The Centre for Law and Democracy today published its analysis of a draft Afghan Access to Information Law. The draft Law was created from two previous drafts, one prepared by civil society and one by government. The aim is to present a consensus version in the hope that this will help ensure that it becomes a legislative priority.
The draft Law has a number of strengths. It is broadly applicable to all public bodies; the procedures for accessing information are fairly developed and generally user-friendly; the regime of exceptions is reasonably narrow; and the draft Law contains a good set of promotional measures.
At the same time, some of the key areas where the draft Law could still be improved are as follows:
– The aims could be strengthened.
– There is no public interest override for the exceptions; instead, the national interest may justify withholding information.
– There is no independent administrative oversight body to hear appeals, although a Monitoring Committee does play a central role in promoting implementation.
– The draft Law fails to provide protection for good faith disclosures of information pursuant to its provisions.