These Principles were developed in order to provide guidance to those engaged in drafting, revising, or implementing laws or provisions relating to the state’s authority to withhold information on national security grounds or to punish the disclosure of such information.
They are based on international (including regional) and national law, standards, good practices, and the writings of experts.
They address national security—rather than all grounds for withholding information. All other public grounds for restricting access should at least meet these standards.
These Principles were drafted by 22 organizations and academic centres (listed in the Annex) in consultation with more than 500 experts from more than 70 countries at 14 meetings held around the world, facilitated by the Open Society Justice Initiative, and in consultation with the four special rapporteurs on freedom of expression and/or media freedom and the special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights:
the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression,
the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights,
the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information,
the Organization of American States (OAS) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, and
the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media.