Access to Information as a Human Right

20 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2008

Date Written: September 7, 2008


Information rights include rights to create and communicate information (e.g., freedom of expression, freedom of association), to control others' access to information (e.g., privacy and intellectual property), and rights to access information (e.g., freedom of thought, the right to read). This paper focuses on those rights related to free access to information and argues that access to information is indeed a fundamental human right. It is further argued that the right to access is not merely a liberty right, but also a welfare right. That is, individuals' information rights place duties on governments to provide access to information.

Keywords: human rights, information ethics, access to information, information rights

Suggested Citation

Mathiesen, Kay, Access to Information as a Human Right (September 7, 2008). Available at SSRN: or

Kay Mathiesen (Contact Author)

Kay Mathiesen ( email )

Boston, MA
United States

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