Why has a Freedom of Information Act been enacted in North Rhine-Westfalia

 

The Freedom of Information Act enables citizens to obtain information about how the public sector functions and about the intentions behind its decisions. This makes public administration more transparent. Before the Freedom of Information Act NRW was passed, citizens, as a general rule, had to demonstrate that they had a legitimate interest when they wished to inspect specific official files in North Rhine-Westphalia. The Freedom of Information Act NRW has brought about a fundamental change in this respect. Under the Freedom of Information Act NRW citizens have access to all information that is held by the state's public institutions and authorities and that is covered by the Act. The IFG NRW grants a right of access to information which is not subject to any special conditions. Authorities and other public administration bodies are obliged to make available to citizens the information they request. They can reject a request for access to information only on the grounds provided for in the Freedom of Information Act NRW. Where, in an individual case, an authority is not in a position to disclose information because disclosure of that information would be incompatible with legitimate public or private interests, the authority has to state the reasons for its decision to turn down the request. However, an applicant can have reviewed a negative decision in Administrative Courts. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance in exercising your right to access information.

 

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