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OSCE media freedom representative welcomes new law on access to information in Kazakhstan, but says drawbacks still exist
Central Asia | analysis | 15:57, 25 November 2015 | 1823

AKIPRESS.COM - OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović today said the new law on access to information in Kazakhstan is a major step toward greater transparency and accountability of public bodies, but she also noted that the law still has some shortcomings, OSCE said.

“There are a number of provisions in the law that align Kazakhstan’s regulatory framework with international standards, and these are commendable,” Mijatović said.

The Representative specifically pointed to the statutory presumption of access to information; the law’s scope comprising state, quasi-state and some private entities (such as monopolies and budget beneficiaries); and clear rules of applying for and providing information, including online.

Mijatović also noted that some provisions of the law remain vague and restricted in scope, which could weaken the law’s overall effect. 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.

“I trust that the law will remain a living document and necessary amendments will be made,” Mijatović said. “My Office stands ready to provide the authorities with expertise on best practice and international standards on legislation related to the right to information.”

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