OSCE Yerevan Office Promoting Freedom of Information Legislation Reform

osceevent

Participants at an OSCE-supported public event focusing on a package of draft amendments to Armenia's legislation on freedom of information, Yerevan, 28 October 2009.

YEREVAN–An OSCE-supported public event focusing on a package of draft amendments to Armenia’s legislation on freedom of information was held in Yerevan on Wednesday.

The package of proposed amendments was developed by the non-governmental organization Freedom of Information Centre of Armenia (FOICA), the National Assembly and the Ministry of Justice, in close collaboration with civil society and international organizations.

The event follows a series of round table discussions aimed at soliciting opinions and recommendations on the draft package from several target groups, including civil society, media and government agencies.

Armenia’s law on Freedom of Information adopted in 2003 was considered progressive by several local and international organizations. However, to ensure full-fledged implementation of the law several shortcomings need to be addressed. The proposed amendments, for example, include provisions that establish a unified procedure for providing information, without relying on sub-legislative acts.

“Free access to information is a precondition for building a democratic and pluralistic society, as it helps promote good governance, transparency and accountability of the state institutions. We are glad to support the reform of legislation on freedom of information that will hopefully result in the adoption of amendments paving the way for better access to government-held information,” said the Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, Ambassador Sergey Kapinos.

“We hope that this joint initiative of the National Assembly, the Government and our NGO will help resolve a number of crucial problematic issues. Sub-legal acts regulating procedures for providing information would no longer be needed; submission of electronic requests, as well as payment for information provision, would be streamlined,” added Shushan Doydoyan, the President of the FOICA.

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