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22.05.2012

President’s Administration claims no influence over MPs

   

A banner unfurled by journalists in the Verkhovna Rada, it reads: Access to Information: Now or Never

The Head of the Department for Ensuring Access to Public Information of the President’s Administration, Denis Ivanescu has stated that the President’s Administration has limited influence on the Verkhovna Rada regarding implementation of the Law on Public Access to Information.

He advised the civic movement CHESNO to resolve the situation regarding the refusal by the Office of the Verkhovna Rada to provide the income declarations of MPs via the courts.

As reported, CHESNO had asked the President’s Administration to respond appropriately to what it calls a flagrant violation of the Public Information Act.  CHESNO says that the Office of the Verkhovna Rada is hiding behind the Personal Data Protection Act by claiming that the information on the declarations is “confidential”.

Lawyer Dmytro Kotlyar points out that Article 6 of the Public Information Act and Article 5 of the Personal Data Protection Act clearly and unequivocally state that deputies’ declarations are not confidential and access to them may not be restricted. He says the refusal to provide them is absurd since according to the Law on the Principles of Preventing and Countering Corruption, deputies’ declarations must be published in printed publications.

The information requests are being sent as part of a civic audit by CHESNO together with analysts from the Committee of Voters of Ukraine.

A little earlier the Internet publication Ukrainska Pravda lodged a civil claim against the Office of the Verkhovna Rada over its refusal to divulge which MPs elected in this session have received State-owned flats.  The Office of the Verkhovna Rada claimed that this was confidential information which could only be given out with the person’s consent.  Legislation however prohibits refusal to provide full information in this case was unlawful.  Legal consultation and representation in that case is being provided by the Media Law Institute.

Information about the response from the President’s Administration reported here

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