Maltese Journalists Seek Implementation of FOI Act

6 May 2011

The Institute of Maltese Journalists has urged government action to implement the Freedom of Information Act “as soon as possible,” according to The Times of Malta, as an expert on the law calls it a “dead letter.”

“Malta has a Freedom of Information Act on its statute book. But only a few provisions of this law have entered into force,” begins a detailed article on the situation there by Kevin Aquilina, Head of the Department of Media, Communications and Technology Law, Faculty of Laws, University of Malta.

After enactment in 2008, a handful of legal notices were issued to bring a few provisions into force.

“Since then, silence has been the order of the day,” Aquilina wrote. “No further legal notices have been made to bring the most essential provisions of the Freedom of Information Act into force, that is, those provisions which enable the media and the public to seek and obtain information held by the public administration. These provisions form the crux of the Freedom of Information Act. Without them the law remains a dead letter. With them it empowers the media and the public to seek vital public administration held information.”

The Institute of Maltese Journalists sent a letter April 4 appealing for implementation. The group pointed out that the official website of the Freedom of Information Act (http://www.foi.gov.mt/), which provides explanations on the different ways to submit requests for information, emphasizes that no requests can be submitted for the time being as the law is not yet fully in force.

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