Article 19 Suggests Changes for Palestine Draft FOI Law

13 December 2013

A draft access prepared by the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) and is currently being discussed by stakeholders in Palestine contains many positive features” but also needs some improvements, according to an assessment by Article 19.

The London-based freedom of expression group analyzed the Draft Law on the Right of Access to Information of Palestine for its compliance with international law and best practice in access to information.

Among the positive features is that all public bodies and private bodies receiving state funding or performing public work are obliged to provide information. “Furthermore, it recognizes the principle of maximum disclosure and sets up an information commissioner that will monitor the implementation of the law and examine complaints against denials of requests for information,” according to Article 19.

The draft law needs changes to strengthen the safeguards for the independence of the information commissioner and improve the regime of exceptions for denials of request for information. It would also be useful to include a clause on protection of whistleblowers, the critique says, proving 13 recommendations.

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