Whose Access to Information?

A law adopted on 2 October introduces an inordinately large number of biometric documents while creating a single database with worrying scope and no protection of privacy.


Parliamentary elections with limited access to information

The parliamentary elections in the media will look different from how they are in fact with one reason being that journalists will have problems with access to information, even regarding open events. Analysts add that the suggestion will be even worse for foreign journalists.


Blitzkrieg Increase in Security Service’s Intelligence Powers

Parliament’s ruling majority has again proved its ability to work with conveyor belt efficiency. A draft bill submitted by President Yanukovych on 23 November regarding the Security Service [SBU] was adopted on 9 December. Since the President’s veto on his own bill is hardly likely, it would seem that a new division within the SBU has been created with authorization to defend the “legitimate interests of the State “in the information security sphere”.


Security Service Information Channels

A bill registered in parliament on 23 November has not received the publicity it deserves. Its claim to fame is not linked merely with its authorship, although the fact that the President has so used his right of legislative initiative is of significance. It also means that with the present parliamentary makeup, the law can be passed without a murmur.


Public Information: Journalists arm themselves with the Law

Three months ago laws supposed to make the authorities more transparent came into force. In spite of bureaucratic difficulties in implementing the legislative norms, journalists do say that information of public significance has become more accessible.


Zaporizhya Mayor’s Closed Door Policy for Journalists

The Mayor of Zaporizhya, Oleksandr Sin has prohibited journalists from attending the weekly meetings with the heads of departments within the City Council. He claims that officials are scared to tell the truth so as not to attract journalists’ attention. Journalists are outraged and call this restriction of their right of access to public information.


Ukrainian officials still concealing their finances

The Office of the Verkhovna Rada has refused to provide information requested by journalists about the income of all National Deputies, citing the Law on Personal Data Protection as their grounds. This refusal is to be appealed in the courts. Members of the New Citizen partnership point to infringements by officials of the Public Information Act.


NGOs: Government fails test on implementation of Public Information Act

Over 50 civic organizations making up the partnership New Citizen have issued an appeal expressing concern over the effective sabotage by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Law on Access to Public Information.


Public Information Law like a Bolt from the Blue for the Authorities

A roundtable was held on 9 June by the Ukrainian Independent Political Research Centre regarding legislative regulation on access to public information. It came one month exactly since the new Law came into effect and summarized the experience and problems identified in the first month.


First legal proceedings over alleged infringement of Public Information Law

17 May saw the first law suit lodged against alleged breach by the head of a regional council of the Law on Access to Public Information which came into force on 9 May 2011. The coordinators of the Transcarpathian Civic Centre are asking the court to suspend the force of an Instruction issued by the Head of the Transcarpathian Regional Council, and also to order the management of the Regional Could to refrain from further action on considering draft decisions and make them public in accordance with the Law on Access to Public Information.


Secrets defended to the last

It was back in 2007 that the Public Committee for Fighting Corruption turned to the Ternopil City Council asking to see the decisions taken by previous Councils regarding transfer of land and other municipal property into the ownership or use of particular individuals, as well as documents linked with implementation of these decisions.


Ukraine alone in allowing Internet domain owners to remain anonymous

According to the Head of the Internet Association of Ukraine, Oleksandr Olshansky, Ukraine is now the only country in the world where information about the owners of Internet domains remains secret. Mr Olshansky was commenting on the decision by the Technical Administrator of the UA domain of Hostmaster to restrict access to the service whois. The company was, in this way, seeking to comply with the requirements of the Law on Personal Data Protection.


Analysis of the new laws on information

On 3 February 2011 Viktor Yanukovych signed the Laws on Information and on Access to Information passed by parliament on 13 January. The final versions of the texts have not yet been made public - at present we have only the texts that were considered at the parliamentary session.


OSCE media freedom representative welcomes adoption of access-to-information law in Ukraine, urges further reform

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, commended today the recent adoption of a comprehensive access-to-information law by the Ukrainian parliament , calling it “a considerable step towards government transparency”.


Laws on Access to Public Information finally passed

An attempt by Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Adam Martynyuk (Communist Party) to prevent the vote, as on 22 December, failed on Thursday, and the Verkhovna Rada voted by an overwhelming majority to pass the two draft bills, No. 7321 (amendments to some laws regarding access to public information) and No. 2763 – On Access to Public Information.

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