Poland Proposes New Restrictions on Documents

21 July 2011

The Polish government has proposed new restrictions on access to documents.

The amendments would prevent the disclosure of documents used in the preparation of official positions on a variety of defined matters.

The restriction would apply to materials regarding the commercialization or privatization of property, court proceedings and international negotiations.

Later release of the documents appears to be possible. The proposal would allow eventual release, for example, as the conclusion of the court proceedings. But the clause also includes general language that could prevent disclosure if it was in the economic interest of the state.

The proposal in Polish is here, but an English translation of the provision in question (5a) has been prepared by Krzysztof Izdebski of the Center for Access to Public Information. It states:

1. The right to public information concerning:

  1) positions, opinion, statement or analysis prepared by or on behalf of the Polish Republic, the State Treasury or local authority for the purposes of:

a) make the decision or make a declaration of will in the management of the estate of the Treasury or local government units, including the commercialization and privatization of the property,

b) the proceedings before the courts, tribunals and other adjudicating authorities, with the participation of Polish Republic, the State Treasury or local government units,

2) negotiating instructions in the meaning of the Act of 14 April 2000 on international agreements,

– Is limited to the time properly to make a final decision, make a declaration of will in the process of managing the property, the final conclusion of the proceedings or to conclude an international agreement, on the basis of the protection of public order, security or important economic interests of the state.

Izdebski pointed out that according to this provision the material would be automatically exempted from disclosure regardless of whether disclosure would prejudice state interest s or harm international relations.

The Polish government ‘s proposal was included in legislation that would make public information available for re-use – through content repositories, pro-actively filled with resources by public institutions. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.)

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