Kazakhstan Adopts FOI Law; Critic Cites Shortcomings

27 November 2015

Kazakhstan Nov. 16 passed a freedom of information law.

Text of the law in Russian.

The law has “shortcomings” according to a statement by Dunja Mijatovi, the Representative on Freedom of the Media for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) , who nevertheless praised the new law as a “major step toward greater transparency and accountability of public bodies.”

“There are a number of provisions in the law that align Kazakhstan’s regulatory framework with international standards, and these are commendable,” Mijatovi said. She referred to the statutory presumption of access to information; the law’s coverage of some private entities (such as monopolies and budget beneficiaries), an “clear rules of applying for and providing information, including online.”

Mijatovi also noted that some provisions of the law remain “vague and restricted in scope, which could weaken the law’s overall effect.” Her statement elaborates:

Among them are norms which regulate access to meetings, exceptions to the right of access to information to other laws, and the general lack of provisions for an independent supervisory body dealing with complaints. Further, the new law does not foresee a functioning public interest defence for those who disclosed secret information in good faith.

The draft law was critically reviewed at a conference in October. (See FreedomInfo.org article.)

A group of civil society groups on Nov. 24 called on President Nursultan Nazarbayev not to sign legislation regulating CSOs, saying it wouldseverely and unduly restrict the right to freedom of association and undermine Kazakhstan’s international human rights obligations.”

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed under: What's New