Madrid, 15 June 2013 – Access Info Europe calls on the Ukrainian Parliament to adopt Draft Law No. 0947 before summer recess and align Ukrainian legislation with the new information laws that Ukraine passed in 2011. Draft amendments are pending in the Parliament since May 2012 and are key for the proper enforcement of the landmark 2011 Law of Ukraine on Access to Public Information which was recognized as one of the best legal texts on the subject globally .
Draft Law No. 0947 was prepared in 2011 by civil society experts and was submitted in the parliament by the Government in May 2012. It includes amendments in more than 55 legislative acts and provides, among others, the following important changes:
- • Strengthening administrative sanctions for violation of the Access to Public Information Law, in particular with regard to infringement of the rules on proactive publication and use of public interest;
- • Removing presumption that all critical comments about a person are false, unless the commentator (e.g. journalist) proves otherwise, which has had a chilling effect on the media freedoms;
- • Providing public access to meetings of representative authorities (national parliament and local councils);
- • Opening information about activities of local authorities, their decisions and meetings, and strengthening transparency of information about budget expenditures and management of public property, prohibition to restrict access to general and detailed plans of cities and towns;
- • Improving transparency of public procurement, privatization and statistics, as well as of information held by financial institutions and monopolies;
- • Publication of annual declarations of assets, income and expenses of public officials on the official web-sites;
- • Bringing legal provisions on state secrets in line with the Access to Public Information Law, in particular with regard to the public interest test;
- • Balancing the right to privacy with the freedom of information guarantees by amending the Data Protection Law and the Law on Archives.
Free access to information held by public entities is a fundamental human right. It is an important guarantee that enables a number of other human rights and freedoms in a democratic society and helps to prevent and detect corruption and other official wrongdoing.
Access Info Europe therefore supports speedy adoption by the Ukrainian Parliament of the Draft Law No. 0947 in the final reading and its signing into law by the President, which will become a crucial next step in guaranteeing freedom of information in Ukraine and set an example for other countries in the region.