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Palestine: Draft Right to Information Law Weakened

Barack_Obama_meets_with_Mahmoud_Abbas_in_the_Oval_Office_2009-05-28_1The Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) has done an analysis of the latest draft of the Access to Information Law being prepared by the Palestinian authorities which indicates that the law has been substantially weakened since our last analysis in December 2013. Using the RTI Rating (www.RTI-Rating.org), the December draft obtained a score of 92 points out of a possible 150, which has now declined to just 85 points, well into the bottom half of all countries globally with right to information (RTI) laws.

Click here for the Comments
Click here for an unofficial translation of the draft Law
Click here for a version of this Press Release in Arabic

“We welcome the fact that Palestine is preparing a right to information law,” said CLD Executive Director, Toby Mendel. “But it is very unfortunate that the draft has been weakened, rather than strengthened, since our last analysis, especially given the strong trend globally towards adopting stronger RTI laws.”

The draft Law does relatively well in terms of scope of application and is moderately strong in terms of the regime of exceptions and promotional measures. It is, however, weak in terms of the right of access, proactive disclosure, requesting procedures, appeals and sanctions and protections. Some of the key recommendations in the analysis include the following:
➢ The scope of information subject to proactive disclosure should be elaborated in far more detail.
➢ Significantly more detailed and robust rules on how requests are to be processed should be added to the law.
➢ A public interest override should be added to the law to ensure that information of important public interest is disclosed and the overall time limit of 20 years for security and foreign information should be extended to all exceptions.
➢ The independence and powers of the oversight Commission should be substantially enhanced.
➢ Protection should be provided for the good faith disclosure of information pursuant to the law.

The analysis of the draft Palestinian Access to Information Law, along with the unofficial translation upon which the analysis was based, is available at:

For further information, please contact:

Toby Mendel
Executive Director
Centre for Law and Democracy
Email: toby@law-democracy.org
Tel: +1 902 412 0872
Twitter: @law_democracy

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