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National Security Principles Launched

cldThe launch of Global Principles on National Security and the Right to Information (Tshwane Principles) today was the culmination of a multi-year consultation process to set out a careful balance between protecting genuine national security interests and respecting the right to information. The consultation process involved 100s of individuals and 22 key support institutions, including the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD).

Click here full copy of the principles

The Tshwane Principles build on earlier work, including the Siracusa Principles and the Johannesburg Principles,” said CLD Executive Director, Toby Mendel. “But they take this work forward by updating those documents and in terms of their level of detail and sophistication.”

The Principles reaffirm many established standards regarding the right to information, but they also break important new ground. While they avoid defining national security directly, Principle 9 provides a clear statement of the categories of information that may qualify as falling within the scope of national security. Importantly, Principle 10 lists a number of categories of information in relation to which there is a high or overriding presumption of openness.

Now that the process of developing the Tshwane Principles has come to an end, the far more difficult task of promoting their implementation at the national level will start. The Centre for Law and Democracy urges all stakeholders to contribute to this process, including by disseminating the Principles widely. For its part, CLD will now start to integrate the Principles into its research, capacity building and advocacy activities.

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