The present contribution examines the judgment issued on 8 November 2016 by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in the case Magyar Helsinki Bizottság v. Hungary. This decision is indeed relevant under several aspects. First of all, by this judgment, the Strasbourg judges have definitively acknowledged – in accordance with the Court’s most recent case law – that a right of access to State-held information can, under certain circumstances, be inferred from Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In doing so, the Court even expressly identified, for the first time, some general criteria to be satisfied in order to trigger the application of Article 10 in cases concerning access to State-held information. Additionally, the decision under exam raises more general issues concerning both the interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights and the interaction between the right of access to State-held information and the protection of personal data. Taking the above into account, this paper intends to analyse the Court’s reasoning and findings in order to critically address the main innovative elements and shortcomings of the decision at stake.
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