Forget the public – and their right to information
The Verkhovna Rada on Friday rejected the Law “On access to public information” and sent it back for a repeat second reading. The bill received only 143 votes, whereas 312 National Deputies voted to send it back. It will probably be tabled again in autumn.
Draft Law No. 2763 was considered during the evening session on 9 July. At the coordination council on 5 July, the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada promised to support the draft bill. It was supposed to be voted on the day before, but was taken off the agenda.
The Civic Movement “Stop Censorship!” had called on parliament to pass the law during this session.
On 23 June President Yanukovych promised to sign it into law if it was supported by parliament, while the Head of the Security Service [SBU] Valery Khoroshkovsky had said that the SBU would not oppose its adoption.
The draft law was passed as a base on 12 June 2009.
The Head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Freedom of Speech, Andriy Shevchenko [BYuT] said that neither the State Department on Television and Radio Broadcasting nor the SBU had objected, however the Ministry of Justice had proposed sending it back for another second reading. He says that he has two explanations for what happened. Either concealed opposition, where the government is apparently for the bill, but in fact has no intention of signing, or simply organizational chaos, since the coalition have other issues on their mind.
“Ukraine, together with Belarus and Turkmenistan, remain among those countries which still have no law on access to public information”.