Slovakia

What's New

  • 11 February 2016

    Slovakian Groups Press Reforms to Access Law

    Proposals to strengthen the right to information law in Slovakia have been endorsed by 11 of the 12 political parties, but not the ruling Smer party, the SITA newswire has reported and described (in Slovak) by one of the sponsors. Ten reform proposals were made by three non-governmental organizations, the Transparency International Slovensko (TIS), the Fair-Play Alliance […]

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  • 6 May 2015

    Amendments May Make Slovakia’s FOIA Act Most Liberal in Europe

    By Andrej Školkay The author is head of the School of Communication and Mass Media in Bratislava, Slovakia. His post first appeared on the LSE Media Policy Project blog. After two years of preparation, the Slovak Parliament is going to discuss an amendment to the law on freedom of information (FOIA) . However, considering the many objections and specifications raised by a published draft, it […]

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News Archive

  • 13 November 2013

    Regressive Slovak Proposal Pulled Back After Protests

    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, […]

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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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  • 1 July 2011

    Slovakian Groups Criticize Ideas to Alter Access Law

    The Slovak association Via Iuris and Transparency International Slovakia have warned that proposed revisions to the law on access to information would “mean a major setback and a significant weakening of the rights of citizens and journalists for information,” in the words of  Via Iuris. Draft amendments undergoing interdepartmental review, the groups explained in June 28 press […]

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  • 20 August 2010

    Slovak Government Backs Transparency for Contracts

     By Emília Si?áková-Beblavá The new Slovak government, formed in June 2010, has declared since its formation that the fight against corruption to be its priority. This issue can be found among the first points of the Government Declaration of the Slovak Republic. The government pronounced effective use of public finances and the fight against corruption […]

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  • 22 March 2006

    EBRD Seeks Comment on Draft of New Disclosure Policy

    At the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the board recently released a proposal to modify its disclosure policies, with comments due April 14. The EBRD included in its announcement a number of new provisions. First, two new categories of information would be disclosed: General Institutional Information and Accountability and Governance. Second, the EBRD […]

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  • 9 February 2005

    On-line Networking Solves Potential Secrecy Problem in Slovakia in 4 Hours

    International openness advocates assist Slovakian reformers in debate over EU directive and its effects on Slovak law concept of "silent refusal" Freedom of information advocates in 10 countries plus the U.S. state of New York today combined forces on-line within an elapsed time of four hours to help Slovakian openness reformers refute a legal interpretation […]

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  • 1 July 2003

    Monkeys Play Role in NGO Protest on EIB Transparency

    Seeking to dramatize demands for more transparency at the European Investment Bank, three persons in monkey suits greeted EIB governors arriving for the EIB annual meting June 3 in Luxembourg. “The Monkeys, covering respectively their ears, eyes and mouth were sent to convey the message: EIB – SEES NO PROBLEM, HEARS NO COMPLAINTS, GIVES NO […]

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links

LEGAL DOCUMENTS

Constitution of the Slovak Republic 1992

 

Act on Free Access to Information

 

Act on Personal Data Protection (2002)

 

GOVERNMENT

Office for Personal Data Protection

 

ORGANIZATIONS

Transparency International Slovakia

 

Institute for Economic and Social Reforms (INEKO)

 

Slovak Governance Institute (SGI)

 

OTHER RESOURCES

REPORT: On-line networking solves potential secrecy problem in Slovakia - elapsed time four hours (posted Feb. 9, 2005)

 

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

The 1992 Constitution provides for a general right of access to information and a specific right of access to environmental information:(1)

Article 26 (5) State bodies and territorial self-administration bodies are under an obligation to provide information on their activities in an appropriate manner and in the state language. The conditions and manner of execution will be specified by law.

Article 45 Everyone has the right to timely and complete information about the state of the environment and the causes and consequences of its condition.

The Act on Free Access to Information was approved in May 2000 and went into force on 1 January 2001.(2) Any person or organization can demand information held by state agencies, municipalities and private organizations that are making public decisions. The body must respond no later than 10 days after receipt of the request and must keep a registry of requests. Costs are limited to reproduction and can be waived.

There are exemptions for information that is classified as a state or professional secret, personal information, trade secrets (not including environmental pollution, cultural sites or anything related to public funds), information that was obtained "from a person not required by law to provide information" and who declines to release it, intellectual property, and information on the decision-making power of the courts, bodies in criminal proceedings, and habitats that need to be protected.

Appeals are made to higher agencies and can be reviewed by a court. A public official violating the Act can be fined SK50,000.

The law also requires that a variety of information is published by the government bodies including their structures, powers, procedures, and lists of regulations, guidelines, instructions and interpretations. The National Council is also required to publish the data of sessions, minutes, copies of acts and information on the attendance and voting records of MPs.

The Citizen and Democracy Association conducted four reviews of the implementation of the access and publication provisions in 2002 and found that basic information was usually provided but "problematic information" such as contracts and privatization is often withheld. It also found that information was often arbitrarily withheld or only given when an attorney was involved. The Association also was involved in several court cases including two where the Supreme Court ruled for disclosure and also provided legal assistance in other cases. In 2004, the government released a number of contracts with companies such as PSA Peugeot Citroen and Kia Motors after a court case by the Association.

A new Act on Protecting Classified Information went into effect in May 2004.(3) The law creates broader areas than the previous Act and allows public authorities to create their own lists of classified information. Under the previous law, Minister's wages were decreed to be classified information in 2002. The director of the National Security Office (NBU) said in 2001 that "Ministries decide on what is classified information and what is not. The laws contain annexes defining basic information and the degrees of secrecy. It is quite obvious that this has been done by incompetent people."(4)

In August 2002, the Parliament approved the National Memory Act which allowed access to files of the StB, the former communist-era secret police.(5) The law created the Institute for National Memory.(6) In November 2004, the Institute released 20,000 files on informers on its web site as part of an effort to put all of its 60,000 files online. The full list of collaborators was published in May 2005. In February 2006, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Slovakia in the case of a person who had been accused of being a StB collaborator, finding that the denial of access to classified information that was used to justify the finding of collaborate violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.(7)

Under the Act on Protection of Personal Data, individuals can access and correct person information held by public and private bodies.(8) It is enforced by the Office for Personal Data Protection.(9)

Slovakia agreed to the Aarhus Convention on access to environmental information in December 2005. Parliament approved a new environmental act in 2004 following a fight with NGOs and some ministries who opposed the act as limiting the right of access.(10) The new act only regulates the collection and publishing information. The right to access is still regulated by the Act on Free Access to Information.

2004 freedominfo.org Global Survey Results - Slovakia

 

Notes

Constitution of the Slovak Republic 1992. http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/lo00000_.html

Act on Free Access to Information. http://www.info211.sk/zakon_en.php

ACT of 11 March 2004 on the Protection of classified information and on the amendment and supplementing of certain acts. http://www.nbusr.sk/english/NR452AJ.rtf

Slovak Security Office Director Discusses System of Security Screening, 2 November 2001 (translated by FBIS).

ACT 553/2002 Coll. of 19 August 2002 on Disclosure of Documents Regarding the Activity of State Security Authorities in the Period 1939 - 1989 and on Founding the Nation's Memory Institute (Ústav pamäti národa) and on Amending Certain Acts (Nation's Memory Act). http://www.upn.gov.sk/data/pdf/553_2002_en.pdf

Homepage: http://www.upn.gov.sk/

Turek v. Slovakia - 57986/00 [2006] ECHR 138 (14 February 2006).

Act no. 428 of 3 July 2002. http://www.dataprotection.gov.sk/buxusnew/docs/act_428.pdf

Homepage: http://www.dataprotection.gov.sk/

Act No. 205/2004 Coll. on assembling, storing and spreading environmental information.

 

 

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.