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Council of the European Union: EU Human Rights Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Offline

‘14. The right to freedom of expression includes freedom to seek and receive information. It is a key component of democratic governance as the promotion of participatory decision-making processes is unattainable without adequate access to information. For example the exposure of human rights violations may, in some circumstances, be assisted by the disclosure of information held by State entities. Ensuring access to information can serve to promote justice and reparation, in particular after periods of grave violations of human rights. The UN Human Rights Council has emphasized that the public and individuals are entitled to have access, to the fullest extent practicable, to information regarding the actions and decision-making processes of their Government‘
‘15. Every individual should have the right to ascertain in an intelligible form, whether, and if so what, personal data is held and stored about them and for what purposes. Every individual should also be able to ascertain which public authorities or private individuals or bodies control or may take decisions affecting the processing of his or her personal data kept in electronic or manual files. If such files contain incorrect personal data or data that have been collected or processed contrary to the provisions of the law, every individual should have the right to have his or her records rectified and in certain circumstances erased. States should make every effort to ensure easy, prompt, effective and practical access to such information. It is recognised that it can be relevant to consider data protection in the context of freedom of expression.‘
‘16.The Internet and digital technologies have expanded the possibilities of individuals and media to exercise the right to freedom of expression and freely access online information. Any restriction that prevents the flow of information offline or online must be in line with permissible limitations as set out in international human rights law.‘