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IV Forum of advocates on the right of access to information

access to information

During October 5-6 in Kiev was held the IV Forum of advocates on the right of access to information, organized by The Media Law Institute.

The Forum was attended by representatives of both the government and public sector to discuss an action plan towards the implementation of the law “On access to public information.” Forum was opened by the lobbyists and authors of the title law, Taras Shevchenko and Andriy Shevchenko, who focused on the history of acceptance and achievements and obstacles in the implementation of this document. They also stressed that the work on creation of the law has already been done. But there is a problem with its performance: “For this we create a network of activists on the spots with a clear methodology; they will monitor the progress of implementation of this law.”

The deputy Svetlana Zalishchuk announced further actions of the legislature in matters of compliance with the law on access to information. She said: “Parliament of Ukraine joined the international initiative “Open Parliament”, in the context of which it is, in particular, the openness of finance and transfer of data in the format of “open data”». This is an important step in building public confidence in the activities of lawmakers.

The journalist, Dmitry Gnap said that despite easier access to information, officials in every way try to “hide” information and circumvent the law, “bureaucratic class in four years has learned to adjust, look for cracks, change, and mutate like the virus not to provide information. Officials are looking for any opportunity to hide information even if the law requires it.”

Forum participants discussed the following important statements:
• Powers of the independent supervisory authority with the observance of the right of access to public information;
• Court practice on access to public information;
• State of enforcement of access and profile of the issues;
• Analysis of strategic litigation and advice of experts aimed at improvements in access to information.

Also on the first day of the Forum of advocates participants discussed successful community initiatives on access to public information and strategic litigation in sphere of access. Participation in the Forum from “Mukachevo Human Rights Center” took the lawyer, Oleg Grigoryev, who shared his experience of monitoring of local government to ensure access to public information in Transcarpathian area.

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The Forum was held under the “Ensuring judicial protection of the right to information and the support of network of defense of the right to information.” The project is the NGO “Media Law Institute” under support of project “Promoting human rights and democracy and strengthening the media and civil society in Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Belarus” international organization “International Media Support” supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway and the Swedish government through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

Photo: Media Law Institute