Information could become less free: NGOs

[03.09.2007, The Slovak Spectator, NEWS]

Justice Ministry proposes changes to Freedom of Information Act.

While the wording of the amendment to the Freedom of Information Act has not yet been published, the Justice Ministry's efforts to change the act have already provoked big worries for non-governmental organisations.

They are expressing urgent fears that the changes will limit access to public information.

"We see here several attempts to curtail the access of public to information, and sometimes they are even successful," Sičáková-Beblavá told The Slovak Spectator. "We see the spirit of limiting information. Now if the current ruling coalition decided to do this, it has a parliamentary majority. More or less nothing stands in its way."

Ondrej Dostál, the director of the non-governmental Conservative Institute and vice-chair of the Civic-Conservative Party (OKS), agrees.

"You have to be concerned that the ruling coalition will use any opening of the Freedom of Information Act to attempt to curtail it and make it less effective," he said.

He considers the current act a well-constructed instrument for citizens to exercise their constitutional right to information.

"That is why it represents a problem for many politicians and officials, and why they repeatedly try to amend it," he said.


Read the whole article published in the Slovakia`s English-language weekly The Slovak Spectator here.