The right to information is the public's right to know through having access to public information held by state bodies. Recognized as a cornerstone in transparent, participatory and open democracies, the right to information is increasingly perceived today as an emerging human right on the international level. While this right is conceptualized in a range of different contexts, the thesis focuses on its conceptualization as a force for socio-economic change for disadvantaged groups. The thesis's goal is to study the instrumental capacity of this right in empowering disadvantaged groups to access state-held information pertinent to their socio-economic rights. In this regard, the thesis views the right to information as an inclusionary tool that is capable of spurring inclusion for individuals excluded from the ambit of both: public participation and social justice. For exploring this, the thesis examines the advocacy role played by civil society groups in furthering this instrumental capacity, through their ability to politically act on public information disclosed. In particular, the thesis presents a focused account on the Egyptian case. While Egypt has recently adopted its constitutional provision on access to information, doubts arise on Egyptian citizens' genuine ability to access information held by state bodies. The politico-economic environment, long term culture of bureaucratic secrecy, and legal framework incite instead politics of exclusion with regard to access to public information. Within the particular context of the Egyptian case, this thesis questions the extent to which civil society in Egypt is capable of instrumentally employing the political opportunity offered by the constitutional right to information to resist this exclusion. Strategically, through four lawsuits brought by civil society groups in Egypt to request information disclosure, the thesis argues that the right to information has instrumentally provided civil society actors with new domains of mobilization for renegotiating a new social order lining the relationship between the Egyptian state and its citizens.


Law Department

Degree Name

LLM in International and Comparative Law

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2017

First Advisor

Sayed, Hani

Committee Member 1

Natarajan, Usha

Committee Member 2

Taha, Mai


64 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item