Journalists urge parliament to pass Law on Public Information


Members of the Stop Censorship  Movement on 20 October wrote for a second time to the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Volodymyr Lytvyn and the heads of deputy factions. They called on them to pass draft law No. 2763 “On access to public information” during this session of parliament.

Two weeks ago the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a Resolution in which it called on the Ukrainian government to adopt a law on access to public information.

Stop Censorship quotes the Deputy Head of the President’s Administration, Anna Herman, promising to do everything so that the draft law on access to information, considered by the Council of Europe, is passed as soon as possible. They mention also her assurances of the President’s concern over all cases of violation and obstruction of journalists.

The Stop Censorship document states:

“We consider that in the present situation which has developed with regard to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly, the adoption of this draft law will be demonstration both for the Ukrainian public and the international community of positive democratic changes in the country. We stress that the adoption of the law on access to public information is particularly pertinent since this document will in future regulate the process of communication between the government and society which is urgently in need of democratization and transparency. The passing of the law will promote implementation of fundamental principles for creating a real democratic society in Ukraine”.

The vote on the draft law is scheduled for 21 October.

The draft law sets out liability for refusing to or procrastinating with providing information and broadens the range of those obliged to provide and make public information. It also proposes establishing the duty of providing information on limited access if it is of public importance. There is a also an extended list of types of information requests.

The Stop Censorship appeal has been signed by 450 journalists and representatives of 150 civic organizations.

The draft law was included by the Speaker on the agenda for 8 July this year, but then removed. The next day the Verkhovna Rada failed to support it, either in its second reading or as a whole.

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