Reversible Transparency: A Study of the New Danish Access to Information Act

Pernille Boye Koch, Rikke Gottrup

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his article analyses the new Danish Access to Information Act, specifically how it has controversially reduced public access to information when it comes to the most central political decisions. These changes represent an interesting development in a state usually considered an exponent for a high level of transparency in the public sector. We analyse how the Act has made it possible to reject applications for information to be used for ministerial advice and pertaining to documents exchanged between ministers and MPs, and we discuss the introduction of an article enabling the rejection of applications solely on the grounds that they will use considerable administrative resources. A remarkable shift in the approach to access to information has taken place, resulting in diminished public access to the background material for significant political decisions. Pointing out the need for further investigation, we compare this Danish tendency to international standards and pose the question of whether the Danish case is an example of a more general trend towards a reversal in the level of transparency in liberal democracies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Public Law
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)205-228
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

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