Five openness demands set out for European election candidates

March 4, 2019




The world’s leading organisation for openness in government has set out its five demands for candidates standing in this year’s European elections. Open Knowledge International has called on candidates and parties across the EU to be ‘open advocates’, to ensure the next European Parliament has MEPs who will champion freedom of expression and access to information. The demands will be set out in a keynote speech today (MON) by chief executive Catherine Stihler, former MEP for Scotland, at the Open Belgium Conference in Brussels.

They are: 1) A public pledge to oppose Article 13 of the EU’s chilling copyright reforms which threatens to restrict the sharing of data and other content on the internet. 2) Support improved transparency measures at social media companies like Facebook to prevent the spread of disinformation and fake news. 3) Champion ‘responsible data’ to ensure that data is used ethically and legally, and protects privacy. 4) Back efforts to force governments and organisations to use established and recognised open licences when releasing data or content. 5) Push for greater openness in their country, including committing to domestic transparency legislation.

Catherine Stihler, chief executive of Open Knowledge International, said: “There have been many gains in recent years that have made our society more open, with experts – be they scientists, entrepreneurs or campaigners – using data for the common good. “But I have joined OKI at a time when openness is at risk. The acceptance of basic facts is under threat, with many expert views dismissed and a culture of ‘anti-intellectualism’ from those on the extremes of politics. “I want to see a fairer and open society where we help harness the power of open data and unleash its potential for the public good. “That’s why we need a strong cohort of open advocates at the European Parliament to champion open data and transparency, while also protecting privacy. “At Open Knowledge International, we will help fight the good fight by continuing our work to bring together communities around the world to celebrate and prove the value of being open in the face of prevailing winds.”


NOTES TO EDITORS Catherine Stihler’s full speech at Open Belgium is as follows:

Contact: Alan Roden at or +44 07753 904 531


The Open Knowledge Foundation helps governments, universities, and civil society organisations reach their full potential by providing them with skills and tools to publish, use, and understand data. We are the experts in opening up knowledge: we created the Open Definition in 2005, the gold standard for open data, and have over ten years of experience in addressing technological, legal and social challenges around open data. We believe in a world where knowledge creates power for the many, not the few.

We deliver technology solutions, enhance data literacy, provide cutting-edge research and mobilise communities to provide value for a wide range of international clients. Our track record includes the development of pioneering databases for fiscal and medical transparency, world leading open data benchmarks such as the Global Open Data Index, and data training programs with key non-profit organisations such as Global Witness. We work with a range of international NGOs, such as Transparency International, as well as governments around the world, including the United Kingdom, United States, Panama, and Sweden.

Read more here:

The Open Knowledge Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation. It is incorporated in England & Wales as a company limited by guarantee, with company number 05133759. Registered office address: 86 - 90 Paul Street, London EC2A 4NE, UK.

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