Handlers of Public Interest Data are not to Practice "Goodwill"

Some municipalities have a unique way of interpreting the constitutional right to form an opinion and the requirements of disclosing public interest data. The city of Rétság serves as an example to this.

Beside the city municipality’s webpage www.retsag.hu, Károly Girasek, local resident, operated his own website, www.retsag.net. The municipality's request that the court liquidate the website operated by Girasek was based upon grounds of infringement of personal rights.

The municipality argued that Girasek had no right to relay, make public, or copy data from the municipality’s webpage onto his own. Girasek turned to the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Ombudsman to settle the matter. Girasek's position, citing Act LXIII. of year 1992. is as follows: "by disclosing public interest data, the handler of public interest data is not practicing ’goodwill’, but rather fulfilling his lawful duty...Information may freely be used for any purpose, may be relayed to others and may be published on other websites and through the media...A body fulfilling public function is acting in an unlawful manner by considering public interest data to be of personal property.”

Despite the Ombudsman’s clear stance, the municipality is still seeking ways to restrict the public and to refuse access to public interest data

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