Parliament passes draft law on access to public information in its first reading
On Tuesday, 30 November, 344 parliamentary deputies (out of 409 registered) voted to pass as base the draft Law “On amendments to some legislative acts” No. 7321 on ensuring access to public information (Bondarenko-Landyk-Stets). The draft law as a whole will be put to the vote next plenary week.
During the discussion, the Head of the parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information, Andriy Shevchenko pointed out two reservations which need attention when reworking the draft law, these being the inadequate definition of the concept of “false information” and the restoration to the authorities of the right to demand compensation for expenses.
The Verkhovna Rada also passed in full the draft bill No. 4547 “On amendments to Article 14 of the Law on Information regarding information, this supplementing Article 14 with a definition of the term “protection of information”.
As reported, on 23 November the negotiation group on revising the draft bill on access to public information issued a joint statement 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 was made by the author of the original bill, Andriy Shevchenko (BYuT) and Olena Bondarenko from the Party of the Regions, one of the authors of an alternative draft bill (on amendments to the Law on Information and others) and one of her Party colleagues. The 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 the draft law from the three Party of the Regions deputies, negotiations began to avoid complete failure to pass this vital law.