Albania

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  • 14 July 2016

    Albanian Institutions Fail NGO’s Transparency Test

    Albania’s public institutions met their obligations to give public information on request in only 42 per cent of the cases, according to a study by the nongovernmental organization Mjaft, as described in a Balkan Insight article. “We sent out 230 requests for information, 80 for central institutions, 137 for local ones and 13 for justice […]

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  • 24 March 2015

    Albania to Disclose Data About Telephone Surveillance

    Albania’s General Prosecutor’s Office has agreed to disclose statistical information on telephone surveillance. The move was applauded by the nongovernmental organization NGO Res Publica welcomed the decision. The disclosed document, operational surveillance measures were authorized in relation to 689 cases and concerning 3,140 individuals in 2014, as opposed to 3,112 individuals in 2013 and 2,315 […]

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News Archive

  • 30 October 2014

    Albania Rewrites Access Law; Changes Considered Positive

    A new Albania right to information law has been enacted that supporters called “groundbreaking.” “At last, this reform brings the law on the right to information to the level of advanced legislation in the region and beyond,” said Darian Pavli, senior attorney at the Open Society Justice Initiative in a statement that also credited lobbying […]

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  • 20 March 2013

    Lack of Regulation Hampers Albanian RTI Law, Report Says

    The Albanian right to information law is being hampered in a variety of ways, including by a lack of implementation regulations, according to a report prepared for the World Bank. A summary lists four main factors: –       an administrative culture of secrecy and confidentiality persists,- –       the government has not developed procedures for ensuring RTI […]

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  • 7 March 2013

    World Bank Study Focuses on RTI Implementaton Issues

    Right to information laws “will accomplish little” in poor countries, according to the author of new World Bank study, “unless concerted efforts are made to address the broader enabling environment, and appropriate capacity building strategies are devised.”   The report by Anupama Dokeniya is based on individual research studies of implementation in eight countries: Albania, […]

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  • 2 September 2011

    17 Countries Pledge to Join Open Government Partnership

    Nine countries plus the initial core group of eight have pledged to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a U.S. official told FreedomInfo.org  Sept. 2, bringing total membership to 17. The nine countries that have sent in “letters of intent” are Kenya, Guatemala, Honduras, Albania, Macedonia, Malta, Georgia, Moldova and Slovakia. More letters are expected, […]

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  • 19 June 2009

    Closely Guarded EIB Framework Agreements Appear Largely Technical

    The European Investment Bank is proposing to disclose Framework Agreements only with the permission of the country partner, but the agreements appear to be largely technical and legal documents, judging from a very old one supplied by the Bank and a more recent one obtained by Freedominfo.org. The Bank’s reluctance to disclose the Framework Agreements […]

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  • 12 June 2009

    EIB Proposes Limit on Disclosure of Framework Agreements, Invites Public Comment on Transparency Policies

    The European Investment Bank (EIB) is proposing to let countries decide whether to disclose the “Framework Agreement” documents that guide EIB lending to individual countries. Tajikistan is one such country getting EIB help. On February 11, 2009, the EIB announced that the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, and EIP President Philippe Maystadt […]

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  • 22 March 2006

    Freedom of Information Laws Added to the Development Agenda

    By Toby McIntosh Riding a wave of transparency, the idea of encouraging Freedom of Information (FOI) laws as part of the development agenda is gaining currency, but slowly. With research and case studies increasingly identifying transparency as a key tool in fighting corruption and facilitating development, more attention is being paid to the development of […]

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  • 10 February 2006

    New secrecy bill threatens to undermine Albanian Right to Information Act

    On February 10, 2006, the Open Society Justice Initiative and the Albanian group Center for the Development and Democratization of Institutions sent a letter to the Speaker of the Albanian Assembly, urging the Assembly to reject a new draft law on classified information. The Bill would create a new category of “restricted information,” which allows […]

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links

LEGAL DOCUMENTS Constitution of Albania (Albanian and English versions)   Law No. 119/2014 on access to information, 2014 (English)   Law No. 8503 on the right to information over the official documents (30 June 1999)   Law No. 8517 on the Protection of Personal Data (22 June 1999)   Statute No. 8454 on People's Advocate (4 February 1999)   GOVERNMENT Information Commissioner's office (English) Republic of Albania People's Advocate (Ombudsman)   ORGANIZATIONS Res Publica Center for Development and Democratization of Institutions [no website available] Albanian Human Rights Group   OTHER RESOURCES Meeting on “The Right of Information: The Need for law enforcement in the framework of transparent and efficient governance” remarks of Bruce Kay, representative of USAID (12 December 2005)   National Conference, “The right to information is a fundamental human right" speech delivered by the People’s Advocate Mr. Ermir Dobjani (12 December 2005)   Article 19, Memorandum on The Albanian Law On the Right to Information on Official Documents (September 2004)   HISTORICAL BACKGROUND Click to view. Text from the freedominfo.org Global Survey: Freedom of Information and Access to Government Records Around the World, by David Banisar (updated July 2006)

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Article 23 of the 1998 Constitution states: 1. The right to information is guaranteed. 2. Everyone has the right, in compliance with law, to get information about the activity of state organs, as well as of persons who exercise state functions. 3. Everybody is given the possibility to follow the meetings of collectively elected organs. (1) Article 56 provides, "Everyone has the right to be informed for the status of the environment and its protection." The Law on the Right to Information for Official Documents was enacted in June 1999.(2) The law allows any person to request information contained in official documents. This includes personal information on individuals exercising state functions related to the performance of their duties. Public authorities must decide in 15 days and provide the information within 30 days. Unusually, there are no exceptions in the law for withholding information. Documents can be withheld only if another law such as the laws on data protection or classified information restricts their disclosure. Government agencies are required to publish their location, functions, rules, methods and procedures. Documents that have been previously released and those that the public authority deems important to others must also be published. The bodies must also create certain documents including final decisions on cases, administrative staff manuals, and indexes. The People's Advocate (Ombudsman) is tasked with oversight of the law. Under the statute setting up the office, the Advocate is an independent office elected by three-fifths of Parliament for a five-year term.(3) The Advocate can receive complaints and conduct investigations. As part of an investigation, he can demand classified information from government bodies. Once he has completed an investigation, the Advocate can recommend a criminal investigation, court action or dismissal of officials for serious offenses but the decisions are not binding. The Advocate handled a number of complaints under the law in 2003 and 2004. Appeals can also be made to a court. A Tirana district court made the first ruling on the law in a case brought by the Centre for Development and Democratisation of the Institutions against the Ministry of Education in January 2005. Implementation of the law has been problematic. The act is not well known and the number of requests has been low. A 2003 survey by the Centre for Development and Democratisation of the Institutions (CDDI) found that 87 percent of public employees were not aware of the Act, no institutions had published the required information and few had appointed officers.(4) Other problems found included deadlines not being respected and fees regulations not being published. In 2004, the People's Advocate recommended that disciplinary measures be imposed against officials who intentionally or negligently violate the law, reflecting a growing frustration with the progress of implementation.(5) The Law on Information Classified "State Secret" regulates the creation and control of classified information.(6) It sets three levels of classification: top secret, secret and confidential. Information can be classified for ten years but that can be extended. It creates a Directorate for the Security of Classified Information to enforce security rules. It was adopted to ensure compatibility with NATO standards.(7) In May 2006, the Parliament approved amendments to the law to create a new category called "restricted" for information the disclosure of which would "damage the normal state activity and the interests or effectiveness of the state institutions." It was strongly criticized by civil society groups and international organizations.(8) Articles 294-296 of the Criminal Code penalize the release of state secrets by both officials and citizens, with a penalty of up to ten years for unauthorized release.(9) The Law on Archives sets rules on retention and collection of archive files.(10) The Cold War International History Project reports continued problems with access to files from the Communist-era, including access to Communist Party records. It also noted that declassification of Cold War-era files is proceeding slowly.(11) The Law on the Protection of Personal Data allows for individuals to access and correct their personal information held by public and private bodies.(12) It is also overseen by the Ombudsman. The Law on the Declaration and Control of Assets, Financial Obligations of Elected Persons and Some Civil Servants was adopted in April 2003.(13) It requires public officials to declare their assets and liabilities. It is overseen by the High Inspectorate of Declaration and Control of Assets. The law specifically authorizes public access to the declarations under the Law on the Right to Information. Albania signed the Aarhus Convention in 1998 and ratified it in 2001.(14) The Law on Environmental Protection requires publication of environmental information.(15) 2004 freedominfo.org Global Survey Results - Albania   NOTES 1. Constitution of Albania, 1998. http://www.ipls.org/services/kusht/contents.html. 2. The Law on the Right to Information for Official Documents, No. 8503, 30 June 1999. http://hidaa.gov.al/english/pub/l_8503.htm. 3. Statute No. 8454, dated 4 February 1999 on People's Advocate. http://www.avokatipopullit.gov.al/English/index.htm. 4. CDDI, Rapport on monitoring process on Albanian Public Administration for the implementation of the law for the "Access of Information on Official Documents", 2004. 5. Annual Report of the People's Advocate for 2004, 2005. 6. Law nr. 8457 On Information Classified as "State Secret", 11 February 1999. 7. See Ministry of Defense of Albania, Restructuring of the Armed Forces 2002-2010. http://www.mod.gov.al/anglisht/AntNATO_Angl/Ant_NATOlink3.htm. 8. See comments of OSCE FOM, April 2006. http://www.osce.org/documents/rfm/2006/04/18815_en.pdf; Albanian Helsinki Committee and the Center for Parliamentary Studies, February 27, 2006. http://www.ahc.org.al/kshh/eng/letter/27022006.html; Letter from Justice Initiative and Center for the Development and Democratization of Institutions, 9 February 2006. 9. Criminal Code. No. 7895, dated 27 January 1995. 10. Law On Archives No 9154, 11 June 2003. 11. CWIHP and Its Partners Seek Greater Access to Albanian Cold War Files, Passport: The Newsletter of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, April 2005. 12. Law on the Protection of Personal Data, No.8517, 22 July 1999. http://hidaa.gov.al/english/pub/l_8517.htm. 13. The Law on the Declaration and Control of Assets, Financial Obligations of Elected Persons and Some Civil Servants, 10 April 2003. http://hidaa.gov.al/english/pub/l_9049.htm. 14. Law no. 8672, 26 October 2000. For more information on environmental access, see UNECE, Environmental Performance Reviews -- Albania, November 2002. http://www.unece.org/env/epr/studies/albania/welcome.htm. 15. Law on Environmental Protection No.8934, 5 September 2002. http://www.basel.int/legalmatters/natleg/albania4.doc

 

 

Measuring Openness

Global Right to Information Rating
A country-by-country rating of laws by the Centre for Democracy and Law and Access Info.

Freedom House
The Freedom in the World report.

World Bank
Worldwide Governance Indicators

Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index
Measures perceptions of the degree of corruption.

Reporters Without Borders
The Press Freedom Index.