Ukraine

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  • 6 April 2016

    Dostup do Pravdy: the secret of FOI success

    This article was originally posted April 1 on the website of mySociety, the UK NGO that developed the FOI software Alaveteli. Last week, Ukrainian Freedom of Information site Dostup do Pravdy processed its 10,000th FOI request. That’s pretty impressive, given that they launched just a couple of years ago, in 2014. We offer hearty congratulations to the Dostup […]

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  • 1 December 2015

    Transparency International Evaluates Five Countries

    Transparency International has completed studies of how well five countries perform concerning three “pillars of open governance: Transparency, Participation and Oversight.” The countries rated were Ghana, Indonesia, Peru, the Ukraine and the United Kingdom. The Berlin-based nongovernmental organization applied a methodology based on 35 open governance standards and a scorecard composed of 459 questions. The […]

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News Archive

  • 30 April 2015

    Ukraine Passes Open Data Bill; Soviet Files Available                  

    The Ukrainian parliament has passed new laws encouraging the release of government open data and providing more information from the country’s archive of Soviet-era KGB files. Parliament April 9 approved a law to encourage government agencies to publish free operational data, statistics and reports on government websites and the national open data web platform at […]

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  • 25 March 2015

    Ukraine Advances Bill to Post More Information Online

    The Ukrainian Parliament March 5 gave preliminary approval (with 243 votes) to a law that would make more public information available online and free of charge, according to an article by Boxhena Sheremeta in the Kiev Post. Government agencies would have to publish operational data, statistics and reports on a national open data web platform. […]

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  • 18 April 2014

    Amendments Approved to Ukrainian Access Law

    Amendments to the law in the Ukraine makes a variety of improvements related to access to information, according to a summary by the Media Law Institute on April 18. The Parliament of Ukraine on March 27 passed the draft law No 0947 and the president signed it April 17. “In terms of enhancing right to […]

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  • 7 October 2013

    Some Ukrainian Bodies Deny Asset Disclosures

    By Oleksii Khmara and Anatolii Stoian Khmara is head of Transparency International Ukraine, an anti-corruption watchdog. Stoian is a representative of the same organization. Just in time for the eleventh annual International Right to Know Day on September 28th, Ukrainian parliament members have again attempted to significantly limit the public’s access to information. Four representatives of the […]

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  • 7 June 2013

    Ukrainian Groups Appeal for Amendments to Access Law

    Ukrainian nongovernmental organizations are campaigning for the Ukrainian Parliament to adopt a bill that would allow for the improved enforcement of the 2012 access to information law. The groups are urging the approval of Draft Law No. 0947 before summer recess. The draft law, pending since May 2012, includes amendments in more than 55 legislative acts and […]

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  • 30 July 2012

    Ukraine Access, Data Laws Criticized by Article 19

    Ukraine’s Data Protection Act, Law on Information and Law on Access to Public Information lack provisions to ensure that the rights to privacy and freedom of expression and information are appropriately balanced, according to an Article 19 analysis. The London-based group issued a series of recommendations: The Data Protection Act and the Law on Information […]

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  • 27 April 2012

    Ukraine Planning Rules for FOI Law; Internet Access

    The Ukrainian government has indicated that in June it will adopt rules to implement the Law on Access to Public Information, according to a Ukrainian News report. A government announcement cited also stated that the government will and prepare “a plan of measures for creation of a public information accounting system in the state and […]

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  • 24 May 2011

    Problems Seen With Government Websites

    Local government websites still have a long way to go,  according to a number of surveys described at The First Global Conference on Transparency Research held May 19-20 at Rutgers University-Newark, N.J. (See overall report in FreedomInfo.org.) A detailed look at municipal websites in the Ukraine indicated that many cities lack sites and that many […]

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  • 28 January 2011

    English Version Available of New Ukrainian Access Law

    An unofficial English translation of the new Ukrainian law on access to public information has been circulated among groups following the law. The translation is of bill No. 2763, “On the Access to Public Information,” that was adopted by the Rada on Jan. 13. (See previous Freedominfo.org report.) Still in process is a translation of […]

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  • 14 January 2011

    Ukraine Parliament Adopts Access to Information Law

    Ukraine’s parliament Jan. 13 easily adopted new two new laws on access to public information. The bills got 412 and 408 votes, well above the 226 votes necessary for approval. The new laws, expected to be signed by President Viktor Yanukovych, mandate that public officials voluntarily disclose information while also establishing a system for requesting information, […]

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  • 8 December 2010

    Ukrainian Access Law Needs Reform, OSI Report Says

    Ukraine’s access to information regime needs strengthening in a variety of ways, according to a report by the Open Society Institute. A series of recommendations are contained in a four-country study in which requestors sought information, with mixed success. Efforts are under way to revise the Ukranian law and parliament may deal with the topic […]

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  • 5 November 2010

    Ukraine Postpones Action on New Access Legislation

    The Ukrainian parliament has delayed action on a new Access to Public Information Law. The bill was not brought up as planned on Nov. 2, but may be taken up in the near future. Verkhovna Rada First Deputy Chairman Adam Martyniuk  sought the postponement, saying MP Andrii Shevchenko, the head of the parliamentary committee for […]

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  • 23 September 2010

    Ukraine Parliament Delays Access to Information Law

    The Ukrainian parliament has delayed consideration of a proposed law on access to public information, and the bill faces significant obstacles, according to informed observers.  Action was postponed in July despite expressions of support for a new law by the president and the speaker of the parliament, they told FreedomInfo.org.  After the adoption of an […]

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  • 2 December 2009

    World Bank Cautious on Media Development

    The goal of strengthening the media as one way to fight corruption was adopted by the World Bank in 2006, but the promise has gone virtually unfulfilled, according to research by freedominfo.org.

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  • 15 October 2009

    Ukrainian Group Protests Lack of Transparency by EBRD in Connection with Major Power Project

    The National Ecological Centre of Ukraine (NECU) recently criticized the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for violating EBRD procedures on public consultations and not providing full information about a major power transmission project in Ukraine. “On a recent fact-finding mission to the region, NECU representatives uncovered a highly haphazard approach from the project promoter Ukrenergo—Ukraine’s national […]

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  • 26 May 2009

    Secret Summaries of World Bank Meetings Illuminate Proceedings

      The “minutes” of the World Bank’s executive board meetings, released publicly, are brief notations of the official action, usually one paragraph.  They reveal almost nothing about what transpired during the closed deliberations. The “summaries,” by contrast, describe the key points of discussion.  They condense, without names, the comments made by the executive directors. The […]

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  • 9 August 2005

    EIB Declines to Release Ukranian Framework Agreement

    The European Investment Bank has declined to release the text of a framework agreement recently signed with Ukrainian leaders. Although the EIB a year ago promised the release of framework agreements (with a few caveats), officials replying to a freedominfo.org request said those caveats mean that disclosure will not occur until after the agreement is […]

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  • 1 June 2002

    World Bank Begins Pilot Programs on Disclosure

    Some 20 countries are about to embark on pilot programs with the World Bank in which they will disclose and disseminate more information than they have in the past – that is, more than what Bank policy currently requires. The exact dimensions of this effort will become clearer once the Bank makes an official announcement […]

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links

LEGAL DOCUMENTS

Constitution of Ukraine, 1996

 

The Law on Information, N 2657-Xii, October 2, 1992 As amended by the Law N 1642-III of April 6, 2000 and N 3047-III of February 7, 2002

 

ORGANIZATIONS

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

 

OTHER RESOURCES

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Access to information and other aspects of freedom of expression and privacy in Ukraine

 

Article 19, Ukraine Bulletin: A Digest of Freedom of Expression-Related Developments in Ukraine (January – February 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 1996 Constitution does not include a specific general right of access to information but contains a general right of freedom of collect and disseminate information and rights of access to personal and environmental information. Article 34 states that "Everyone has the right to freely collect, store, use and disseminate information by oral, written or other means of his or her choice." Article 32 states that "Every citizen has the right to examine information about himself or herself, that is not a state secret or other secret protected by law, at the bodies of state power, bodies of local self-government, institutions and organisations." Article 50 states that "Everyone is guaranteed the right of free access to information about the environmental situation, the quality of food and consumer goods, and also the right to disseminate such information. No one shall make such information secret."

The 1992 Law on Information is a general information policy framework law that includes a citizen's a right to access information. It sets 5 principles:

• guaranteed right to information;

• transparency, accessibility, and freedom of information exchange;

• unbiased and authentic information;

• complete and accurate information;

• legitimacy of receipt, use, distribution and storage of information.

The law allows citizens and legal entities to request access to official documents. The request can be oral or written. The government body must respond in 10 calendar days and provide the information within a month unless provided by law.

Documents can be withheld if they contain state secrets, confidential information, information on law-enforcement authorities or investigations, personal information, interdepartmental correspondence for policy decisions prior to the final decision, information protected by another law, and information on fiscal institutions.

Denials can be appealed to a higher level at the agency concerned and then to a court.

Government bodies are required to set up information services, systems, networks, databases and data banks to facilitate information needs.

Citizens are also given rights to access their personal information and know what is being collected by whom and for what reasons. They can also demand its correction and limits on its use. Appeals of this are to a court.

A review of the law by the OSCE/Council of Europe described it as "confusing" and noted problems with the lack of a definition of official information and overly discretional exemptions. The OECD's Anti-Corruption Network for Transition Economies recommended in January 2004 that the Government improve the functioning of the law:

In the area of access to information and open government, consider creating an independent office of an Information Commissioner to receive appeals under the "Law on Information", conduct investigations, and make reports and recommendations. Consider adopting a Public Participation Law that provides citizens with an opportunity to use information to affect government decisions.

While President Kuchma was in power, there were significant problems with access to information. Many regulatory acts and decisions were regularly stamped as non-public. Since the Orange Revolution, there have been some recent improvements. In 2005, there were a number of minor amendments to the Law on Information, and the Civil Code was also amended in December 2005 to remove a provision which prohibited the collection of state secrets or confidential information. Following a prolonged campaign by the Kharkiv Center, the government in 2006 released a list of decrees issued between 2001 and 2005 that had previously been stamped "Not to be Printed" or "Not to be Published". The Ministry of Justice admitted that the use of the stamps was illegal. The use of the stamps had significantly declined since the Orange Revolution. The group is recommending amendments to the Law on Information to better define what information can be restricted. President Yuschenko has recently announced that a new law will be drafted but a number of NGOs recommended that the government focus on properly implementing the current one.

The 1994 Law On State Secret sets broad rules on the classification information relating to defense, foreign affairs, state security and other areas that disclosure would cause harm to the state. It was expanded in 1999 to cover other non-military areas. It create three categories of protections "Specially Important", "Top Secret" and "Secret". Information can be classified for 30 years in the top category. The List of Information that belongs to State Secrets (LLISS) defines what can be classified. The LLISS was substantially revised and expanded in 2005 but still retains many problematic sections.

The Law On National Archival Fund and Archival Bodies allows for access to records once they are in the possession of the Archives. Documents containing state secrets can be withheld until they are declassified by the public authority. Personal information can be withheld for 75 years.

The Law on Access to Court Decisions was approved in December 2005. It gives a right of access to court decisions and requires that courts create a register of all court decisions and make it freely available via the Internet.

Ukraine signed the Aarhus Convention in 1998 and ratified it in November 1999. Access is under the Law on Information.

2004 freedominfo.org Global Survey Results - Ukraine

 

 

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.