Draft bills on Information and on Access to Public Information ready for second reading


The Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information at its regular meeting on 15 December 2010 unanimously supported draft laws No. 2763 On Access to Public Information and No. 7321 On Information. They recommended No. 2763 for a repeat second reading and No. 7321 for second reading.

Olena Bondarenko [Party of the Regions] explained:

“According to political agreements, we will table these two draft laws in parliament as a package, will review and pass them. Both draft laws have every chance of being approved by a constitutional majority”,

She also thanked representatives of civic society who had taken part in the working group on the legislation. These included Taras Shevchenko, Director of the Media Law Institute, Roman Holovenko from the Institute for Mass Information, well-known journalists Serhiy Leshchenko, Yehor Sobolev and others.

These draft laws may be considered during this plenary week.

The Head of the Committee, Andriy Shevchenko [BYuT] informed that the negotiating group on reworking the draft laws had finished their work on the two drafts. Draft Law No. 7321 was at first called On amendments to some legislative acts of Ukraine on ensuring access to public information and was tabled by Olena Bondarenko, Volodymyr Landyk (both Party of the Regions) and Yury Stets (Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defence) and will now become a new version of the Law on Information.

Olena Bondarenko stated that all amendments had now been inserted, that there were no more disagreements and that “the draft laws which are to be tabled will suit civil society and the third sector, journalists and the authorities”

As reported, the negotiating group on revising the draft bill on access to public information issued a joint statement on 23 November saying that they had agreed a final version of the bill to be tabled in parliament to be adopted in its second reading and in full. This came after many nervous months and calls from civic society and the Council of Europe to pass a law on access to public information. The original bill proposed by Andriy Shevchenko, was effectively drawn up by civic organizations and attempted to bring Ukraine’s legislation into line with European standards.  There was little enthusiasm from some parliamentary quarters, and after the last attempt to vote on it gained only one vote from the Party of the Regions and none from the Communists, and then the appearance of a draft law from Bondarenko, Landyk and Stets, negotiations began to avoid further procrastination on what is a simply fundamental law.

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