Regressive Slovak Proposal Pulled Back After Protests

13 November 2013

The Slovak Economy Ministry proposed to block access to public contracts that were closed before 2011, but dropped the idea in the face of strong objections, according to a Nov. 11 article by Michaela Terenzani-Stanková in the Slovak Spectator.

The effort to amend the 2000 freedom of information law caused protests from pro-transparency non-governmental organizations, including Via Iuris.

Via Iuris launched a petition, saying the proposal “seriously endangers the right of citizens for information.”

“The changes proposed by the Economy Ministry are a big step backwards,” Peter Wilfling from Via Iuris was quoted as saying.

The Slovak Spectator article said:

The new law would also allow companies with investments from the state, regions, or municipalities, to keep secretive about their business. The ministry proposed to block public access to all contracts, invoices and orders that weren’t compulsory to be published on the Internet.

The Economy and Justice ministries issued a joint statement pledging to drop the provision, but NGOs remain worried about a future reappearance, according to the article.

Larger Amendment Effort in the Works

The Justice Ministry is presently working on the major amendment to the FOI law, the article says, and is considering adding processing fees.

A civic initiative named “For a good law on free access to information” offered 18 principles for a FOI law.

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