Mongolian Parliament OKs Transparency Legislation

17 June 2011

The Parliament of Mongolia June 16 approved the Law on Information Transparency and Right and Freedom to Access Information.

“We believe that the new law will help us to consolidate democracy, freedom of expression and human rights in Mongolia,” commented Naranjargal Khashkhuu,President of Globe International.

Passage of the law was supported by Globe International and the Open Society Foundations, among other groups. The effort to pass a law has been under way for about eight years

In January 2011, the Mongolian Ministry of Justice submitted to parliament a Draft Law of Mongolia on Information Transparency and Freedom of Information. By some reports the final bill is little changed on passage. (No English version of the law as passed exists.) An analysis of the draft bill was done by the Centre for Law and Democracy.

CLD’s Toby Mendel summarized his analysis:

The draft Law has a number of strengths. It defines public bodies quite widely, it has good rules on the processing of requests for information and it puts in place a very broad and progressive set of obligations regarding proactive publication.

At the same time, there are some significant problems with the draft Law. The regime of exceptions is particularly problematical. It is both too wide and too narrow, failing to protect key confidentiality interests while throwing a veil of secrecy over some matters which should be open. Furthermore, it is not based on the idea of preventing harm to protected interests, and it does not include a public interest override. Other problems including the narrow definition of information, sanctions for disclosing confidential information and a rather limited set of promotional measures.

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