Malta to Institute FOA Law in September, Minister Says

9 May 2012

Malta’s freedom of information law will come into full force Sept. 1, the government has announced.

The law was enacted more than three years ago, but the ability to make requests has been stymied.

Justice Minister Chris Said on May 8 indicated that 400 FOI officers have been undergoing training since February 2010. The news was reported  by the Times of Malta and Malta Today.

A legal notice will be published in the coming days, according to Said, to implement the law.  

Malta’s law was enacted on Dec. 19, 2008, and several legal notices were issued in subsequent years.

The training of 400 freedom of information officers who work in the civil service has been ongoing since February 2010, with a bid to entrust them with requests under the FOIA.

A code of practice is also being formulated, and other training is being provided to senior officials in the civil service, Malta Today said.

Advocates have been calling for such an action for some time. The Institute of Maltese Journalists in April 2011 urged government action “as soon as possible” with one expert calling the a law “dead letter.” (See previous report.)

However, the provisions which enable the media and the public to seek and obtain information held by the public administration, have not been put in place.

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