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IRIS 2011-3:1/30

Ukraine

Law on Access to Public Information Adopted

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Taras Shevchenko

Media Law Institute, Kiev

On 13 January 2011 Verkhovna Rada (the parliament of Ukraine) adopted two laws on access to information: The Law of Ukraine “On Access to Public Information” and the new wording of the Law of Ukraine “On Information” (1992). Both laws were supported by almost all members of the parliament after an intensive campaign, held by journalists and civic activists. They were signed by the President Yanukovych on 3 February 2011 and will enter into force on 9 May 2011.

The newly-adopted laws are aimed at extending the possibility to obtain information from state bodies and at securing the unobstructed activitivies of journalists. Thus, the Law of Ukraine “On Access to Public Information” regulates access to information held by State power entities as well as to certain categories of publicly important information. This law sets a right to receive public information during a short term (within 5 working days) after receipt of the request. This right belongs to individuals, legal entities and associations of citizens that do not have the status of a legal entity. The new law also requires public bodies to promote open government and publish certain types of information without any individual request, in particular on their websites. The regime of limitations adequately limits non-disclosure only to cases when the revealing of such information might risk more harm than benefit to the public. Disclosure of information on wrongdoings or information concerning a serious threat to people’s health and safety or to the environment is protected, too.

The new edition of the Law of Ukraine “On Information” contains new definitions of many terms in the informational sphere: it specifies the legal status of mass media and guarantees protection of journalists’ professional rights. This law also repeals obligatory accreditation of foreign journalists who work in Ukraine.

References
Про інформацію UK
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=13266
 
  Law No. 2938-VI On Information, Holos Ukrainy official daily of 9 February 2011 (No. 24)      
Про доступ до публічної інформації UK
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=13267
 
  Law No. 2939-VI On Access to Public Information, Holos Ukrainy official daily of 9 February 2011 (No. 24) EN
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=13268