Four Hearings on Draft FOIA Law Held in Kazakhstan

24 August 2010

Four public hearings were held in Kazakhstan during August as part of an effort to develop a Freedom of Information law.

A conference to discuss the draft law is planned for Sept. 24 in Astana after the next draft is made public.  

The effort has support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the British embassy, and a variety of groups, including Kazakh media organizations. It was started in 2009 in response to the government’s “Plan of Legislation,” which includes the goal of developing a Law on Information and Information Protection.

Academics, government representatives and non-governmental organizations participated in the hearings, according to the Kazakh newspaper Gazeta.

“In general, the adoption of such a law is long overdue,” Gazeta reported Majlis deputy Zhakyp Asanov as saying. “The president has repeatedly talked about the need to strengthen public control over the activities of the state apparatus. An operational tool for this can be a law on access to public information.”

Experts from civil society and leading Kazakhstani organizations dealing with access to information such as Media Alliance of Kazakhstan, Adil Soz, Internews Kazakhstan,

Medialife Fund, Information Initiative Fund, Decenta Fund, ZUBR Fund, Institute of Legislation of Kazakhstan and others were involved in drafting the law, according to a pre-hearing report by on the UNDP website.

“The goal of the series of regional hearings is to hold a broad discussion of the relevance of the draft law on access to information that aims to govern social relations arising between state authorities, local governments, territorial bodies, institutions subordinate to state authorities and local governments, organizations, individuals and legal entities in obtaining and disseminating information,” according to the UNDP.

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