Home > 2.Methodology > Redesign analytical framework of the right of access to information

Redesign analytical framework of the right of access to information

Traditional analytical framework of FOI regime centres on the process of information disclosure, which is often the main line of FOI law in numerous countries. It mainly includes the scope of the information to be released, the ways of dissemination, the categories of information exempt as well as the balancing conditions, and remedies.

The process of Access to Information


Yet it is more advantageous to observe and understand the disclosure system through the structure of the “access right”. On the one hand, from an analytical prospect, the process-centred framework will be entangled with complex confused standards and sometimes trivial procedural issues. Adopting the right-centred approach makes it easier to learn how much room the regime gives to access right, especially to its enforcement. It is pertinent in a sense that OGI rules – the Chinese-style FOI law – emphasize proactive dissemination rather than disclosure through request, but do not articulate whether the procative publication can be the object of a claimable right. On the other hand, the right of access to information (ATI) is the core of all mature FOI rules (Ackerman 2006), and the spirit of freedom of information lies in the access right, although it can only be ultimately realized through the act of disclosure by administrative agencies. From a normative stand, the right to information is so fundamental in strengthening democratic regime manifested by Chinese constitution that any restriction on it should be legitimized. Observing information disclosure law from a right-centred way can accentuate the significance of the access right. When deciding the legality of agencies’ disclosure act, right-centred position can facilitate the reference to the approach of reviewing government interference adopted in international jurisprudence of human rights . This approach could implement the traditional approach of Chinese administrative law which is concentrated on the legality of administrative acts.

Ackerman, J. M. (2006). “The global explosion of freedom of information laws.” Administrative Law Review 58(1): 85-130

Categories: 2.Methodology
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