Public authorities in charge of managing the crisis resulting from COVID-19 pandemic have a crucial role to play in responding to requests for access to information and providing, of their own motion, regular and evidence-based information covering various aspects of the crisis.
The Council of Europe Convention on access to official documents, known as Tromsø Convention, provides useful guidance to that effect.
This Convention is the first binding international legal instrument to recognise a general right of access to official documents held by public authorities. Transparency of public authorities is a key feature of good governance and an indicator of whether or not a society is genuinely democratic and pluralist. The right of access to official documents is also essential to the self-development of people and to the exercise of fundamental human rights. It also strengthens public authorities’ legitimacy in the eyes of the public, and its confidence in them.