer on the individual a right of access to information held by a public authority nor oblige the Government to impart such information to the individual. However, as is seen from the above analysis, such a right or obligation may arise, firstly, where disclosure of the information has been imposed by a judicial order which has gained legal force (which is not an issue in the present case) and, secondly, in circumstances where access to the information is instrumental for the individual’s exercise of his or her right to freedom of expression, in particular “the freedom to receive and impart information” and where its denial constitutes an interference with that right” .”
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights today handed down judgment in the case of Magyar Helsinki Bizottság v. Hungary (application no. 18030/11). It held (15:2) that there is an Article 1o right to public access to information where access to the information is instrumental for the individual’s exercise of his or her right to freedom of expression.
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