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Public consultation devoted to the Draft of the Concept Paper on Modernisation of the Freedom of Information Sector

06/09/2016

A public consultation devoted to the Draft of the Concept Paper on Modernisation of the Freedom of Information Sector was held on 6 September and organised by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia, jointly with the OSCE Office in Yerevan.

Greeting the attendees, Deputy Minister of Justice Suren Krmoyan mentioned that one of the main goals of the Concept Paper is to identify the issues in the freedom of information sector and enshrine guarantees for ensuring the right to freedom of information. The Deputy Minister also added that the right to freedom of information is one of the fundamental human rights and that the absence of mechanisms for the proper regulation and enforcement of laws will make it essentially difficult for a person to exercise other rights.

The Deputy Minister also attached importance to the implementation of measures aimed at increasing the level of confidence in state bodies, emphasising within that context the transparency of activities carried out by state structures.

According to Suren Krmoyan, each citizen must be certain that his or her voice is heard. "The Ministry of Justice is making tremendous efforts in this direction. We have created an on-line electronic platform where any legal act developed by the State will be submitted for public consultation with civil society representatives," the Deputy Minister informed.

According to Democratisation Programme Officer at the OSCE Office in Yerevan David Gullette, access to information is a public right and a key element for active democracy. He added that Armenia — being a participant State of the OSCE and a member state of international organisations — is committed to guaranteeing the right of access to information by ratifying a number of pivotal international documents that reinforce the unimpeded exercise of that right.

Touching upon the Concept Paper, Gullette emphasised that it will strengthen the regulatory framework, which will ensure active publication of information on the part of state bodies and responses to electronic inquiries for receiving information within the prescribed period, help specify the duties of employees responsible for information, as well as help create an Authorised Body responsible for Freedom of Information.

During the public consultation, a number of issues related to the Draft of the Concept Paper on Modernisation of the Freedom of Information Sector were discussed with civil society representatives and other interested parties.

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