As stipulated by the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents, the right of access to official documents fosters the integrity, efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of public authorities. All official documents are in principle public.
According to the Convention, state parties may limit the right of access to official documents. All restrictions to this right must be set down precisely in law, be necessary in a democratic society and be proportionate to the aim they protect. National security restrictions constitute the exception to the rule of access to information and must, as a consequence, be construed narrowly.
The Parliamentary Assembly considers that it should examine the issue of national security and access to information, with a view to establishing a clear and detailed legal framework in this respect, encompassing other, related work on this subject, such as that on the abuse of state secrecy and national security: obstacles to parliamentary and judicial scrutiny of human rights violations (doc. 11907).
The Assembly resolves to study the question of national security and access to information. Such an examination must take into account, in particular, questions of judicial and/or parliamentary oversight of national security information in order to ensure democratic legitimacy.