The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Partial access for journalists to documents of the intelligence service

A journalist from the "Neue Zürcher Zeitung" is allowed to view certain documents from the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) relating to complaints from staff. The Federal Administrative Court has partially upheld his appeal against the FIS's rejection.

The journalist submitted four requests for access by June 2021 on the basis of the Freedom of Information Act. The documents concerned the financial management of the FIS, the awarding of contracts, cases of sexism and the management's reactions to these cases.

The FIS refused to grant access. After an unsuccessful conciliation hearing at the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (Edöb), the journalist withdrew his request for the documents relating to the reactions to the sexism allegations.

In a ruling published on Wednesday, the Federal Administrative Court partially upheld the journalist's appeal. He is allowed to inspect one of the three dossiers still pending, namely the one on cases of sexism - more precisely, the information that was communicated to the management of the FIS on cases of sexism.

This decision is not yet legally binding and can be appealed to the Federal Supreme Court. (Judgment A_535/2022 of 18.1.2024)


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