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12.07.2011

NGOs: Government fails test on implementation of Public Information Act

   

Over 50 civic organizations making up the partnership New Citizen have issued an appeal expressing concern over the effective sabotage by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Law on Access to Public Information.

The appeal points out that the Cabinet of Ministers was obliged to have brought its normative legal acts into line with the new Law before it came into force on 9 July.  It should have also ensured its implementation by executive bodies of power, and tabled in parliament a draft law on bringing legislation into line. None of this, they are forced to report, has been done.

The State TV and Radio Broadcasting Committee as the body responsible for preparing normative legal acts drew up all the draft documents needed for implementation of the law, yet none of these has yet been submitted for the Government’s consideration. The delay is due to the failure by the Ministries of Justice and of Finance to provide their opinion of the law.

Without the full legal field, work using the Law on Access to Public Information at the present time is enormously impeded. Despite individual successful requests for information where a response in full was provided, most bodies of power in Ukraine, particularly in the regions, are not ready to fulfil the requirements of the law, provide only fob-off answers, and in many cases overtly ignore the Law, treat it at their own discretion or violate it.”

In view of this, New Citizen is initiated a monthly rating on openness of bodies of power, where the most persistent infringers of the Law will be identified, as well as those whose openness and high quality of work should be a model for others.

We are convinced that formal procrastination in fulfilling their obligations by the relevant State bodies could cause the failure of effective implementation of the Law on Access to Public Information which is intended to be an effective weapon for fighting corruption and monitoring the authorities. We call on the heads of the Cabinet of Ministers to take the situation under their personal control and implement the President’s decree and the requirements of current legislation.”

Two laws – the Law on Access to Public Information and a Law on Amendments to the Law on Information came into effect on 9 May.

At the beginning of May a presidential decree instructed the Cabinet of Ministers to introduce monitoring of implementation by executive bodies of the Public Information Act and court rulings issued in connection with violations of the right to receive this information. In addition, the government should prepare draft laws on carrying out government control over measures to ensure access to public information.

The Cabinet of Ministers appointed the State TV and Radio Broadcasting Committee responsible for preparing subordinate acts needed to bring the Public Information Law into force.

On 25 May the Cabinet of Ministers passed a resolution on ensuring implementation of the Law which regulates an algorithm for all executive bodies of power to implement the law. 

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