Dear Members of Parliament!
September 28 is an International Right to Know Day. On this day in many countries activists organize public actions to support the right of access to public information, increase of transparency of the authorities enhance the public control over it.
The Law of Ukraine “On access to public information” was adapted in 2011. Since then it was in top 10 best laws in the world, which guarantee the right to know. However, the most progressive principles of this law are not abided on practice. The cause is absence of the effective mechanism of the control over its obeisance.
That is why we ask you in this day to vote for the Draft Law #2913 “About the amendments to some laws of Ukraine in the sphere of access to public information regarding the improvement of some of its provisions”. The law was developed in cooperation with representatives of the government, Ukrainian and international experts in order to fulfill the conditions of the Agreement between Ukraine and European Union on state development. This Draft Law expands the authority of Ombudsman, the supervisory body for compliance with the Law “On access to public information”. Providing this body with necessary powers to control the sphere of access to information is within the international standards of independence.
Such move does not require additional funding in comparison with creation of the new body. It also allows launch the mechanism of control almost at once.
Furthermore, Draft Law #2913 improves the existing legislation in the sphere of access to information. In particular, it eliminates inaccuracy in terminology and leaves fewer chances for bureaucrats not to provide the information on public request.
At the same time, this Law is important not only for journalists and active citizens but also for you, Members of Parliament. It will help you to receive information from local and national governmental bodies easier and faster. We also call the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Legislative support to Enforcement to review the Draft Law #2043a “On amendments to the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences to increase the state control over the obeisance of the right to access to public information , protection of personal data and citizen’s appeals”. The Draft Law enhances the power of Ombudsman to protect the right of the citizens on public information. We also call the Committee to send the Draft Law to the Parliament forvoting.
Adoption of these Draft Laws will create the pre-conditions for enforcement the right to know and will increase the openness of the government. It will also raise the level of trust of the citizens to its representatives.
NGO “Media Law Institute”
NGO “Centre UA”
“Access to the Truth” project
NGO “Regional Press Development Institute”
NGO “Institute of Mass Information”
NGO “Center for Political Studies and Analysis”