2019/ 2020

Neus Vidal Martí

Mobility Phase: Birkbeck, University of London - Department of Politics

Transparency laws in Europe: a comparative study using the right to request public information

Photo: Joanna Scheffel

Neus Vidal-Martí is a political Scientist and Journalist. She is currently a Lecturer at the Open University of Catalonia, where she teaches digital media ethics and data reporting. She holds a double degree in Journalism and Political Science (Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona), a MA in Investigative Journalism (City, University of London) and she is currently pursuing a PhD in politics at Birkbeck, University of London.  She has worked in the United Kingdom and in Spain and has published in several international media outlets. She usually covers politics and related areas and has worked as a freelance political Correspondent for the Spanish newspaper El País. Her fields of expertise are access to information laws and press freedom. She works with transparency legislation for research purposes and has also set up projects to help citizens request public information.

Transparency laws in Europe: a comparative study using the right to request public information

In the past decades, most European countries have implemented Freedom of Information Acts or Transparency Laws. However, these pieces of legislation do not guarantee the same rights in all countries. Each European country has its own Transparency law and, in some cases, some regions within one country also have different regional laws. In practice, this means that European citizens do not have an equal right to access information. This is extremely relevant in an area like Europe, in which countries have many financial, social and political ties with one another. Most European citizens share the right to live and work in other states, yet they do not have the same rights when it comes to knowing information about their governments because there is no common transparency legislation. The aim of my research project is to understand the differences between European countries regarding the right to access public information by sending the same information requests to several states and comparing the answers. The results will be published in an essay and shared online to make them available to the public. They will be useful to understand which European countries are more transparent and set good legal standards for others to follow.