YPC Weekly Newsletter

2008


MINISTRY OF JUSTICE INITIATES A NEW DRAFT LAW ON FREEDOM OF INFORMATION. PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS ARE AGAINST

On October 23 discussion of draft law “On Freedom of Imparting Information”
developed by RA Ministry of Justice took place in the Academic Centre of Ecological
Right of the Yerevan State University Law Department. Representatives of journalistic
associations, also Yerevan Press Club, and international organizations participated
in the discussion.

Artak Gevorgian, Chief of the State Legal Department of Legal Acts Assessment
of RA Ministry of Justice, who introduced the draft law, pointed out that the
new document is called to replace the acting Law “On Freedom of Information”.
Artak Gevorgian motivates it by the necessity to bring the legislation in accordance
to the amended Constitution. In particular, the procedure of registration, classification
and archiving of the information processed by the owner of the information or
imparted for him, is not developed yet, as well as the procedure of providing
duplicates (copies) of information by state institutions and organizations,
local self-administration bodies. These requirements are stipulated by Articles
5 and 10 of the Law “On Freedom of Information”, respectively. And even if the
relevant subordinate acts are developed for the acting Law “On Freedom of Information”,
they, in the opinion of the representative of Justice Ministry, can contradict
to the Constitution.

Such an approach arose objections among discussion participants. They stressed
that the acting Law “On Freedom of Information” (adopted in September 2003)
is one of the few progressive documents that are highly appraised by the international
experts, and have proved their value on practice. Regarding the necessity of
developing and approving the by-laws in accordance to the requests of Articles
5 and 10 of the Law (this obligation was put on the government), the journalistic
community has been reminding about that for 5 years. And at present there are
no obstacles for developing necessary legislative amendments and procedures
that will not contradict to the Constitution, with the participation of the
interested parties. The journalistic associations expressed their readiness
to participate in the improvement of the acting Law and in the development of
its by-laws. Representatives of the Justice Ministry, in their turn, promised
to introduce the results of the discussion and the approaches of the professional
associations to their management.