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Law on access to information needs to be adjusted to current requirements

09 September 2015
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“The law on access to information is outdated and needs modifications,” journalist Alina Radu said when moderating the public debates organized by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) on Wednesday, September 9. The event was attended by media experts, journalists, MPs, and legal professionals.
 
According to IJC Director Nadine Gogu, the debates were part of an advocacy campaign aimed at improvement of the law on access to information. “We want to bring this issue back to the forefront. Government agendas from 2010 onwards have included access to information as a subchapter. The country’s leaders recognize there is a problem, and journalists speak about it. By modifying the legislation, we could facilitate journalists’ access to information,” Nadine Gogu said.
 
The attending experts unanimously recognized the need to modify the legislative framework on access to information. Dumitru Lazur, media expert and one of the authors of amendments, voiced several suggestions, including reduction of time limits for answering requests of access to information from 15 working days to 10 calendar days and registration of these requests, modification of article 71 of the Contraventions Code, and establishment of harsher penalties for failure to comply with the law on access to information. According to the expert, it is necessary to define with greater clarity the principles of trade secret and state secret and to produce a guide to good practice for civil servants.
 
According to Eugen Ribca, media law expert, these modifications entail no financial costs and the draft law should become a legislative initiative.The only MP who accepted the IJC’s invitation, Iurie Tap of the Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (PLDM), said that his party is open to promoting this draft law in the parliament.
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This Round Table became possible with the generous help of the American people through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The opinions here are those of authors and might not reflect the position of the USAID or the U.S. Government.