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The IJC Proposes Improving Legislation on Access to Information of Public Interest

22 February 2016
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On Friday, February 19, the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) sent to the Parliament for examination a set of proposals to amend Law no. 982-XIV of May 11, 2000 on access to information (articles 5, 6, 12, 15, 16 and 17) and the Contraventions Code of Moldova no. 218-XVI of October 24, 2008 (article 71).

The draft law aims to facilitate and improve the procedure of registration of requests for access to information, reduce the terms of provision of information and tighten penalties for violation of the legislation on access to information for the persons responsible for its provision.

The new stipulations contribute to optimizing the procedure of registration of requests for information into a special register for accounting and control of requests for access to information. Currently, these requests are registered together with petitions. At the same time, it is proposed to reduce the term of provision of official information from public authorities – from “not later than within 15 working days from the day of registration of the request” (according to the current legislation) to not more than 10 calendar days. Reduction of the terms of provision of information is justified by the implementation of the strategic program of technological modernization of government (e-Transformation), within which many public services were digitalized and modern databases were created, thus simplifying collection of and access to official information.

The authors of the draft law find it necessary to establish tighter penalties for violation of legal provisions, especially by modifying article 71 of the Contraventions Code. Tighter penalties for violation of the law on access to information could discipline public institutions and, therefore, would provide additional guarantees for consistent application of the law.

The proposals were developed by IJC experts and debated at a round table meeting attended by representatives of public institutions, members of NGOs and media outlets, and experts in the field.

This activity has been possible due to the generous help of the American people offered through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The opinions expressed here belong to authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the USAID or the U.S. Government.