Civil society

Public discussion on draft FOI sub-legal acts

11.12.2014

On 11 December 2014 the FOICA, jointly with the Ministry of Justice and with the assistance of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, organized public discussion on draft FOI sub-legal act, which pertains to the procedure of providing information, as well as maintenance and classification of information.

Deputy Minister of Justice Suren Qrmoyan presented the Government’s draft decision “On Defining procedure for registering, classifying and maintaining information developed by or delivered to public governance bodies, institutions and organizations, as well on providing information or its copy”. In accordance with Article 5 of Armenia’s law on Freedom of Information adopted in 2003, the registration, classification and maintenance of information developed by or delivered to information holder shall be carried out as per procedure set forth by the Armenian Government. At the same time, according to another article of the same Law, provision of information or a copy thereof, by public and local self-governance bodies, state institutions and organizations, shall be carried out as per procedure defined by the Government. Nevertheless, till date, such procedures had not been defined by the Government.

As noted by Shushan Doydoyan, the civil society has been continuously raising this issue during 11 years, however no steps were undertaken, which created practical difficulties. “The line of action by the Ministry of Justice allows hoping that we will have quality paper”, Shushan Doydoyan mentioned at the discussion. According to her, the draft Decree is not ready for adoption yet and needs further elaboration. Mrs. Doydoyan expressed hope that the opinions and recommendations voiced at the discussion will help to have a quality final version which will not create problems in the future.

The Deputy Minister Suren Qrmoyan mentioned that the draft will be presented to the Government’s discussion until the end of this year or at the beginning of January next year. “Our task is to ensure transparent and effective work of public bodies, so that our citizens will have an opportunity to receive detailed information about the work of every public body, thereby developing their opinion on the effectiveness of the work of these public bodies”. The Deputy Minister added that such legal regulations are important in terms of the citizens’ rights.

As a result of the adoption of the Government’s draft Decree “On registration, classification and maintenance of information developed by or delivered to the Republic’s executive bodies, as well as on defining procedure for providing information or its copy”, the procedure for registering, classifying and maintaining information developed by or delivered to the Republic’s executive bodies and relevant units responsible for ensuing free access to information will be defined. The draft’s adoption will ensure more effective implementation of everyone’s right to apply to information holders as per a procedure set forth by law, with view to receiving information searched by them.

“We will entirely regulate this field step by step. Currently we do not want to postpone the solution of this very issue. Our task mainly concerns receiving information from executive bodies”, S. Qrmoyan noted.

Recommendations and comments concerning the draft can be sent to Freedom of Information Center at: foi@foi.am.
 

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